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Match Previews

Barcelona vs Osasuna: team news, possible XIs, score prediction and match facts in La Liga round 37 preview

Everything you need to know in the preview to Thursday’s match between Barcelona and Osasuna

Hariharan Balaji

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Header Image by Cordon Press via Imago

The penultimate game of the La Liga campaign is upon us. Barça still sit four points behind leaders Real Madrid, in a title race which seems to be over realistically. However, the Catalans need to win every game to at least keep the point difference intact. Here’s the preview of the match between Barcelona and Osasuna. 


Date and kick-off time: Thursday 16 July 2020, 21:00 CET

Stadium: Camp Nou

Competition: La Liga, matchday 37

Referee: José María Sánchez Martínez


Overview

Although mathematically not done yet, Real Madrid more or less have the La Liga trophy in the bag. They are four points ahead, and a win or one Barcelona slip away from sealing the championship this matchday. With nothing in their hands at the moment, Barça can only hope to win the two remaining games, and make sure to pick up some form for the impending Champions League clash against Napoli on August 8.

During the visit to Real Valladolid last matchday, Quique Setién and Barcelona showed some improvisation and tactical flexibility in the first half. Setién started with the system he implemented when he joined, with a back three and Sergi Roberto as a false right centre-back, but soon went back to the regular formation once Antoine Griezmann got injured at half-time. Valladolid bettered their gameplan and grew into the game to make things difficult for Barça, but the visitors scraped through for a one-nil victory.

Ansu Fati Barcelona Osasuna match preview

Aged 16, Ansu Fati scored his first Barcelona goal in a 2–2 draw against Osasuna earlier this season | Photo by Jess Diges via Imago

Now, Barcelona turn hosts as Osasuna visit the Camp Nou on Thursday night. Of the three clubs which got the promotion last term, Granada and Osasuna have positioned themselves very well in the middle of the table, much to everyone’s surprise. With a win, the visitors could even step into the top half of the table. In the reverse fixture, the blaugranas drew 2–2 at El Sadar, with midfielder Arthur Melo coming off the bench to bring some life into the game. Now, at the Camp Nou, with a better and fit squad, the result might not be the same. 

What to expect from Barcelona?

Barcelona have shown glimpses of brilliance over the last few fixtures, but have not stamped their authority yet. With the 3–5–2 system during the opening moments of the Valladolid, the players were very mobile and often found themselves in attacking zones. Barça successfully evaded the press and were creating excellent chances. Right-back Nélson Semedo got the free attacking role he craved and shone brightly till the change of system. Even with the deep defence, Barça were able to break lines and get into dangerous zones.

Due to the injury to Antoine Griezmann and change in the system for Pucela, Barça switched to their usual system. They lost their bright attacking energy and dropped to defend the relentless attack of the hosts. What seemed like an easy win, ended up being a scraping one-nil victory. This time around, the Catalans’ squad is much better, as Frenkie de Jong, Arthur Melo and Ansu Fati return for contention.

The comeback of the Dutchman is especially exciting as he could play in the hybrid centre-back / midfielder role Sergi Roberto has been taking up recently. He occupied a similar position in Ajax, and the culés could finally see him in full strength. However, it is unlikely that he will start the game, but could see some minutes for sure. Ansu Fati returns from suspension and fills the void of an injured Griezmann. 

“To be honest, the league is almost impossible because there are only two games left”

Luis Suárez

If Quique Setién feels that the 3–5–2 is the way to go with no proper wingers, then he should make the team comfortable with the system before the all-important Champions League duel. Fixing his best eleven is necessary while competing in knockout tournaments. Even though the La Liga title is out of reach, the season is far from over, and he must prepare the team for the same.

What to expect from Osasuna?

Having been relegated to the second tier of Spanish football in the 2016/17 season, Osasuna fought their way back to the top division as Segunda champions. Jagoba Arrasate got the reins of the team in June 2018 and successfully steered them back to La Liga last campaign. This term not only have they successfully stayed up, but they have also kept themselves well clear of the drop zone with a possible top ten finish. 

“Regardless of what happens in these two matches, the season will have been very good, but it is true that tomorrow we have the opportunity to put the cherry on top of the cake”

Jagoba Arrasate
Osasuna coach in press conference before visiting Barcelona

Osasuna are a tricky side to face in La Liga. They play with a lot of heart and defend with all their men. While they prefer to play without the ball, they are no slouches on it. With a squad with considerably height advantage, they tend to stretch the defences using their width and put in dangerous crosses into the box. With attackers like Chimy Ávila, Roberto Torres and Rubén García, they are not afraid to have a go at the goal from range.

“All that’s obtaining points will be a surprise”

Jagoba Arrasate
on Osasuna’s chances in the game against Barcelona

However, for this encounter, Osasuna miss almost half a dozen of players due to injury, which includes Chimy Ávila, their top scorer but who is recovering from a cruciate ligament tar. Alongside him, Marc Cordona, Robert Ibáñez, Unai García and Rubén García get sidelined too. Former Barça B winger or striker José Arnáiz, having scored his first goal for Los Rojillos in extra time in a 2–1 win over Celta de Vigo on the weekend, could start versus his previous club. The manager Arrasate is known to switch personnel and formations and could go with a back five against Barcelona.


Form

FC Barcelona

Last 5 games: WWWDD

Real Valladolid 0–1 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 1–0 Espanyol | La Liga
Villarreal 1–4 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 2–2 Atlético de Madrid | La Liga
Celta de Vigo 2–2 Barcelona | La Liga

Position in La Liga

2nd 
79 points in 36 games
24 wins, 7 draws and 5 losses
80 Goals Scored, 36 Goals Conceded
+44 Goal Difference

CA Osasuna

Last 5 games: WLDWW

Osasuna 2–1 Celta de Vigo | La Liga
Real Betis 3–0 Osasuna | La Liga
Osasuna 0–0 Getafe | La Liga
Eibar 0–2 Osasuna | La Liga
Osasuna 2–1 Leganés | La Liga

Position in La Liga

11th
48 points in 35 games
12 wins, 12 draws and 12 losses
42 Goals Scored, 51 Goals Conceded
–9 Goal Difference

Head-to-head record

Last 5 meetings

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
Osasuna 0–0 Barcelona | La Liga, 13/14


Match facts

• Barcelona have scored at least four goals in their last five home matches against Osasuna in all competitions

• Barcelona have won their last seven home encounters with Osasuna in all competitions

• Barcelona have kept a clean sheet in five of their last six home games in La Liga

• Thursday’s meeting is the last home clash for Barcelona in this La Liga season


Team news and possible line-ups

FC Barcelona

Absences

Injured: Ousmane Dembélé (hamstring), Samuel Umtiti (knee), Antonie Griezmann (aductor)
Suspended: None

Possible line-up

4–3–1–2
Ter Stegen
Semedo · Piqué · Lenglet · Jordi Alba
Sergi Roberto · Busquets · Riqui Puig
Arturo Vidal
Messi· Suárez
Coach: Quique Setién

“The fatigue is taking a toll on us and the players are saturated, which is normal because there are many encounters in few days”

Jagoba Arrasate

CA Osasuna

Absences

Injured: Chimy Ávila, Marc Cordona, Robert Ibáñez, Unai García, Rubén García
Suspended: None

Possible line-up

3–4–3
Herrera
David García · Raúl Navas · Aridane
Nacho Vidal · Moncayola · Fran Mérida · Lato
Arnáiz · Enric Gallego · Kike Barja
Coach: Jagoba Arrasate

Chimy Ávila Rubén García Osasuna Barcelona match preview

Osasuna will have some key absences at the Camp Nou, as has been the case in recent weeks | Photo by David Ramos via Getty Images


Predictions

The La Liga season is about to come to an end, and Barcelona’s eternal rivals might lift the trophy in this same matchday. There are little to no consequences for the result of this match, but Barça must not take it lightly and win at all costs. Quique Setién cannot take the visitors easily and must bring his A-game during the match to get a dominating triumph. The writer’s prediction for the game: 3–0 for the Catalans.


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Match Previews

A preview of Barça’s first game of the season against Villareal

Hariharan Balaji

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

With already two matchdays completed in La Liga, Barça kick off their campaign on the third against the Yellow Submarine. The Catalans begin their title charge under new manager, Ronald Koeman, at the Camp Nou. Here’s the preview of the match between Barcelona and Villarreal. 


Date and kick-off time: Sunday 27 September 2020, 21:00 CET

Stadium: Camp Nou

Competition: La Liga, matchday 3

Referee: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández


Overview

A new season with a new manager and a partially renewed squad, Barcelona once again try to gloss over the cracks of the previous disappointing season for the third time in a row. In a bid to reduce the overarching wage bill, Barcelona have let go of some of their top-earning veterans for peanuts. Ivan Rakitić, Arturo Vidal, and Luis Suárez have left the club almost for free with significant earnings on the sale of Nelson Semedo. 

Apart from the already agreed transfers and players returning from loan, Barça are yet to complete a signing this window. They are unlikely to do so before the start of the game for the player to be eligible to play. While the numbers in attack and midfield are overwhelming, albeit the absence of different profiles, the defence remains understaffed and underwhelming. 

In contrast to Barcelona, their visitors have built upon their successful season by backing their new manager with excellent signings. Villarreal have dealt with the departures of several key players and have replaced them economically and efficiently. 

With an unusually short pre-season, both the new managers have had little time to implement their ideas and stamp their authority on the team. Will be an intriguing matchup considering that the match is at Camp Nou but without the fans. 

What to expect from Barcelona?

Ronald Koeman has made it clear with the three pre-season games that 4-2-3-1 is the way forward under his stewardship. The Dutchman has been straightforward with the players about his plans. He has also stated that he intends to field the players in their best positions as much as possible. So, both Frenkie de Jong and Antonie Griezmann will likely get their favoured spots.

The shift to the new formation has its pros and cons. The Mediapunta role benefits some of the central players of the squad to have more authority in the attack. But, with one less man in midfield and the double-pivot being flat ends in the defence reeling if the opponents break the first press to counter. Koeman must find a solution to this before stronger sides in La Liga exploit Barça in this regard. 

The Catalans are without the services of Marc-André ter Stegen who is out till October with Neto filling in between the sticks. Martin Braithwaite is also out with a minor injury. The defence has further weakened with no proper right back in the squad ending in Sergi Roberto once again filling in. Samuel Umtiti situation is still unclear with the club keen to offload the injury-prone Frenchman. 

What to expect from Villarreal?

Unai Emery’s Villarreal have already played two games this season drawing one and winning another. Despite a successful last season, Javier Calleja was relieved of his duties, which was quite vague. But, they have appointed a more experienced and a proven winner in Emery and backed him with the players. On paper, they look like a team to keep an eye on this season in La Liga. 

Emery has changed the system to a 4-4-2 with new signings Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin slotting in the midfield. Chukwueze and Moi Gomez flank the two with the impressive Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer upfront. New signing Pervis Estupiñán might fill in at left-back after earning the move with an excellent debut season in La Liga. 

Last season’s Zarra trophy winner Moreno has hit the ground running with two goals in two games. Dani Parejo is trying to adjust to new surroundings in Villarreal after almost spending his entire senior career at Valencia. The experienced Raul Albiol is a doubt for the clash with a broken nose. Still unbeaten under Emery, the Yellow Submarine would love to extend the run and make a dent to the host’s start to the campaign. 


Form

FC Barcelona

Previous games: WWW

Barcelona 1–0 Elche | Joan Gamper Trophy
Barcelona 3–1 Girona | Club Friendly
Barcelona 3–1 Gimnastic| Club Friendly

Position in La Liga

16th 
0 points in 0 games
0 wins, 0 draws and 0 losses
0 Goals Scored, 0 Goals Conceded
0 Goal Difference

Villarreal CF

Previous games: WDLWL

Villarreal 2–1 Eibar | La Liga
Villarreal 1–1 Huesca | La Liga
Villarreal 1–2 Levante | Club Friendly
Real Sociedad 0–2 Villarreal | Club Friendly
Valencia 2–1 Villarreal | Club Friendly

Position in La Liga

5th
4 points in 2 games
2 wins, 1 draw and 0 losses
3 Goals Scored, 2 Goals Conceded
+1 Goal Difference

Head-to-head record

Last 5 meetings

Villarreal 1–4 Barcelona | La Liga, 19/20
Barcelona 2–1 Villarreal | La Liga, 19/20
Villarreal 4–4 Barcelona | La Liga, 18/19
Barcelona 2–0 Villarreal | La Liga, 18/19
Barcelona 5–1 Villarreal | La Liga, 17/18


Match facts

• Barcelona have won their last 10 home matches against Villarreal in all competitions.

• There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 6 of Villarreal’s last 7 games (LaLiga).

• Barcelona are undefeated in 11 of their last 12 matches (LaLiga).

• Barcelona have scored at least 2 goals in their last 10 home matches against Villarreal in all competitions. 


Team news and possible line-ups

FC Barcelona

Absences

Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Marc-André ter Stegen (Tendon), Braithwaite
Suspended: None

Possible line-up

4–2–3–1
Neto
Roberto · Piqué · Lenglet · Jordi Alba
Frenkie de Jong · Busquets
Coutinho
Messi · Griezmann · Fati
Coach: Ronald Koeman

Villarreal CF

Absences

Injured: Alberto Moreno, Ramiro Guerra, Rubén Peña, Raúl Albiol
Suspended: None

Possible line-up

4–4–2
Asenjo
Gaspar · Ramiro Funes Mori · Pau Torres · Pervis Estupiñán
Chukwueze · Coquelin · Parejo · Moi Gomes
Gerard Moreno · Paco Alcacer
Coach: Unai Emery


Predictions

Barcelona’s and Ronald Koeman’s first official game of the season is far from easy. Villarreal are a top side in the Spanish top flight, and a positive result in this game could set them in the right path. While the defence still seems precarious, the attack has improved and might be enough to get them over the line in this game. The writer’s prediction: 3-1 win for the Catalans. 

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