Osasuna have been incredibly attack-minded in their last couple of home games and with desperation as high as ever, another open game can be expected as there is no respect between these teams and both will want the win. They have discovered the art of scoring goals and playing entertaining football under Vasiljevic, as in their last 2 home games there have been 13 goals. In this contest they should have more success in the offensive third, particularly from set pieces where Malaga can struggle. Osasuna will make a couple of changes from their positive performance and quite unfortunate loss to Sevilla last weekend, where they actually put on one of their best showings of the season, only a poor refereeing decision and a very effective opponent meant they came away with nothing.
Malaga remain without Miguel Torres but the visitors are strengthened in this area having signed Luis Hernandez this week. He looks set to debut here and could easily become their most important centre back for the remainder of the season. The former Sporting Gijon man enters for Luis in the only change from their narrow loss in Madrid, while it’s a big positive one too for the defence. They will see this as a game they must not lose and so if they fall behind, they will take big risks to chase the game. There will be some pressure to go for the win and so Malaga will be more ambitious than they were last weekend. In the Madrid defeat Malaga conceded both goals due to sleepy defending on set plays, and that does not bode well for this game where Osasuna often rely on being a big threat from dead ball situations.
Verdict & Prediction
At home to a struggling team, this will be one of many must win games in Osasuna where only three points will please them and do them any good. Cut adrift in the bottom three, 1 point does little to change their gloomy situation. Their team spirit has certainly improved under the new manager and the quality of football improved since Caparros left, however they still need wins and the loss against Sevilla left them extremely frustrated, more so with officials than themselves, but need to channel that into positive energy. Malaga put in a good showing in Madrid last weekend but lost 2-1, the performance underlined the effort and commitment is there for Romero, but he is yet to earn a point as manager. Away in Osasuna this is a match of some danger to the club and the already poor momentum of the new boss Romero. They need to avoid defeat, a win would be a massive relief. I expect an open game with at least 3 goals.
Prediction: Over 2.5 goals
Odds: 2.15 Pinnacle
Other previews: Serie A Weekend Accumulator