Barcelona will aim to make a winning start to 2022 when they head south to face Mallorca as visitors on Sunday. Which road to take at the top-rated sportsbooks?
RCD Mallorca vs. FC Barcelona
Sunday, January 02, 2022 – 3:00 PM EST at Iberostar Stadium
Barcelona is up to 7th in the standings after picking up a win and two draws in its last three games. It has been a dismal season thus far for the Blaugrana, but it seems there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
Club legend Xavi replaced the unpopular Ronald Koeman as manager last month, and results have improved slightly since then. The club hit headlines by signing Spain forward Ferran Torres for €50 million from Manchester City this week.
It has also tied talented youngsters Ansu Fati and Pedri down to long-term deals, with €1 billion release clauses now attached to Fati, Pedri, and Torres. The club remains in financial peril – which is why it had to offload Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in the summer – and it must sell players to comply with La Liga’s financial regulations following the Torres deal, but they are building up a talented core of youngsters and the future looks brighter for Barcelona in this post-Messi era.
Victory over Mallorca on Sunday would cap a great week for the club, but it will not be easy.
Mallorca Has a Strong Home Record
Mallorca finished second in Segunda División last season and it was promoted to La Liga Primera. They did not make many notable signings in the summer, but they have adapted reasonably well to life in the top flight.
They are currently 15th in the table, five points clear of the relegation zone, with four wins, eight draws, and just six defeats from 18 games so far. At home, Mallorca has lost just once all season. They have two wins and six draws from nine games at Iberostar Stadium.
Barcelona has only secured one away win in eight games, with five draws and two defeats on the road. That does not bode particularly well for Barcelona’s chances of success in this game.
Barcelona’s list of absentees is pretty ridiculous right now. Ousmane Dembélé, Samuel Umtiti, Gavi, Jordi Alba, Dani Alves, Clément Lenglet, and Alejandro Balde all received positive COVID tests this week.
Sergio Busquets is suspended, and Fati, Memphis Depay, Pedri, Sergi Roberto, and Martin Braithwaite are all recovering from injuries. Pedri may make the bench against Mallorca, but the others are highly unlikely to feature. Torres cannot be registered until January 3, and he has not played for several weeks due to injury.
It means Barcelona has just nine members of the first-team squad available for this game, although two of them are goalkeepers: Marc-André ter Stegen and Neto. The other available players are Ronald Araujo, Gerard Piqué, Eric García, Óscar Mingueza, Frenkie de Jong, Riqui Puig and Luuk de Jong. Xavi will have to fill the team and the substitutes bench with players from Barcelona’s B team just to make up the numbers.
Mallorca has also been hit with a COVID-19 outbreak, meaning it will miss defender Jaume Costa, midfielders Salva Sevilla and Iñigo Ruiz de Galarreta, and forwards Ángel Luis Rodríguez, Takefusa Kubo, and Jordi Mboula, but their situation is not as bleak as Barcelona’s.
It suggests that Mallorca should be able to get a result in this game. It is the +270 underdog with DraftKings, but they may well defy those odds.
Soccer Pick: Mallorca-Draw Double Chance (-130) at Caesars Sportsbook
Soccer Pick: Draw (+240) at Caesars Sportsbook
Soccer Pick: Both Teams to Score (-120) at Caesars Sportsbook