La Liga Betting: Real Mallorca v Barcelona



Real Mallorca couldn't have had more up-and-down form, losing five league games in a row after a good start. Joaquín Caparrós has work to do to halt their worst run for 21 years, but the arrival of a wounded Barcelona to the island will not be a welcome sight for the manager.

It's been a difficult week for the Blaugrana, as questions about their style returned after they were beaten by Celtic. Dani Alves summed it up perfectly in Fridays press conference: "We had a plan B a year and a half ago, we signed a tall guy, in the end he's not here because it didn't work, it's not our philosophy". Referring to striker Zlatan Ibrahimović was a clever way to back hand the doubters - if not entirely true. The Swede was part of Barça's plan A and along with his strained relationship with Pep Guardiola, he simply couldn't adapt. Despite this, he still contributed to important goals.

Team news

Andreu Fontas will get to play against his parent club after joining Mallorca on a season-long loan in October, though former Barça attacker Giovani dos Santos is ruled out following the injury he picked up against Deportivo. Altogether Mallorca are without seven first team players.

The return of Gerard Piqué to the Barca squad is much-needed, as they can begin to field something close to their first choice defence. Carles Puyol is back in training, but won't make this one, while Adriano joins the list of players missing.

Form

Just one point from a possible 15 has curtailed Mallorca's excellent start to the season. They have faced Real Madrid and Sevilla in those run of games and their abilities as a team are probably balanced somewhere in between those contrasting five match spells.

They may have been beaten in Scotland on Wednesday night, but alarm bells are far from ringing for Barcelona. Lest we forget that had Messi not hit the crossbar or Alexis Sanchez the post with a header, the game could have been very different. Statistically, Vilanova's men have had the best start to a La Liga season of any Barcelona team.

Recent head-to-head

In five of Barcelona's last seven visits to the Iberostar stadium, the home side has failed to score. Real Mallorca last defeated the Catalans in May 2009, winning the match 2-1. For a repeat scoreline you can get 28.00.

Goalscorer betting

"I think Leo played well. Sometimes he can miss chances, that's normal," admitted Vilanova following the win over Celta Vigo. Messi's goal against Celtic, saw a thumb in mouth celebration after the birth of his son Thiago last week, but this was almost an afterthought. He might get chance to be more jovial here, and is 2.60 to score first.

Verdict

"I know it's very difficult, but Barça have to lose someday. You can’t win all your League games. Why can we not think that they might fail this weekend?" asked Mallorca striker Victor Casadeus earlier this week. Unfortunately for them, Barcelona lost midweek so expect a reaction. They're at 1.24 for the win.

Bonus bet

They couldn't quite manage it at Celtic Park, but five times this season in all competitions Barca have had to fight back to get a result after going behind. It might be worth looking at Mallorca to be leading at half-time with Barcelona to end up winning, at 22.00.

Score prediction: Real Mallorca 1-4 Barcelona (16.00)