RCD Mallorca (15th, 20pts) vs FC Barcelona (7th, 28pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Saturday
Competition/Round: 2021-22 La Liga, Matchday 19
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Sergiño Dest, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, Alejandro Balde, Gavi, Philippe Coutinho, Ez Abde, Ousmane Dembélé (out - Covid-19), Sergio Busquets (out - suspension), Martin Braithwaite, Sergi Roberto, Ferran Torres, Ansu Fati, Pedri, Memphis Depay (out - injury), Yusuf Demir (out - personal)
Mallorca Outs & Doubts: Takefusa Kubo, Aleksander Sedlar, Jaume Costa, Iñigo De Galarreta, Ángel Rodríguez, Dominik Greif, Joan Sastre, Jordi Mboula, Lago Júnior, Matthew Hoppe, Salva Sevilla, Antonio Raíllo (out)
Date/Time: Sunday, January 2, 2022, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Monday)
Venue: Visit Mallorca Stadium, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
VAR: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea
How to watch on TV: Not Available (USA, Canada), LaLigaTV (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), MTV (India), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), others
Following a 10-day holiday break and a Covid-19 outbreak within the squad, Barcelona return to action for the first match of 2022 as they travel to Palma de Mallorca to face Mallorca at the stadium formerly known as Son Moix.
The result and performance against Sevilla in the last game of 2021 created plenty of reasons for optimism about Xavi’s troops, but the Omicron variant had other ideas and destroyed an already depleted squad ahead of what will be a busy January for the Catalan giants.
Between the virus, suspensions and injuries, Barça will be missing an astonishing total of 16 players for Sunday’s game and just putting a team on the pitch capable of winning will already be a big challenge. Expecting a great performance and a big win even against a relegation candidate is not at all realistic, and three points will already be more than enough under such crazy circumstances.
But Mallorca are going through a big Covid outbreak themselves and will be missing virtually all of their best players for this one, and they’ll be doing their best to hold on to a draw and maybe get an improbable victory on the counter if Barça don’t have a good night on the ball.
Let’s dance for the first time this year. With masks and social distancing, of course. Can’t afford any more positives at the moment.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Araujo, Piqué, Eric, Mingueza; Nico, F. De Jong, Puig; Akhomach, L. De Jong, Jutglà
Mallorca (4-2-3-1): Reina; Maffeo, Russo, Valjent, Oliván; Baba, Battaglia; Sánchez, Lee, Rodríguez; Prats
As weakened as Barça will be for this one, the same is true for Mallorca and we should still find a way to win this one: 2-0 to the good guys.