Preview: Barcelona vs. Mallorca

Preview: Barcelona vs. Mallorca

La Liga champions Barcelona will be aiming to bounce back from successive defeats in Spain’s top flight when they play their penultimate match of the 2022-23 campaign at home to Mallorca on Sunday night.

Barcelona won the title by beating Espanyol on May 14, but they have since lost their last two against Real Sociedad and Real Valladolid. Mallorca, meanwhile, currently sit 11th in the table, just three points behind seventh-placed Osasuna in the race for a European finish.

Barcelona have been comfortably the best team in La Liga this season, and they secured the championship with four games to spare by beating Espanyol 4-2 in the Catalan derby earlier this month.

There has been a drop-off in terms of performances in their last two games, though, which have seen them lose at home to Real Sociedad and away to Real Valladolid – two teams with plenty to fight for at this late stage of the campaign.

Head coach Xavi will not want the season to end on a disappointing note, though, and he will be demanding a response against Mallorca in what will be an emotional game for Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, with the two long-serving players preparing to leave on free transfers this summer.

Barcelona, who will finish their season away to Celta Vigo next weekend, have been strong at home this season, picking up 45 points from their 18 matches, and they will be welcoming a Mallorca outfit that have found it difficult on their travels, losing 11 of their 18 games on the road.

The Catalan outfit have also won each of their last 10 La Liga games against Mallorca, including a 1-0 success earlier this season, while they have not lost against Sunday’s opponents since May 2009.

Mallorca only returned to La Liga last season after dropping into the second tier, and they finished the 2021-22 campaign in 16th, but there has been a huge improvement this term.

Indeed, a total of 47 points from 36 matches has left Javier Aguirre’s side in 11th position in the table, nine points clear of the relegation zone and just three points behind seventh-placed Osasuna in the battle to qualify for the Europa Conference League playoff round.

Mallorca have not finished higher than eighth at this level of football since 2010, so it would be a huge achievement to claim seventh, and they will enter this match off the back of a 1-0 win over Valencia, with Vedat Muriqi netting the only goal of the contest in the 64th minute.

The Pirates have collected six points from their last three league games to move up the table, and a positive result on Sunday would lead them nicely into their last match of the season at home to Rayo Vallecano.

Avoiding relegation was the team’s priority at the start of the season, so it has been an excellent campaign for Mallorca, and it could yet end with European football for next term.

Barcelona La Liga form:

Mallorca La Liga form:

We say: Barcelona 2-1 Mallorca
Mallorca deserve a lot of respect for their 2022-23 campaign, and they certainly have enough talent to cause Barcelona issues on Sunday night. The hosts will be desperate to bounce back from successive losses, though, and we are expecting Xavi’s side to emerge victorious in their last game of the season at Camp Nou.

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