Barcelona will be seeking to maintain their excellent run of form when they lock horns with RCD Mallorca on Saturday evening. The Catalans are coming into this clash on the back of a narrow win over Atletico Madrid in their last league game while they also secured a 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund last week. Hence, confidence will be high among the Barca camp as they play hosts to a struggling Mallorca side.
Here is how Ernesto Valverde’s men could line up this weekend.
Valverde will now have to deal with the absence of Gerard Pique after the defender sustained a fresh injury in the win over Atletico. He is likely to be ruled out for this fixture and will be deputised by Samuel Umtiti. The Frenchman is expected to partner his compatriot Clement Lenglet at the heart of Barcelona’s four-man backline.
Nelson Semendo, meanwhile, is set to remain on the sidelines, meaning Sergi Roberto will continue to assume his role at right-back. Jordi Alba is also out with an injury, thus paving the way for Junior Firpo to retain his place on the opposite flank. The Dominican, however, needs to improve, especially after a sloppy display against Atletico.
There is no one replacing Marc Andre ter Stegen in goal. The German stopper is in an exceptional run of form, though he will be expecting a significantly quieter evening against Mallorca.
Sergio Busquets is in contention to start after being suspended in the last game, giving Valverde a huge boost. The Spaniard is a guaranteed starter in the holding midfield role. His return to the side will likely force Ivan Rakitic to settle for a place on the bench. The Croat had started Barca’s last two matches and might be given a rest for this encounter.
Frenkie de Jong, meanwhile, will once again return to his customary number eight role, where Arthur Melo could partner him. The duo will be in charge of easing the transition for the home side.
All eyes will be on Lionel Messi after he bagged his sixth Ballon d’Or earlier this week. The Argentine inspired Barca to a narrow win over Atleti in the last game and fans will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around.
Ousmane Dembele is out injured and won’t feature this weekend. Antoine Griezmann is the obvious choice for Barcelona at left-wing. But, it won’t be surprising to see Carles Perez get a rare opportunity, especially with Valverde having one eye on the Inter Milan game next week. And finally, the Barcelona attack will be led by Luis Suarez up top.