Barcelona return to their cramped position in La Liga after a comfortable outing in the Champions League. The Catalans turn hosts this time around as they try to get back to winning ways in the league against Osasuna.
Date and kick-off time: Sunday 29 November 2020, 14:00 CET
Stadium: Camp Nou
Competition: La Liga, Matchday 11
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Barcelona are in a precarious state in their campaign this term. The Catalans have more points, more wins and a better goal difference in the Champions League than they have in La Liga. Worst possible start to the season in decades, with injuries piling up amid a congested fixture list, Ronald Koeman and the players have a lot to figure out. But, first, they have to get back to winning ways in the league.
Osasuna visit the Camp Nou with memories of their last contest, confirming Real Madrid’s title last season with a 1-2 win. The visitors are on the same points as Barça, albeit playing an extra game. Their recent form has been a worry as they have only one win in their last five games much similar to the Blaugranas.
Barcelona’s memories against Osasuna are not pleasant. (Photo via Imago)
While Los Rojillos do not have the fixture congestion as the hosts, they have mirrored their injury problems and long time absences. Chimy Avila, Brandon, David García, Adrián López are injured and out of the clash. Jonathan Calleri, Aridane Hernández, Juan Pérez, Lucas Torró are doubtful for the game.
Barça’s injury list has dented the team significantly. While Ansu Fati, Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto remain sidelined for months, there has been some improvement for the others. Both Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo have started the group training but will be a couple of weeks before they are match fit.
“Dest had some discomfort in his leg, but it is not a serious matter because he trained well today. If he is not well tomorrow, we will play someone else. We will not risk injuries.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-game Presser
Sergio Busquets is given the medical green light for this clash after recovering from a knock in International duty. Despite initial reports of an injury, Sergino Dest has made the squad list after having trained with the group before the game.
What to expect from Barcelona?
Ronald Koeman decided to field a second-string eleven against Dynamo Kyiv and rested his most-played players. Both Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi got a well-deserved rest after playing almost all games this season. So, both players will be fit and raring to go this weekend in La Liga. With the return of Coutinho, the front four seems to take shape in the absence of Ansu Fati.
“Hopefully tomorrow Messi and De Jong can offer their best because we need them.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-Game Presser
While there are options aplenty in the attack, the defence still seems shaky and not enough for top La Liga sides. Óscar Mingueza could continue to partner Clément Lenglet after impressing midweek. If Dest is not fit enough to start either Mingueza or de Jong will fit in at right-back. Carles Aleñá could get another run in the pivot with Miralem Pjanić if de Jong fills in at defence. Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba would be the only two regular starters in the backline.
Personnel issues aside, Barcelona have struggled tactically this season. While they breezed past Dynamo Kyiv in the previous game, they still provided the opponent with plenty of easy chances. The erratic pressing and loss of intensity after some point results in the opposition carving open the Barça defence with as little as a one-two pass. The manager should work on these and make sure the pressing works against tactically drilled La Liga sides.
What to expect from Osasuna?
Jagoba Arrasate’s Osasuna have been excellent in the top flight since getting promoted. After finishing an impressive 10th place last time, they are in the bottom half of the table this season, just below Barcelona. Injuries to crucial players have dented their fortunes this season, and their recent form is not helping the team.
When the last time the two sides met, the visitors won with only 20% possession, had more shots on target and scored a goal while a man down. Arrasate understandably would go with the same approach this time around as well. Whether the formation is 3-5-2 or 4-4-2, Osasuna will pack the middle to restrict the Blaugranas from breaking lines and going through the centre.
With a lack of possession and territory, Osasuna will look to go long moving the ball direct while counter-attacking. The visitors being aerially dominant, will often look to cross into the box. They do take a lot of shots confidently but are often prone to miss big chances. In this particular match, Osasuna’s game plan would work with ease if they hold their shape well in defence and successfully get into scoring positions.
Player to watch
Budimir has scored one of the only two goals Atletico Madrid have conceded this season. (Photo via Imago)
Osasuna have a lot of tall players ready to nod the crosses they put in. Ante Budimir is among the tallest of the lot, standing tall at 6’2″. The Croatian has played their last three games scoring one goal against Atletico Madrid past Jan Oblak. He is not afraid to take shots as he leads the team in shots per game.
One of the main reasons for his threat is the lack of height in the Barça defence. With Gerard Piqué out, the aerial presence at the back is severely low, and the Croat could take advantage of the situation.
Previous games: WLWWD
Dynamo Kyiv 0–4 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League
Atletico Madrid 1–0 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 5–2 Real Betis | La Liga
Barcelona 2–1 Dynamo Kyiv | UEFA Champions League
Deportivo Alavés 1–1 Barcelona | La Liga
Position in La Liga
11 points in 8 games
3 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses
15 Goals Scored, 9 Goals Conceded
+6 Goal Difference
Previous games: DLLWD
Osasuna 1–1 Huesca | La Liga
Sevilla 1–0 Osasuna | La Liga
Osasuna 1–3 Atlético Madrid | La Liga
Osasuna 1–0 Athletic Bilbao | La Liga
Eibar 0–0 Osasuna | La Liga
Position in La Liga
11 points in 9 games
3 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses
8 Goals Scored, 9 Goals Conceded
-1 Goal Difference
Barcelona 1–2 Osasuna | La Liga 19/20
Osasuna 2–2 Barcelona | La Liga 19/20
Barcelona 7–1 Osasuna| La Liga 16/17
Osasuna 0–3 Barcelona | La Liga 16/17
Barcelona 7–0 Osasuna| La Liga 13/14
- Barcelona are undefeated in 33 of their last 35 home matches (LaLiga).
- Osasuna have failed to score in their last 3 away matches (LaLiga).
- There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 8 of Osasuna’s last 10 away games (LaLiga).
- Osasuna were unbeaten against Barcelona last season.
Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Gerard Pique (knee), Ansu Fati (knee), Sergi Roberto (hamstring), Ronald Araujo
Marc-André ter Stegen
Dest · Mingueza · Lenglet · Alba
Pjanic · de Jong
Dembele · Messi · Coutinho
Coach: Ronald Koeman
“If we maintain our rhythm with the ball, we will be very good. Sometimes we suddenly relax. The team needs to keep a constant level of intensity.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-Game Presser
Injured: Chimy Avila, Brandon, David García, Adrián López, Jonathan Calleri, Aridane Hernández, Juan Pérez, Lucas Torró
Roncaglia · David García · Raúl Navas
Nacho Vidal · Moncayola · Sanjurjo · Inigo Pérez · Jony
Budimir · Garcia
Coach: Jagoba Arrasate
Barcelona have been wayward in La Liga this season. They have performed against teams which like possession, but have struggled hard against low and medium blocks. Barça despite, having the ball, have been highly inefficient, moving it slow unable to break down the opponents. It would continue against Osasuna unless Ronald Koeman decides to do things differently.
Barça Universal prediction: 2–1 win for the Catalans
Predicted Barcelona lineup against Athletic Bilbao
Sunday could be the first taste of silverware for Barcelona after more than a year-long hiatus. It may be the least important of the competitions the Blaugrana’s participate in, yet words cannot describe the paramount importance of a victory, as they get ready to take on Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final.
Barcelona have had dismal performances in all tournaments alike in the past season. Undoubtedly, that was a huge psychological blow to captains and players alike. With that in mind, even a minor victory like the Supercopa de Espana could provide the team with a world of confidence.
The final obstacle between the Catalans and silverware is a certain Basque outfit that whom they saw off very recently. Barcelona had taken down Bilbao in quite convincing fashion ten days ago, though the scoreline reflects a closer encounter than it was. Here is how Barcelona could lineup against Athletic Bilbao.
After months of dilemma, permutations and combinations, Ronald Koeman has finally found his best defender in Ronald Araujo. Pace, agility, strength, size, the Uruguayan has it all. He will undoubtedly start the game. Alongside him will likely be Clement Lenglet who had a reasonable outing in the Semi-final. A clutch performance in a high stakes game could be the much-needed confidence booster for the Frenchman.
With Sergino Dest back fit, he will find his name in the lineup on Sunday. He will have to put up more masterclasses at the right-back position with Sergi Roberto’s return from injury nearing.
Jordi Alba will once again look to be the difference-maker, operating and dictating the flow of the game on the left side. The Spaniard has looked more confident than ever and will hope to continue more of the same for the upcoming clash
Starting at the heart of the midfield will be Sergio Busquets, the man who looks revitalized after the shift in the system by the manager. In the semifinal, he put up one of his most perfect games yet. He will be accompanied by the duo of Frenkie de Jong and Pedri who have also immensely benefitted from the 4-3-3 system.
Frenkie finally seems at the peak of his powers and has been directly involved in goals almost for fun. Pedri, on the other hand, has been on an incredible uphill in development. He is mature beyond his years, and that contributes a lot to this Barcelona side. The midfield will have to work extremely hard to prevent a trophyless season for Barça.
Ousmane Dembele has not had a better phase in his Barcelona career than he is enjoying right now. The Frenchman played the full 120 minutes against Sociedad and looks set for another start in the final. His ability to turn up clutch is something Koeman will be counting on.
After missing the last game through muscle discomfort, reports suggest that Lionel Messi could feature in the big clash on Sunday. He successfully trained with the group in the final session, and everything indicates he could start on Sunday. The Argentine will be a major factor deciding the final result, needless to say.
Rounding off the Barcelona lineup against Bilbao will be Antoine Griezmann. The World-Cup winner was directly involved in Barcelona’s opening goal in the last game and will look to continue his good run of form
Griezmann · Messi · Dembele
Pedri · Busquets · de Jong
Alba · Lenglet · Araujo · Dest
Miralem Pjanic will continue to remain an option to replace Sergio Busquets in the long-drawn fixture. Fresh legs will indeed be key on the night.
Riqui Puig was the hero of the night scoring the decisive penalty after voluntarily taking up the responsibility. His passion could be rewarded with some minutes in the second half, especially if Barcelona are trailing
Fransico Trincao could come-on for Antoine Griezmann late in the second half to provide a boost in energy and pace on the right wing.