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Three talking points ahead of Barcelona vs Mallorca

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Photo by CARLO HERMANN/AFP via Getty Images

When Barcelona took on Mallorca at Son Moix earlier this season, they were made to chase a deficit for the greater part of the game that eventually ended in a draw. The hosts led twice on the night, but goals from Raphinha and Fermin Lopez helped the Blaugranas equalise and share the spoils.

20 matchdays later, Barcelona again face the same opposition, this time at home. Coming off a tame draw and heading into the UCL after tomorrow’s clash, all eyes will be on building some momentum with a win against Javier Aguirre’s men.

Mallorca currently sit in 15th place on the league standings after 27 matchdays and have just five wins in La Liga all season. Considering that they beat the mighty Girona just last weekend, however, it is safe to say that they are enjoying a resurgence.

Barça Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Barcelona vs Mallorca.

World turned upside down

Barcelona’s clash against Athletic Club de Bilbao last weekend had repercussions that transcended beyond the 90 minutes of action that unfolded at San Mames. The fact that the team did not even gather all three points only rubbed salt into the deep scarifying wounds.

In a space of 25 minutes, Barcelona lost two of its most vital midfielders to injury. Both Pedri and Frenkie de Jong left the field prematurely on the night in what can only be described as a curse on the Blaugranas.

The Dutchman’s setback arrived after he landed awkwardly on his ankle after an aerial duel, sustaining trauma so severe that he could not walk off the field. Subsequent tests revealed that the player had suffered a lateral ligament sprain and is expected to be out for close to a month.

Pedri’s injury, meanwhile appeared to be more serious as he went down with a hamstring blow at the end of the first half. The youngster luckily did not suffer a relapse but is still expected to sit out over one month in recuperation.

Xavi is thus acutely handicapped for option in midfield heading into tomorrow’s clash against Mallorca. Ilkay Gundogan and Andreas Christensen will likely retain their places in the lineup and are likely to be joined by Fermin Lopez on the night.

Playing for initiative

Xavi was furious on the touchline during Athletic Club match. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Xavi’s reactions on the sidelines during Barcelona’s previous clash accurately summed up the reactions of millions of fans across the globe. The Spanish tactician was seen fuming towards the end of the clash against Los Leones, especially for his team’s slack attitude.

Athletic Club were far from their best and even without their best player at San Mames last weekend. Yet, Barcelona showed no interest in attacking the spaces or taking the ball forward and it appeared like they were playing for a draw.

Considering that Real Madrid had dropped points, the slack attitude was absolutely unforgivable for a club of Barcelona’s stature.

The first mark of a team that claims to be a title contender is an undying fire for positive results. Unlike last season, the Blaugranas no longer boast the insatiable hunger of a champion team and their recent run of games is a testament to the same.

It is thus critical that Xavi’s men play for initiative and head into the clash against Mallorca with renewed ambitions. The league race may be all but closed, but the team is in dire need of momentum heading into the second leg against Napoli.

The second finalist

Perhaps the most bizarre, yet striking talking point ahead of Barcelona’s clash this weekend is the scheduling of the competition and the opponent themselves.

Last weekend, the Catalans took on Ernesto Valverde’s Athletic Club in La Liga, thus locking horns with one of the Copa del Rey finalists of the 2023-24 edition. The game, throughout the 90 minutes, exemplified why the Basque side were deserved finalists in the cup.

Tomorrow’s fixture, in the very next matchday, sees Barcelona pitted against the second finalist of the very same event. Mallorca and Athletic Club will lock horns next month in the final of the Copa del Rey, and Barcelona ironically play both teams in La Liga within a span of seven days this month.

Xavi’s men failed to dominate Los Leones last weekend, and thus have a point to prove ahead of the clash against Mallorca. Having been defeated early in the cup, Barcelona will look to make a statement by conquering the eventual finalist at Montjuic, especially after failing at that very task seven days ago.

Under Javier Aguirre, Mallorca have a knack for delivering wins under pressure. Tomorrow’s game, in that sense, will be anything but easy for the Azulgranas.

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