Gerard Deulofeu was simply outstanding in the midweek game against Olympiacos in the Champions League. Had it not been for Gerard Pique’s nonsensical sending off, the La Masia graduate would have most probably completed the best game of his career so far.
Although Cules were only able to witness Deulofeu’s heroics for 45 minutes against the Greek champions, his dynamism, eagerness to face his marker time and time again and improved decison-making were impressive enough to grant him a start in Saturday’s match against Malaga in La Liga.
Deulofeu has been forced to fight against his self-sufficient, almost uber-cocky reputation since his teenage years at La Masia. Having been dubbed as the next world-class superstar by pretty much everyone who ever saw him play during his teenage years certainly didn’t help the youngster and, nearly a decade later, the 23-year-old Catalan is still trying to shake off his reputation while proving his case to become a regular at the Camp Nou.
Judging by his incisive, confident and more determined showing against Olympiacos, it is undeniable that Deulofeu is fully deserving of a place in Barcelona’s starting eleven against Malaga. There’s no reason to doubt that, with continued trust and playing time, the La Masia graduate can establish himself in the Catalan’s starting XI for next few months — at least until the injured Ousmane Dembele makes his highly-anticipated return.
With the above in mind, I would expect Barcelona to start the match against Malaga with the following lineup: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Umtiti, Mascherano, Digne; Busquets, Paulinho, Sergi Roberto; Luis Suarez, Messi and Deulofeu.
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