Barcelona welcome the visit of Mallorca in La Liga on Saturday evening, as the Catalan giants search for their fifth win in a row.
Fresh from collecting his sixth Ballon d’or crown, the electric Lionel Messi will no doubt be looking to light up Camp Nou at the weekend.
A piece of Messi magic clinched a 1-0 victory away to Atlético Madrid last time out in the league to leave ?Barca level on points with Real Madrid at the summit of La Liga.
It all looks very ominous for the newly-promoted Mallorca side who have lost two on the bounce and sit in 17th, just one place and one point above the drop zone.
Here, 90min previews Saturday’s La Liga clash.
Where to Watch
|?When Is Kick Off?||?Saturday 7 December|
|?What Time is Kick Off?||?20.00 (GMT)|
|?Where Is It Played?||?Camp Nou|
|?TV Channel/Live Stream?||?Bein Sports|
|?Referee?||?José Luis Munuera Montero|
Barca boss Ernesto Valverde has no fresh injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game but will be able to reinstate Sergio Busquets to the side, who missed the Atlético win through suspension.
Gerard Pique is likely to be available, despite suffering a blow to his knee which led to the defender’s early withdrawal from the victory against ?Atlético.
However, the league leaders will once again? be without the full back duo of Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo who both continue their recoveries from injury.
Ousmane Dembele is another notable absentee. The French forward isn’t expected back until 2020 after suffering a thigh injury in Barca’s recent 3-1 ?Champions League win over Dortmund.
As for the away team, Mallorca manager Vicente Moreno is without Ghanian left-back Lumor Agbenyu who saw red in last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to Real Betis, while Colombian striker Cucho Hernandez, who is on a season-long loan from ?Premier League side ?Watford, is unavailable through injury.
Midfielder Iddrisu Baba remains sidelined after picking up a knock on international duty with Ghana in November.
Head to Head Record
Barcelona overwhelming lead the way in terms of wins in this fixture. The Catalans have won 20 of the 30 encounters between the two sides. Mallorca’s six-year absence from the top flight means the Balearics last visit to Camp Nou was back in 2013.
On that occasion, it was the Cesc Fabregas show, as the former Barca favourite hit a rare hat trick to help earn his side a very comfortable 5-0 win. Alexis Sanchez scored the other two.
In fact, the visitors haven’t triumphed over Barcelona in over a decade, with their last win coming in May 2009, when a header from Cleber Santana secured a 2-1 home victory.
With four wins from four, Barcelona are at their free-flowing best and haven’t tasted defeat since a shock 3-1 loss away to Levante at the beginning of November.
During their four-game winning streak, Valverde’s side have scored ten and conceded just three, whilst overall in the league they are top scorers, having struck 36 times already this campaign.
They are also the only team in ?La Liga to reach double figures in terms of wins, sitting on ten, and haven’t lost at home in the league all season.
On the other hand, Mallorca are only one point above Celta Vigo, who occupy the final relegation spot.
Los Bermellones have lost their last two but the most damning statistic is that Mallorca haven’t picked up a single point away from home this season.
However, Moreno’s men will take heart from their 1-0 victory over ?Real Madrid earlier in the season, perhaps thinking another giant-killing could be in the offing.
Let’s take a look at how the teams have fared in their last five games.
|?Atlético Madrid 0-1 Barcelona (1/12)||?Mallorca 1-2 Real Betis (30/11)|
|?Barcelona 3-1 Dortmund (27/11)||?Levante 2-1 Mallorca (22/11)|
|?Leganes 1-2 Barcelona (23/11)||?Mallorca 3-1 Villarreal (10/11)|
|?Barcelona 4-1 Celta Vigo (9/11)||?Valladolid 3-0 Mallorca (3/11)|
|?Barcelona 0-0 Slavia Praha (5/11)||?Mallorca 2-2 Osasuna (31/10)|
Despite Mallorca’s early-season heroics against ?Real Madrid, there is no getting away from their desperate form away from home.
Combine that record with a trip to the league leaders and there is only one winner. Barcelona are seemingly laying down a challenge to the rest of La Liga, having picked up three league wins on the spin.
Barca will make it five from five here with a comfortable victory against Mallorca, and it is highly likely that a certain Ballon d’Or winner may once again be the star of the show.
Prediction: Barcelona 4-0 Mallorca