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Osasuna vs Barcelona Preview: Team news, possible lineups, marquee player, match facts & prediction

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Photo via Imago

Following a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Sevilla in La Copa del Rey, Barcelona back again on the road as they ready themselves to face an Osasuna side in some of their best form all season.


Date and Kickoff Time: 5 March; 21:00h CET
Stadium: Estadio El Sadar, Pamplona
Competition: La Liga Santander
Referee: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez

Overview

The last time Fútbol Club Barcelona and Club Atlético Osasuna faced off, the Catalans rank riot, scoring four goals, including Lionel Messi’s first from open play in dedication to Diego Armando Maradona. It was one of Barça’s best performances of the season, and the Blaugrana will now look to repeat the same level of performance away at El Sadar.

Heading into tomorrow afternoon’s game, both sides find themselves in rather similar form. Subsequent to their all inspiring 2-0 win at the Ramón Sanchez Pizjuan, the Garnet and Blue outfit booked their place in the Copa del Rey final, beating Los Nervionenses by 3 goals to nil in the Nou Camp with a sensational collective performance, which in large parts was in credit to Ronald Koeman.

The Copa performance was one to take notes from. (Photo via Imago)

Barça were, by and large, the superior side from the very onset of the tie and were rewarded for their diligence and perseverance with a 3-0 win. That win was their fifteenth from eighteen matches this calendar year, meaning that in just over two months, the Blaugrana have won more games then they did in the first four months of the season.

Osasuna come into this match on the back of possibly their best run of form this season. Ever since the turn of the year, Los Rojillos have won fifteen points from a possible, eclipsing the thirteen they won in their first fifteen games of the season. When compared to their tally on expected points, their performances line up perfectly, a true testament to how much they’ve improved of late.

What to expect from Osasuna?

Still, in a zone of relative familiarity in midtable in La Liga, Osasuna have begun the second half of the campaign in a rather encouraging manner.

They kicked off the new year with a draw against Real Sociedad, then went on a run that saw them record just one win in six. Ever since their draw against Valencia, they’ve won 12 points from a potential eighteen in a run that has seen them win four games out of six played. This was a run that saw them thump Granada by three goals to one in a quite enthralling encounter, culminated with their victory over Deportivo Alavés this past weekend.

Osasuna will be looking to recreate their performance from Camp Nou last season. (Photo via Imago)

As per expected statistics, Osasuna have the seventh-worst attack in the division, at 25 expected goals from 25 games and the tenth worst-performing defence, at a rather unimpressive 33.2xGA. In perfect parallel to their position on the table, the Andalusian outfit are twelfth on the log as per expected points. This is an easier recoverable position, as should they beat the Blaugrana tomorrow night, they will — albeit momentarily — jump to tenth on the log, leapfrogging Athletic Bilbao and Celta Vigo, who both play on Sunday.

Jagoba Arrasate’s men may well shape up in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 setup. For large parts of the game, Osasuna will look to maintain a low block, seeking to force the Catalans out wide to prevent play from progressing centrally. They are, to an extent, organized however, either due to tactical indiscipline or a lack of a lack of direction, they leave gaps from time to time which are easily exploited by their rivals.

They tend to attack down the right-wing, with 40% of their attacks being played down that flank, closely followed by the left at 38%. They do this by playing the two wide as wingers in possession, looking both to run into space as well as create it for their strikers up top. They are by no means one of La Liga’s possession heavy sides, as they average around 43% ball retention in games and with — just — a 67% pass success rate across the board.

What to expect from Barcelona?

The match against Sevilla in the cup was the perfect opportunity to show their competitive spirit, and such was the level of Barcelona’s performance that they rendered their visitors utterly powerless to their assaults. On the back of performance of such magnitude, Ronald Koeman is expected to make several key changes to his starting eleven.

Given the shape of the opponents, Koeman might revert to a 4-3-3 or possibly even a 4-2-3-1 to fill up all possible gaps within the opponents’ system. Following Gerard Piqué’s injury late into the tie against Los Nervionenses, Oscar Mingueza is due to deputise for him in the right centre back role, partnered with Clément Lenglet to his left. Despite his underwhelming performance against Sevilla, Sergiño Dest will almost certainly remain in the starting eleven.

Griezmann will be returning to the Barcelona attack for this game. (Photo via Imago)

The midfield is unlikely to change, although if it will, then it will be for Riqui Puig to take Frenkie de Jong’s place. In the final third, following Ousmane Dembélé’s injury scare, Francisco Trincão might just take back the right-wing role from his French counterpart, with Antoine Griezmann slotting in the left.

Marquee Player

Roberto Torres

One to keep an eye on. (Photo via Imago)

An absolute pain to Barcelona, former La Masia player Robert Torres played an integral part in keeping the La Liga trophy away from his former club last season. First through his brace in Pamplona, then with his heart-wrenching winner right at the death in the Camp Nou, Roberto Torres is certainly a player Barça would not want to mess with.

This season, he has scored four times and provided a further assist in his 23 games played. On expected statistics, the Spaniard has 2.63 expected goals, and 1.34 expected assists, leaving him an average of 0.28 expected goals scored or assisted per 90. Playing as an attack-minded midfielder, his final ball is his biggest strength, one Barcelona have to ensure they mitigate if they are to maintain their phenomenal start to the year.

Form

Osasuna

Previous Games: WLWWL

Deportivo Alavés 0-1 Osasuna | La Liga
Osasuna 0-2 Sevilla | La Liga
Levante 0-1 Osasuna | La Liga
Osasuna 2-1 Eibar | La Liga
Real Betis 1-0 Osasuna | La Liga

Position in La Liga

12th
28 points in 25 games
7 win, 7 draws, 11 losses
23 goals scored, 33 goals conceded
-10 goal difference

FC Barcelona 

Previous games: WWWDL

Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla | Copa Del Rey
Sevilla 0-2 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 3-0 Elche | La Liga
Barcelona 1-1 Cádiz | La Liga
Barcelona 1-4 PSG | UEFA Champions League

Position in La Liga

2nd
53 points in 25 games
16 wins, 5 draws and 4 losses
55 Goals Scored, 22 Goals Conceded
+33 Goal Difference

Head-to-head record

Previous meetings

Barcelona 4–0 Osasuna| La Liga 20/21
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

Match Facts

  • Barcelona are on a run of 15 games without defeat in La Liga.
  • Barcelona have won only one of thsir last three ties against Osasuna. 
  • Osasuna have won four of their last 6 games in La Liga. 
  • Osasuna haven’t lost to Barcelona in Pamplona since 2016. 

Team News

Osasuna

Absences

Injuries: Facundo Roncaglia, Chimy Avila
Doubts: 

Possible line-up

4-3-3

Herrera
Vidal • Aridane • D Garcia • Cruz
Torro • Oier • Moncayola
Torres • Calleri • R Garcia

Coach: Jagoba Arraste

FC Barcelona

Absences

Injured: Ansu Fati, Gerard Piqué, Ronald Araújo, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto

Possible line-up

4-2-3-1

Ter Stegen
Dest • Mingueza • Lenglet • Alba
Pedri • Busquets • Riqui Puig
Trincão • Messi • Griezmann

Coach: Ronald Koeman

Prediction

With Ousmane Dembélé’s absence, Barcelona lose what would ideally have been the key to unlocking their opponents. Matches between Barcelona and Osasuna have been rather difficult of late, but given the difference in calibre between the two sides, this should be an easy victory for the Blaugrana

Barca Universal Prediction: Osasuna 0-2 Barcelona

The beautiful game brings to all who enjoy it a plethora of emotions and my way of giving back to it is through my writing. I am here not only to share my insight on the club I hold closest to my heart but also to gain knowledge from my fellow writers.

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Match Previews

Preview: Barcelona’s strongest XI against Real Madrid

Adithya Eshwarla

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Photo via Imago

The title race is well and truly wide open. With Atletico Madrid still leaking points and Real Madrid trying to cope up with the tight schedule the Champions League brings with it, Barcelona would hope to be the favourites.

Barcelona travels to Madrid to face a team missing some big names. Sergio Ramos, Rafael Varane, Eden Hazard and Daniel Carvajal all miss out on the decisive clash. Nevertheless, if Los Blancos‘ performance against Liverpool is anything to go by, El Clasico will be a battle to remember. Meanwhile, Barcelona will once again have the services of Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto.

The result on Saturday will count for so much in the title race. In this creme-de-la-creme of clashes, here is how Barcelona could lineup against Real Madrid.

Defence

Marc Andre ter Stegen is always the first name on the list for Ronald Koeman. At the Alfredo de Stefano, the German wall will don the gloves and aim to keep the Madrid attack at bay.

Gerard Pique finds himself back in the Squad, however, it seems unlikely he will be given a start considering lack of match fitness. The three-man defence system has worked wonders for the Catalans, and Koeman will not look to change the system. A trio of Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza, and Clement Lenglet could possibly start on Saturday.

Araujo could be called in to bolster the defence. (Photo via Imago)

Oscar Mingueza has been rock solid and on a constant rise. With every passing game, the youngster’s confidence grows, and so does the performance. Meanwhile, Clement Lenglet had a tremendous game against Real Valladolid, hardly placing a foot wrong. The Frenchman finally looks to be hitting his stride. Ronald Araujo is fit and ready to start once again and will have to be the leader on the field on the night.

Midfield

The midfield is where the game will be won or lost for Barcelona. The hosts boast of one of the most fearsome trios in midfield, who reiterated their greatness against Liverpool midweek.

Up against Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, it will be crucial for Frenkie de Jong to start in midfield. The Dutchman is one of the best in the business in controlling the tempo of the midfield.

The No.21 will be accompanied by Barcelona’s veteran maestro Sergio Busquets. Busquets will account for so much of controlling the midfield. Moreover, his distribution and defensive contributions will be invaluable.

Pedri will complete the midfield alongside the others. The recently internationally capped Spaniard will have to be on the top of his game at the di Stefano. He will be the fulcrum of Barcelona’s creative outlet.

De Jong will be crucial in midfield. (Photo via Imago)

Sergino Dest did face stagnation in performance last month. In the last few games, however, there has been a resurgence. The USMNT fullback has been more lively than ever in attack and has been completing take-one for fun. It will be crucial for him to exploit the right-wing on the night.

Jordi Alba will unsurprisingly continue to start at left wing-back. With Real Madrid being weakened at right-back, Alba will have his chance on a platter to once again come up trumps.

Attack

Ousmane Dembele has often been Koeman’s go-to option as a central player in the new formation. Once again, a two-man forward line could see the Frenchman return to duties in the front line.

Lionel Messi had a relatively quiet game against Valladolid, his first one in 2021. However, he will look to step up on the biggest stage in El Clasico, as he always does. The Argentine has been at the peak of his powers this year, and he could inspire the side to another title with a great game tonight.

The main man. (Photo via Imago)

Dembele · Messi
Alba · Pedri · Busquets · de Jong · Dest
Lenglet · Araujo · Mingueza
ter Stegen

Substitutes

Antoine Griezmann, who recently welcomed his third child, will be more motivated than ever to return to his peak powers. The Frenchman undoubtedly has a celebration or two in store for the latest member of his family and will hunt for a chance to showcase it on Saturday.

Fransisco Trincao could come on for Ousmane Dembele late in the second half to bring in fresh legs. His intricate dribbling could prove invaluable on the night.

Ilaix Moriba could be utilized to ramp up the pressure in the midfield, while Riqui Puig is bound to get a few minutes as well.

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