Barcelona will be aiming to get back to winning ways when they face off against Osasuna at Camp Nou in La Liga this weekend.
Following their midweek disappointment in Europe, Barcelona will be gunning to reclaim the third spot in the 2021/22 La Liga standings when they play hosts to CA Osasuna at Camp Nou on Sunday night.
After stringing together a run of four wins in all competitions, Barcelona saw their streak come to a halt on Thursday night when they were held to a goalless draw by Galatasaray in the UEFA Europa League. It was a second unconvincing performance in a row after the Catalans had eked out a narrow 2-1 comeback win over Elche in La Liga last weekend.
With Atletico Madrid winning their fixture on Friday night, Barcelona have dropped down to fourth place in the standings and will need a victory this weekend to reclaim their spot. Standing in their way will be an Osasuna side who beat Villarreal 1-0 last time out, after losing their previous two games against Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid.
Jagoba Arrasate’s side are 11th in the league standings and will be aiming to finish in the top half of the table. Los Rojillos will need to string together a run of positive results for that to happen. Osasuna held Barcelona to a 2-2 draw the last time they clashed in December last year.
Team News & Tactics
? Xavi: "Our goal is to win the three points. We are not thinking about any other game. Our focus is on #BarçaOsasuna" pic.twitter.com/b6HsvHaWXn
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 12, 2022
Barcelona will be without Ansu Fati, Samuel Umtiti and Sergi Roberto, who miss out due to injuries. In addition, midfielder Nico Gonzalez misses out due to suspension. However, Dani Alves, who was ineligible to feature in the Europa League and Gavi, who was suspended against Galatasaray, are back in the squad for the game against Osasuna.
A few changes could be made to the lineup that started on Thursday in the European tie. No alteration will be made in goal, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen set to start. Dani Alves and Jordi Alba should slot in as the full-backs on the right and left sides respectively.
Ronald Araujo could be benched to avoid the risk of him being suspended ahead of the next week’s El Clasico. So Gerard Pique could pair up with Eric Garcia at the heart of the Barcelona defence.
Sergio Busquets ought to return to the starting XI, slotting in at the base of the midfield, from where he will look to provide the control for his team. Frenkie de Jong will provide defensive support when needed while making forward runs to get into goalscoring positions. Pedri could be given a breather by Xavi ahead of the two vital fixtures coming up next week. The returning Gavi should replace him.
After being benched in the midweek clash, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ought to return as the centre-forward. Out wide, Adama Traore and Ferran Torres are likely to get the nod, with Memphis Depay dropping out. Ousmane Dembele will again be an option from the bench for the Catalans.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Alves, Pique, Garcia, Alba; de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Adama, Aubameyang, Torres
Osasuna manager Jagoba Arrasate will again be without Jesus Areso, who is still recovering from an injury. Meanwhile, Chimy Avila also misses out due to suspension for accumulating yellow cards. The visitors are likely to set up in a 4-4-2 formation at Camp Nou with Sergio Herrera lining up between the sticks.
? CONVOCATORIA | Jagoba Arrasate cita a 23 jugadores para el encuentro ante el @FCBarcelona_es.#BarçaOsasuna
— C. A. OSASUNA (@CAOsasuna) March 12, 2022
Nacho Vidal and Manu Sanchez ought to occupy the full-back slots for Osasuna. The duo will spend most of the time staying compact alongside the two centre-backs Juan Cruz and David Garcia.
Lucas Torro will be in charge of holding the fort in the middle of the park and keeping a close watch on the productivity of Gavi. He will have support from Jon Moncayola, who will also drive the team forward when in possession. The threat from the wide areas ought to come from Roberto Torres and Ruben Garcia, with Javi Martinez making way for Torres.
Up top, Kike Garcia, who is Osasuna’s top scorer in La Liga with five goals, is a guaranteed starter against Barcelona. With Avila unavailable, Ante Budimir is expected to get the nod on Sunday night.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Herrera; Vidal, D. Garcia, Cruz, Sanchez; Torres, Moncayola, Torro, R. Garcia; K. Garcia, Budimir
- Barcelona have won 11 of their last 13 home La Liga games against Osasuna (L2), scoring a total of 46 goals in those matches.
- Osasuna have avoided defeat in three of their last five meetings with Barcelona in La Liga.
- Barcelona have won their last three La Liga games – their best run in the competition since winning six in a row between February and April 2021 under Ronald Koeman.
- Osasuna have won just two of their last nine La Liga away matches (D2 L5), failing to score in seven of them.
- With Ferran Torres’ goal against Elche, Barcelona now have 21 different goalscorers in La Liga this season. It is the most for any team in Europe’s big five leagues in the 2021/22 season.
Player to Watch
Ferran Torres has been almost perfect in everything in recent games bar the finishing. Once his finishing form returns, he will be unstoppable! ? pic.twitter.com/Cqw6Ey98fI
— Barça Buzz (@Barca_Buzz) March 6, 2022
The 22-year-old January signing has made a decent start to life at Barcelona, scoring three goals and assisting three more in 11 matches. However, Ferran Torres has come under some pressure of late for his poor finishing, which has hurt the Catalans in recent outings.
He has shown his ability to get into dangerous positions regularly. But the Spanish international needs to polish his finishing skills and become more clinical in and around the box if he is to take his game to the next level and become an indispensable member of this Barcelona unit for years to come.
Barcelona 2-1 Osasuna
Barcelona enjoyed a fine run of form over the past three weeks or so, but the last couple of games have put their problems in front of goal under the spotlight again. Despite creating chances, the Catalans are failing to put them away consistently, which needs to change – especially against a defensively resolute side like Osasuna.
But the collective form of Adama Traore, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Frenkie de Jong should help the Blaugrana get over the line, with another narrow victory on the cards for Xavi Hernandez’s side on Sunday.
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