The title race in La Liga is back as it resumes this week. The reigning Champions Barcelona will be travelling to Mallorca for the opening fixture after the break. It will be a tricky game as the host is currently at the bottom three of the table and struggling to stay at the top flight next season plus the latest update on Lionel Messi’s worrying fitness condition.
Both teams’ latest news
Real Mallorca had a positive result before the break as they sealed their first away win while taking on Eibar. Dani Rodriguez took the lead by his free kick and the Japanese wonder Take Kubo doubled the lead by his classy goal. The host could only score a consolation goal by the former Mallorca man, Pedro Bigas.
Blaugrana welcomes the La Liga restart with the potentially upsetting news about their captain’s current condition. Lionel Messi, who scored the winning goal in their last fixture before the break against Real Sociedad, suffered an injury during the training. Although he is reported to be in recovery and ready for the upcoming match, Quique Setien still needs to come up with a plan B. Not to mention that Luis Suarez is still in recovery as well.
Mallorca’s boss, Victor Moreno is likely to deploy the 5-3-2 formation which worked well while defeating Eibar. Ante Budimir will be the key forward supported by Take Kubo and Daniel Rodriguez. There will be at least two names in their squad on the sideline, Abdul Rahman Baba and Leoandro Koutris.
Quique Setien, on the other hand, will certainly opt for 4-3-3 with possible transition to his favourite one, 3-1-4-2. Considering Messi’s and Suarez’s physical fitness, they might be playing on the second half instead of having them in starting IX. Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite might be opted as the front three along with Ansu Fati. In the midfield, Arturo Vidal, Sergio Busquets and Frankie De Jong are likely to be selected while Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Sergi Roberto and Junior Firpo will be on the defense line. Clement Lenglet and Ousmane Dembele are still ruled out for this game.
Players to watch
The most valuable player to watch from the home side is surely the nineteen-year old Real Madrid loanee, Take Kubo, who has been regarded as the new Messi. His contribution to his team has been remarkable with three goals and two assists so far. Another notable key figure of Mallorca is the Croatian striker, Ante Budimir who has scored nine goals this season.
Meanwhile for Barcelona, with the possibility of keeping Messi on the bench first, Antoine Griezmann should take command on the attacking line. He has netted 10 goals and provided four assists in all competition. Some other notable names to watch are Arturo Vidal with his six goals and two assists and the Dutch Frankie De Jong.
Mallorca – Barcelona Prediction
Ante Budimir and Co will definitely employ the defensive stance. Such layered wall should potentially put Barcelona in difficulty, especially if Messi is unable to be brought on to the pitch. Take Kubo can be a real threat for Gerard Pique and Co on the counter, which has been their recurring issue over the years. Nevertheless, the visitor might still be able to secure a narrow win, possibly by taking advantage from a dead ball situation.
El Barca is absolutely the favourite in this game. They are priced to win at 1.32 while Victor Moreno’s men are backed to win at 8.90. The draw result is at the value of 5.60.