Tito Vilanova to Return Against Malaga, David Villa Will Miss Match

Tre' Atkinson@@TreAtkinsonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 06:  Head coach Tito Vilanova of FC Barcelona gives his thumbs up prior to the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou on January 6, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Tito Vilanova will be on the bench

Goal recently reported that assistant Jordi Roura has confirmed the return of Tito Vilanova. Barcelona fans will be happy to see the Blaugrana boss on the sidelines for a huge encounter with fourth-place Malaga.

The Catalan boss missed the midweek Copa del Rey match as he was in New York undergoing tests to get a second opinion on the next stage of treatment for his cancer relapse.

Vilanova’s return will be huge for Barcelona as Malaga is seeing an incredible start to the season. With Malaga playing some of the best football in La Liga, the Catalans will need their manager to lead them in the encounter.

There is yet no word on Vilanova’s tests in New York. But we can deduce that he is feeling well if he plans to coach La Blaugrana to yet another victory.

David Villa out against Malaga

There is, however, a bit of sad news coming out of the Barcelona camp. David Villa will not be in the squad to face Malaga due to injury (via fcbarcelona).

The Spanish striker left the game against Cordoba as a precaution when his leg muscle gave him discomfort. All appeared fine heading into the weekend, but more discomfort in training has revealed a muscle strain for Villa.

David Villa stood a very good chance of starting against Malaga after showing tremendous form midweek in scoring a brace against Cordoba. Now he will yet again miss a La Liga game, though this time by injury.

There are hopes that Villa will return to action in Barcelona’s next game, which is ironically against Malaga in Copa del Rey action.

Here is to a speedy recovery, El Guaje!

Predicting the Barcelona lineup

Victor Valdes

Adriano/Martin Montoya, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Jordi Alba

Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fábregas

Pedro, Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta

With David Villa out, it is almost a certainty that Andres Iniesta will start on the left wing. Cristian Tello also stands a good chance, but Barcelona will want to field the strongest team available.

The reason I claim that Villa would have started is due to the fact that Cesc Fábregas has played in two straight games. The midfielder could have used a break with Iniesta sliding back into the midfield.

It is also unlikely that Dani Alves will start the game seeing as he has played in two consecutive encounters, yet the club might look to his experience in such a big game. Adriano and Martin Montoya should both compete for the starting spot.

Barcelona will have the luxury of being able to start multiple players with a squad at almost perfect health. In fact, if Martin Montoya starts the game, we could see the first-ever all La Masia starting lineup in history.

So who do you see starting for Barcelona? Will Tito’s return spur the Catalans to victory? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.


Tre’ Atkinson, The Catalan Blood of Bleacher Report. 

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