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 Barcelona
- 16.81 %
Mallorca 0-3 Barcelona
- 12.65 %
Mallorca 0-4 Barcelona
- 11.91 %
|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|
|20 May 2013||Mallorca 1 - Betis 0||LIGA|
|11 May 2013||Athletic de Bilbao 2 - Mallorca 1||LIGA|
|5 May 2013||Mallorca 1 - Levante UD 1||LIGA|
|27 Apr 2013||Zaragoza 3 - Mallorca 2||LIGA|
|19 Apr 2013||Mallorca 1 - Rayo Vallecano 1||LIGA|
|Returns:||Mallorca £460.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Draw £290.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Barcelona £12.22||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|19||Josep Lluis Martí||Midfielder|
|1||Juan Calatayud Sánchez||Goalkeeper|
|8||Emilio Nsue López||Midfielder|
|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.
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.