Mallorca - Barcelona Preview: Catalan giants can close gap on Real Madrid to three points with victory in Palma
After back-to-back slip-ups from their arch-rivals, Pep Guardiola's side can put themselves right back in the Liga title race with a win at the Iberostar stadium
By Karthick Arvinth
Chico, Nunes, Ramis, Caceres
Pereira, Alvaro, Castro
Busquets, Pique, Puyol
Fabregas, Xavi, Keita, Iniesta
Sanchez, Messi, Pedro
Mallorca welcome back key trio Ivan Ramis, Michael Pereira and Chori Castro from suspension for Saturday's visit of Barcelona.
Sergio Tejera (hamstring) and Marvin Ogunjimi (ankle) are both out, while Pedro Bigas is suspended.
Barcelona utility man Adriano is sidelined through a muscle injury sustained in Tuesday's 5-3 win over Granada.
The Brazilian's absence leaves coach Pep Guardiola with a selection headache in defence, with both Dani Alves and Javier Mascherano also unavailable through suspension.
Sergio Busquets could be pushed into defensive duty alongside Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique in a 3-4-3 formation, with Seydou Keita continuing in the holding midfield role.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Mallorca are on a four-game unbeaten run in La Liga (W2, D2).
- The islanders have failed to score in just one of their last eight matches in La Liga.
- Chico (pictured right) had a brief stint with the Barcelona B team in 2008, making 13 appearances and scoring two goals.
- Barcelona are on a six-match winning streak in La Liga.
- The Catalans have dropped 18 points this season, two at Camp Nou and 16 away from home.
- Lionel Messi has netted an incredible 17 goals in his last seven games for Barca.
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Top 3 Predictions
Mallorca 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 16.81 %
Mallorca 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 12.65 %
Mallorca 0-4 FC Barcelona
- 11.91 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 6, 2013||FC Barcelona 5 - Mallorca 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Nov 11, 2012||Mallorca 2 - FC Barcelona 4|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Mar 24, 2012||Mallorca 0 - FC Barcelona 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Oct 29, 2011||FC Barcelona 5 - Mallorca 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Feb 26, 2011||Mallorca 0 - FC Barcelona 3|
|Nov 30, 2013||SD Eibar 0 - Mallorca 1||ESP2|
|Nov 23, 2013||Mallorca 2 - Deportivo Alavés 1||ESP2|
|Nov 17, 2013||Deportivo 3 - Mallorca 1||ESP2|
|Nov 10, 2013||Mallorca 2 - Ponferradina 2||ESP2|
|Nov 2, 2013||Mallorca 0 - Lugo 0||ESP2|
|19||Josep Lluis Martí||Midfielder|
|1||Juan Calatayud Sánchez||Goalkeeper|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|Josep Lluis Martí|
Thoroughly outplayed by Barcelona at Camp Nou earlier this season en route to a 5-0 rout, Mallorca will need a better performance from the veteran midfielder if they are to enjoy a more favourable result on Saturday. The former Sevilla man has excellent tactical awareness and will be key in retaining possession from the visitors.
Barca's all-time top scorer at the age of 24, the Argentine is in the kind of goalscoring form that can only be described as unplayable. With 54 goals in all competitions, the little genius has already found the back of the net more times in a single campaign than anyone else in La Liga history - and there is still nearly a quarter of the season left to play.
Mallorca took a significant step towards securing their top-flight status with a hard-fought win at Sporting Gijon in midweek, but will be up against it against the free-scoring Catalans. The visitors can round out a perfect week for them by winning their seventh straight Liga match and really turning up the heat on leaders Real Madrid, who host Real Sociedad a couple of hours later.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed