Barcelona-Mallorca Preview: Vilanova's side seek return to winning ways without Messi
The Blaugrana entertain the struggling Islanders on Saturday but will have to do without their leading goalscorer, who suffered a rare injury against PSG
By Karthick Arvinth
Javier Mascherano is also out after picking up a knee injury in Tuesday's 2-2 draw at Paris Saint-Germain, so youngster Marc Bartra is set to be handed a start alongside Gerard Pique in central defence.
Pedro is recovering from a calf problem and is unlikely to feature, while Victor Valdes serves the last of his four-game ban.
Mallorca defender Pedro Geromel is suspended after picking up his 10th booking of the season in the defeat against Deportivo La Coruna.
Pedro Bigas and Kevin Garcia are both poised to return to the starting XI for the 19th-placed visitors, who have no fresh injury concerns.
|DID YOU KNOW?|Barcelona are on a 10-match winning run at home in La Liga.
- The Catalan side have won 13 and drawn one of the 14 matches they have played without Lionel Messi between 2010 and 2013.
- Barcelona have won their last four meetings with Mallorca by an aggregate score of 14-2.
- Mallorca have lost five of their last six away matches in La Liga.
- Only bottom club Deportivo La Coruna (61) have conceded more goals in the Primera Division this season than Mallorca's 58.
- Alejandro Alfaro (pictured, right) has scored four goals in his last four appearances for Mallorca.
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Top 3 Predictions
Barcelona 3-0 Mallorca
- 15.84 %
Barcelona 3-1 Mallorca
- 11.99 %
Barcelona 2-0 Mallorca
- 8.87 %
|La Liga (LIGA)||6 Apr 2013||Barcelona 5 - Mallorca 0|
|La Liga (LIGA)||11 Nov 2012||Mallorca 2 - Barcelona 4|
|La Liga (LIGA)||24 Mar 2012||Mallorca 0 - Barcelona 2|
|La Liga (LIGA)||29 Oct 2011||Barcelona 5 - Mallorca 0|
|La Liga (LIGA)||26 Feb 2011||Mallorca 0 - Barcelona 3|
|6 Dec 2013||F.C. Cartagena 1 - Barcelona 4||ESPC|
|1 Dec 2013||Athletic de Bilbao 1 - Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|26 Nov 2013||Ajax 2 - Barcelona 1||UCL|
|23 Nov 2013||Barcelona 4 - Granada 0||LIGA|
|10 Nov 2013||Betis 1 - Barcelona 4||LIGA|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|
|17||Giovani dos Santos||Striker|
|25||Rubén Miño Peralta||Goalkeeper|
|-||Andreu Fontàs Prat||Defender|
|19||Josep Lluis Martí||Midfielder|
The inexperienced Masia graduate looks set to be thrust into the spotlight after an injury to Javier Mascherano further depleted Barcelona's defensive resources. Bartra will have a big role to play over the next few weeks as Barcelona continue their double assault on La Liga and the Champions League.
|Giovani dos Santos|
The Mexico international returns to Camp Nou to face his former club, for whom he made 37 appearances in the 2007-08 season. With Mallorca desperately in need of points, Dos Santos will look to make life as uncomfortable as possible for Barcelona's back four from his advanced playmaker position.
Barcelona should be able to cope without Messi and will look to get a win under their belt before the all-important return leg against PSG in the Champions League. Mallorca have been dreadful away from home and their shaky defence could let them down again.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed