RCD Mallorca vs FC Barcelona - Match Preview
Iberostar Stadium, Balearic Islands - Barcelona travel to the Balearic islands this week to play Mallorca. Coming into the match on the back of a shock 2-1 loss to Celtic in the Champions League, the Catalan giants will be desperate to get back on track and stamp their superiority in the league in general, and over their rivals Real Madrid in particular. Barcelona currently have a massive eight point lead over possibly their only title rival, and a win will definitely soothe the nerves of the club’s supporters after the CL disappointment. Their opponents on the night couldn’t have been much easier either, with Mallorca on a five match losing streak in La Liga.
Mallorca are currently in a very bad situation. 13th place in the league is not the end of the world but five consecutive losses in the league is definitely embarrassing for any team in any league. They were thrashed by Madrid 5-0 just two weeks back, and the morale in the camp is currently at an all-time low. What worse an opponent to face at this time than Barcelona, when all you want is to end your miserable run.
On the injury side, Mallorca will be without the services of Giovani dos Santos. The Mexican Barcelona youth product suffered a thigh injury in the last game versus Deportivo La Coruna. They will also be without the services of Nunes, Antonio Lopez, and Joao Victor, who are all, strangely, out with knee related issues. Javi Marquez is out with an ankle problem. Ximo, the right back could be back in the squad after recovering from his injury (no prizes for guessing which injury, knee it is!).
Much has been said about this illustrious Barcelona side and any review or preview will be laden with adjectives describing their beautiful game. However, the previous season was a big under-achievement by their own lofty standards, as they were beaten to the Liga title by Madrid and were eliminated in the UCL by eventual winners Chelsea. But these setbacks have only seemed to spur them on more, as they currently enjoy their best ever start to a season after 10 matches, with nine wins and a solitary draw. This, combined with the indifferent start that Madrid have had this season, means they currently sit atop the league with an eight point gap over Real. But, surprisingly close on their heels are Atletico Madrid, who are just three points behind. Barcelona will be looking for a routine victory here, but they would be guarded so as to ensure that there will be no slip ups like the one in mid-week against Celtic.
On the injury front, club captain Puyol has returned to training and may start this weekend. Pique played 20 minutes versus Celtic and hence could be expected to start this match. Adriano, Thiago and Isaac Cuenca are ruled out for this match.
Probable Starting Lineups
Ximo, Geromel, Conceicao, Bigas
Nsue, Victor, Pereira
Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Fabregas, Messi, Pedro
Last 5 matches
04-Nov-2012 Deportivo 1 – Mallorca 0 LIGA
02-Nov-2012 Deportivo 1 – Mallorca 1 CUP
29-Oct-2012 Mallorca 0 – Real Madrid 5 LIGA
23-Oct-2012 Sevilla 3 – Mallorca 2 LIGA
07-Oct-2012 Mallorca 1 – Ciudad de Murcia 2 LIGA
08-Nov-2012 Celtic 2 – Barcelona 1 UCL
03-Nov-2012 Barcelona 3 – Celta 1 LIGA
31-Oct-2012 Alaves 0 – Barcelona 3 CUP
28-Oct-2012 Rayo Vallecano 0 – Barcelona 5 LIGA
24-Oct-2012 Barcelona 2 – Celtic 1 UCL
- Mallorca have lost five of their last six matches versus Barcelona. The last time they won at home was a 2-1 win in May, 2009.
- Barcelona have won all five of their matches away from home this season.
- This is Barcelona’s best ever start in a Liga season.
- Messi has scored 18 goals already this season. He is just one goal shy of Pele’s record of 75 goals in a calendar year.
The result of the match pretty much hinges on the form Messi is in. He did score against Celtic in Injury time. How well do the Centre back pair of Geromel and Conceicao handle him could very well determine the result.
Factoring the previous results and form of the two teams and the fact that we are dealing with a wounded Barcelona facing a demoralized Mallorca, there could be only one winner on paper. But to quote a cliché, ‘football isn’t won on paper’. Expect a fight from the hosts but Barcelona should walk away with three points without any hassles.
Mallorca 0 – 3 Barcelona