La Liga Betting: Expect goals when Barcelona host Mallorca



Zlatan Ibrahimović came back to haunt Barcelona in Paris, scoring from an offside position against his former side. Barça were then denied victory due to a goal in stoppage time. Thiago Silva showed the Catalan club exactly what they are lacking with a commanding individual performance at centre-back. At times it looked as if he was taking unnecessary risks in defence, but he was actually playing around the first press of Barça's attack.

The biggest setback, though, was Lionel Messi pulling up with a hamstring problem. He is out of this match, and it's a race against time for the second leg at the Camp Nou. Messi has scored 48% of Barcelona's goals this season and had just set a record of netting against every club in the division, so it's not difficult to see his absence is huge. Real Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano didn't hide his pleasure, describing it as "one less headache" for his team.

Team news

There's another important Argentinean missing for the next six weeks: Javier Mascherano is out, adding to Barça's defensive worries. Marc Bartra should be at centre-back once again, while Christian Tello, Cesc Fábregas, Thiago and Alex Song are all likely to earn a recall.

Manzano won't make too many changes as he looks to match Barça's formation in a 4-3-3. Centre-back Geromel is suspended after getting his tenth yellow card of the campaign; Pedro Bigas is the expected replacement.

Form

It's two consecutive 2-2 draws for Barcelona, leaving the Catalans frustrated on their travels, but their last three home matches ended in resounding victories.

Losing to bottom side Deportivo was a huge blow for the islanders; they dropped down a position and are now three points from safety. Wins over Granada and Sevilla seem like a lifetime ago.

Recent head-to-head

Mallorca's last trip to the Camp Nou ended in a 5-0 hammering, but they did manage a draw at the ground in October 2010. Emilio Nsue got the last goal that day and is 28.00 for a repeat.

Goalscorer betting

Without the main man, goals could arrive from anywhere. It's worth looking at the likes of Fàbregas at 6.25 or David Villa at 4.40 for the opener. Alves (5.25) and Piqué (6.25) are decent picks to score at anytime, given how both players like to venture forward. Giovani Dos Santos is 4.90 to score against his former side, while Scottish full-back Alan Hutton is a huge 20.00.

Verdict

Barça are never the same prospect without their talisman, but there isn't a club on this planet that doesn't suffer when they are without a world class player. They should still have enough in their locker to beat Mallorca, with others getting the rare chance to grab the headlines. It's 1.18 for a Barcelona victory.

Bonus bet

Only Deportivo have a worse defensive record than the islanders this campaign: their record of 58 goals conceded says it all. There have been 22 goals in the previous five games involving the club, while there have been four goals in each of the last three matches that Barça have played. Over 3.5 goals can be found at 1.83.

Score prediction: Barcelona 3-2 Real Mallorca