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How will Barcelona line up against Mallorca in La Liga?

After a disappointing and costly goalless draw away to Athletic Bilbao at the weekend, Barcelona are back home for a rare Friday night match as the Catalans welcome Mallorca in Matchday 28 of La Liga.

Barça got much-needed help from those in charge of the schedule to get an extra day of rest before the massive Champions League clash against Napoli, so the Blaugrana must take this one very seriously to get a win in front of their home fans, solidify their spot in the Top 4 and boost their confidence ahead of the biggest game of their season.

Mallorca stole a point at home against Barça in their first meeting this season and will look for another upset, and their defensive style is a difficult matchup for a Blaugrana side missing several key pieces.

Here’s how we think Xavi Hernández will line up his troops for Friday’s battle.


FC Barcelona v Granada CF - LaLiga EA Sports

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Xavi has a tricky task of picking a strong enough team to win on Friday while also keeping the game against Napoli in mind, so we shouldn’t see too many rotations from the boss with the extra day off as well as the limited options in the squad.

There’s not much to do at the back anyway, with Ronald Araujo suspended and two other defenders (Alejandro Balde and Marcos Alonso) out injured. That leaves Jules Kounde, Pau Cubarsí, Iñigo Martínez and João Cancelo as the remaining defenders and likely starters, though young Héctor Fort could be a surprise starter at either full-back spot if Xavi decides to rest Kounde or Cancelo.


FC Barcelona v UD Almeria - LaLiga EA Sports

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Barça’s midfield was rocked by the long-term injuries to Pedri and Frenkie de Jong at the worst possible time, and with Gavi out for the season the Blaugrana only have Ilkay Gündogan as a true, world-class player available in the center of the park. The German simply cannot be risked so close to the Napoli match, and I am in favor of keeping him on the bench for the whole 90 minutes even if it costs points against Mallorca.

With Gündogan hopefully rested and the other three midfielders injured, only four players remain: Andreas Christensen, Oriol Romeu, Sergi Roberto and Fermín López. Christensen will start against Napoli and should also be rested here, so the unlikely trio of Romeu, Roberto and Fermín will probably start on Friday.

All three have a chance to play important roles between now and June, and they must take this opportunity to prove they should have minutes in the biggest games if Barça can get past Napoli.


FC Barcelona v Getafe CF - LaLiga EA Sports

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Another player who should not be involved at all against Mallorca is Lamine Yamal, who is dealing with a knee issue and must be focused on being as close to 100% as possible for next Tuesday. Raphinha is back at full fitness and can start again on the right wing, and if Yamal somehow can’t go against Napoli the Brazilian could use a confidence boost in this one.

Robert Lewandowski should be rested for Napoli, but it would be a surprise to see the Pole start on the bench with all the other absences and with Gündogan’s expected night off. Vitor Roque will be ready to go if Xavi decides to rest Lewy, however, and João Félix will start on the left looking to play well enough to earn a spot in the starting XI next Tuesday.

Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Cubarsí, Iñigo, Cancelo; Fermín, Romeu, Roberto; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Félix (4-3-3)

How do you think Barcelona should line up against Mallorca? Let us know your thoughts, predictions and teams in the comments below!

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