Ahead of kickoff, Real Madrid dropped points to Getafe while Atletico Madrid picked up three points in their game. A win for Barcelona would see them stick close to Diego Simeone’s side at fifth position.

Xavi Hernandez looks to start the new year in a positive fashion. The Catalans have looked better in LaLiga Santander of late, with a win over Elche followed by an away draw at Sevilla, and they will be aiming for three points on Sunday to launch their bid for a top-four finish.

Luuk de Jong’s first-half header was enough to separate the two sides, but Ter Stegen’s heroics at the end were just as vital for the Catalans who close in on the top four.

Xavi chose a formation similar to that anticipated by many outlets. Marc Andre Ter Stegen sat behind a defensive four of Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia, and Oscar Mingueza. In midfield, Frenkie de Jong sat behind Nico and Riqui Puig. Meanwhile, Ilias Akomach and Ferran Jutgla flanked Luuk de Jong in attack

The severely depleted squad was expected to be a stiff test of team chemistry for Xavi’s side. However, the first half was far from the dull and uncoordinated game that one expected.

When compared to the opening period, the second half was less lively than Barcelona. Yet, the fact that they continued to dominate Mallorca cannot be denied.


  • Mehr Ali is a Journalist, photographer, and football player.