Lionel Messi will miss Barcelona’s clash with Mallorca at Camp Nou on Saturday as he recovers from a hamstring injury picked up against Paris Saint-Germain.
The forward’s absence means that his run of scoring in 19 consecutive La Liga games will come to an end, but, with a 13 point lead at the top of the table, Barcelona are unlikely to be overly perturbed at his absence at the weekend.
Assistant coach Jordi Roura has said that Messi will be assessed to determine whether he will be available for the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal, which remains in the balance at 2-2 after the first match in Paris.
Messi is far from the only absentee from the squad to face Mallorca, with Javier Mascherano also having suffered an injury against PSG to join Pedro, Adriano and Carles Puyol on the sidelines. Victor Valdes will also miss the match as he completes his four-match suspension.
There is also the chance that coach Tito Vilanova will decide to rest players ahead of the return match with PSG on Wednesday, but Roura has insisted that the team remains focused on the league.
“We have to try to keep the balance,” he said, according to Barcelona’s official Web site. “Our heads are fully focused on Saturday’s game. We have always said that the league is a very important target for us.”
After ending a poor run of form with two wins recently, Mallorca have now recorded back-to-back losses and have slipped back to second from bottom, three points from safety. Joaquin Caparros’s side will be without suspended defender Pedro Geromel for the trip to Camp Nou.
D: Alves, Bartra, Pique, Montoya
M: Fabregas, Song, Thiago
F: Sanchez, Villa, Tello
D: Hutton, Nunes, Bigas, Luna
M: Tissone, Marti, Pina
F: Alfaro, Victor, Santos
Prediction: Barcelona may well not be at their best, with a much-weakened lineup likely to feature. Against another of the relegation-threatened sides last week, Celta Vigo, Barcelona lacked focus and could only come away from a draw.
Mallorca’s form and their poor defensive record suggests Barcelona will still get the win, though it may not be all one way traffic.
Barcelona 3-1 Mallorca
Where to watch: The Liga match will kick-off from Camp Nou at 4 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by beIN Sport. A live stream, which you view at your own discretion, will be available here.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.