Camp Nou, Barcelona
October 04, 2010, O230 IST
An FC Barcelona team without Lionel Messi has been in the news for the past few days. This weekend, the little man is back. Another little man from Spain will not be available for the defending champions this time. Xavi Hernandez has been ruled out of Sunday’s Primera Liga clash against Real Mallorca. The diminutive Spaniard has been suffering from a Achilles tendon problem. He’s been omitted from the Spain squad for next week’s games against Lithuania and Scotland too. After playing continuously for FC Barcelona and Spain for the past two years, Xavi deserves this rest and a chance to recuperate from the ailment.
Come Sunday and Pep Guardiola will be up against his former teammate – Michael Laurdup. “He played so well, I’m sure he’s got to be a good manager too. He played his best football when he was here and when I played with him we always tried to give him the ball as we knew he’d just do something special”, said Guardiola about the Dane.
Known for his immaculate preparation, Guardiola insists that his team is playing better than in his first year. The team coped quite well in the absence of talismanic striker Lionel Messi. The absence of midfield lynchpin, Xavi, will definitely reduce some of the creativity of the Catalan side. However, with the amount of backup that they have, coping should not be much of an issue. Along with Xavi, Adriano looked set to miss out. Thankfully, the Brazilian made a comeback to training and is expected to be included in the squad. David Villa on the other hand is suspended following his red card in last weekend’s 3-1 win at Athletic Bilbao. The availability of Golden Boot winner, Lionel Messi, will definitely be a boost for Pep Guardiola’s team.
Real Mallorca too has their share of problems. Defenders Nunes, Enrique Corrales and Ayoze Diaz all miss out, which means Laudrup will be forced to make changes at the back. Up front, Tuni and Victor Casadesus are also side-lined. The Los Bermellones like to play in a 4-1-3-2, but due to the absence of some key personnel, a 5-4-1 or a 4-5-1 is expected.
Mallorca have picked up seven points from a possible nine so far at home, but have lost both of their away matches. Without the creativity of Xavi, Mallorca will look towards pressing the Barca midfield and try and garner chances which might just help them to fetch a point, maybe even all three.
The Los Bermellones went down 2-0 at Sporting Gijon and then lost 3-0 at Athletic Bilbao. Laudrup is hoping for an improvement on that form.
“We need to do better away from home. This is a hugely difficult match, but it is also one the players will be motivated for”, said the Dane
Probable starting line-up:
FC Barcelona: Valdes(GK), Puyol, Pique, Alves, Abidal, Mascherano, Kieta, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Bojan.
RCD Mallorca: Dudu Aouate(GK), Ruben Gonzalez, Jose Luis Marti, Martí Crespí, Pablo Cendros Lopez, Guzman, Castro, Emilio Nsue, Sergi Enrich, Pereira, Tomás Pina Isla.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
The little man is back in the team. After succumbing to a horrible tackle by Ujfalusi, the Argentine was out of the team for a couple of games in a row. Starting as a substitute against Rubin Kazan away at Russia, Messi will surely be ready for this match. Winning the Golden Boot will only have bolstered his confidence and he’ll be raring to have a go at the Mallorca defence. Yet again, Lionel Messi is TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch Out For.
2009-10: FC Barcelona 4-2 RCD Mallorca; RCD Mallorca 0-1 FC Barcelona
2008-09: FC Barcelona 3-1 RCD Mallorca; RCD Mallorca 2-1 FC Barcelona
2007-08: FC Barcelona 2-3 RCD Mallorca
FC Barcelona 3-0 RCD Mallorca
Thiago and Nolito will most likely be in the squad for the game. I’d think Iniesta will play in MF with Pedro replacing him on the left. I don’t think Pep would go in with a 2 man defensive pivot against Mallorca. That said, with Pep one can never guess the line-up.
Why you always have Masch in the staring line up 🙂 ? I guess it will be Kieta, Busquets, Iniesta in mid. Pedro Messi & Bojan in the fwd.
In the absence of two of your biggest players, you just need MASCHE… He’s too prominent a player to warm the bench even when you have lack of experienced personnel in your first eleven.
I am impressed with NOLITO… Nolito, Alcantara & Jeffren need more time… It might cost us a few points, but IMO, we can afford that because these guys are just gr8. All they need is exposure…