Barcelona are tipped by oddsmakers to end Saturday still in control of top spot in La Liga after facing Real Mallorca at the Camp Nou.
The Blaugrana may be second at the time of kick-off, provided nearest rivals Real Madrid beat Espanyol on home soil earlier in the day. Still, Barca have the firepower to overwhelm a Mallorca side hovering dangerously above the bottom three by just a single point.
Lionel Messi is in prolific form after scoring the winner against Atletico Madrid last time out. In between, the No. 10 won the Ballon d'Or for a sixth time, so confidence won't be in short supply when he takes to the pitch this weekend.
Date: Saturday, December 7
Time: 8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET
TV Info: Premier Sports, beIN Sports
- Barcelona: -820 (bet $820 to win $100)
- Mallorca: +1900 (bet $100 to win $1900)
- Draw: +840
Odds per Caesars.
Messi has been cementing his place as the greatest player of his generation:
In the process, the 32-year-old has also been carrying a team struggling to click consistently in other areas. Barca lack the fluency and flair in midfield that defined the club's glory years in the last decade.
It doesn't help that the artistry of players like Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez has been replaced by the industry of Arturo Vidal. Meanwhile, Frenkie de Jong has found it difficult to translate the technical excellence he showed for Ajax to life in Spain.
The bright spark has been the performances of 17-year-old Ansu Fati. The teenager has two goals and an assist to his credit in the Spanish top flight and was recently rewarded with a new deal:
Fati can become a useful supporting act for Messi, a role Luis Suarez has adopted and performed well in recent weeks. The Uruguay international created the winner against Atleti, and he also has 13 goals to his credit in all competitions.
Mallorca won't match Barca's strength and potency in attack, even though Lago Junior and Japan international Takefusa Kubo can bring some magic of their own to the final third.
Real Madrid loanee Kubo has been impressing with his trickery, pace and eye for a pass. Mallorca will need to get the 18-year-old on the ball early and often, but even then Messi is likely to prove the difference between the two sides.