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Three talking points from Barcelona 1-0 Osasuna



Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Three hard-fought points at Spotify Camp Nou against a relentless Osasuna helped Barcelona get within touching distance of the La Liga title on Tuesday night.

The Catalans were made to toil and struggle against the Copa del Rey finalists who battled against the tide with ten men for more than an hour. It was not enough, however, as a Jordi Alba goal late in the game rescued the league leaders.

The Kings of 1-0 wins this season recorded yet another victory with the narrow scoreline with a clean sheet added to their tally.

Barça Universal brings you three talking points from Barcelona 1-0 Osasuna.

1. Osasuna’s impenetrable defence

Osasuna have lost more games in La Liga this season than they have won. However, the standings do not reveal the full picture of the Pamplona-based side’s ability.

The fact that Jagoba Arrasate’s men are in the final of the Copa del Rey gives a more realistic estimation of their quality. On their day, Osasuna can be one of La Liga’s most dreaded sides to face.

Their performance on Tuesday at Spotify Camp Nou was more of the same. Facing the league leaders, Arrasate’s men had no fear in backing themselves defensively even with the odds against them.

Jorge Herrando’s sending-off early in the game left the visitors with just ten men on the field. Though more than an hour was left to play, it did not seem to perturb Osasuna.

Barcelona’s relentless attacks and 77% possession came to nothing against the resilient backline. If not Aitor Fernandez’s outstretched save, it was Unai Garcia’s block or Diego Moreno’s interception that broke the Catalans’ attack.

From substitutions to changes in formation, Xavi Hernandez tried it all against Osasuna but could not capitalise on the numerical advantage. The visitors, it appeared, hunted and defended like a pack.

The Blaugranas had three big chances missed, hit the woodwork once, 21 futile shots including 14 from inside the box in addition to a lethal counterattack. Only a moment of magic from Jordi Alba late in the second half broke the deadlock and helped Xavi’s side take all three points.

2. The Ansu Fati the world needs

Ansu Fati showed glimpses of quality. (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

Some players shone, others bit the dust with rusty performances against Osasuna. However, Ansu Fati was the one who stole the limelight.

The youngster did not have the privilege of starting on the night. He only arrived on the field as a substitute for Gavi who suffered a minor injury in the first half. His performance, however, was noteworthy.

Fati started his game slowly with a couple of good combinations coupled with intent. He struck up a solid rapport with Alejandro Balde and dominated Osasuna’s Diego Moreno.

His confidence visibly grew as the game progressed and he looked far cleaner with his movements and touches in the second half. Fati was a constant threat down the left wing through his crosses if not his shots.

In 54 minutes on the field, the La Masia graduate recorded two key passes and completed over 75% of his passes. He had three shots blocked on the night in addition to two off-target and one on-target. Further, Fati completed all his attempted dribbles and created one big chance.

The talent is very much there and there is little doubt that the youngster will come good one day in the foreseeable future. With reports of his sale doing the rounds in the media, could his performance against Osasuna force Joan Laporta into a rethink? Only time will tell.

3. The golden derby

The win over Osasuna takes Barcelona to 82 points in the league standings. Real Madrid’s defeat to Real Sociedad last night, meanwhile, leaves Los Blancos on 68 points and Atletico Madrid can overtake them with a win over Cadiz.

The highest tally a team other than Barcelona can record in the title race is, thus, now Atletico Madrid. If Los Rojiblancos win all of their remaining six games, they will move to 84 points as the guaranteed second-spot holders.

Barcelona already have 82 points in the bag. The men in garnet-and-blue thus need only three points to mathematically seal the league title. They have five more games to get the three points but all eyes will be on the Catalan Derby on 14th May which will be the first of the five.

The Catalan derby has been one of the most heated fixtures in Spanish football for several decades now. To win the title against Espanyol, at the RCDE Stadium, would thus be a special result for several Barcelona players.

Barcelona will certainly be crowned La Liga champions this season. The only question is – can they do it in style in the next game?

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