After an impressive performance in midweek, Barcelona will be looking to carry that momentum forward when they take on Osasuna in La Liga on Sunday.

Barcelona will be aiming to get back to winning ways in La Liga when they play hosts to CA Osasuna at Camp Nou in matchweek 11 of the 2020/21 campaign on Sunday afternoon.

Having played eight games so far, Barcelona find themselves stationed in the 13th position in the table, with just 11 points on board. It is their worst start to a league campaign since 1991/92, with pressure mounting after the 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid last week. However, the 4-0 win against Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League will have come as a confidence booster for Ronald Koeman & co. heading into Sunday’s fixture.

Osasuna, meanwhile, are level on points with Barcelona, but a place below them in the standings owing to a poorer goal difference. Los Rojillos are without a win in their last three league outings, playing out a 1-1 draw against Huesca in their most recent fixture. But given the Blaugrana’s domestic struggles this term, Jagoba Arrasate’s men will be hoping to come away with at least a point from Camp Nou.

Osasuna will draw confidence from the fact that they had beaten Barcelona 1-2 on their last visit to Camp Nou in the 2019/20 season courtesy a late Roberto Torres winner after Lionel Messi had cancelled out Jose Arnaiz’s strike. And ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Barcelona

Lionel Messi should be back for Barcelona after getting a rest in midweek (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi should be back for Barcelona after getting a rest in midweek (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Barcelona have been hit with another fresh injury concern as summer signing Sergino Dest is a major doubt for the game with some muscular discomfort. The Catalans are already without Gerard Pique and Ansu Fati, both of whom are long-term absentees, while Samuel Umtiti, Sergi Roberto and Ronald Araujo are also unavailable.

There is some positive news, though, with Sergio Busquets returning to training this week, having recovered from a knee problem. Having fielded a much-changed side for the midweek game against Dynamo Kyiv, Koeman is expected to recall his regulars to the starting XI on Sunday.

There is no looking past Marc-Andre ter Stegen for the starting berth between the goalposts for Barcelona. The defence poses a selection dilemma for the manager, more so with Dest getting injured. This could force academy man Oscar Mingueza, who made his first-team debut at centre-back in midweek, to start on the right side of the defence.

On the left side, Jordi Alba should be back into the lineup, after being rested in the Champions League fixture. Clement Lenglet is a certain starter at the heart of the Barcelona defence and could likely be partnered by Frenkie de Jong here, given the lack of options at the manager’s disposal.

In spite of Busquets’s return, he is likely to be eased back into action, meaning Miralem Pjanic should start again in the midfield double pivot alongside Carles Alena, who made quite the impression against Dynamo Kyiv. Captain Lionel Messi will take up the No. 10 role after being rested in midweek and act as the creator-in-chief for the hosts.

Ousmane Dembele, who remains firmly on the radars of Manchester United, should get the nod on the right flank while Philippe Coutinho should continue on the left. Antoine Griezmann, who came off the bench and scored in midweek, should spearhead the attack, although Martin Braithwaite, who scored a double in the Champions League game, will be pushing for a start.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): ter Stegen; Mingueza, Lenglet, de Jong, Alba; Pjanic, Alena; Dembele, Messi, Coutinho; Griezmann

CA Osasuna

Like Barcelona, Osasuna also have plenty of roster issues to deal with heading into Sunday’s game. The visitors will be without the services of Adrian Lopez, Chimy Avila, Juan Perez and Jonathan Calleri, who are out injured, while David Garcia misses out as he has been forced into isolation after coming into contact with a coronavirus positive case.

Lucas Torro and Aridane Hernandez took part in some training sessions earlier this week, but Sunday’s game has come too soon for the former, while the latter makes the cut for the 20-man squad. Arrasate has set his team up in a 4-4-2 formation this season but could revert to a three-man backline that worked a treat when they last faced Barcelona in July earlier this year.

This could see Unai Garcia pair up with Raul Navas and Facundo Roncaglia in the three-man central defensive partnership that will shield Sergio Herrera in goal. Nacho Vidal ought to start as the right-sided wing-back while Juan Cruz slots in on the left. They will be in charge of providing the width during the attacking phases for Osasuna.

Club captain Oier will slot in as the defensive midfielder and look to curb the influence of his opposite number Lionel Messi, although that will be easier said than done. He will have support from Jon Moncayola and Inigo Perez in the centre of the park.

Up top, the strike partnership of Ruben Garcia and Ante Budimir is expected to remain intact, with the likes of Enric Gallego providing an option from the bench.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Herrera; Roncaglia, Unai Garcia, Navas; Vidal, Moncayola, Oier, Perez, Cruz; Ruben Garcia, Budimir

Key Stats

  • Barcelona have failed to pick up a victory against Osasuna in their last two La Liga meetings (D1 L1) after having won the three before that, in which they plundered 17 goals while letting in just one.
  • Osasuna have conceded 112 away goals against Barcelona in their La Liga history, more than against any other opponent in the competition.
  • Barcelona have lost two of their last five homes games in La Liga (W2 D1), as many as they had in their previous 77 league outings at Camp Nou (W64 D11).
  • Osasuna have failed to win any of their last three away fixtures in La Liga (D1 L2). They haven’t been able to find the back of the net in any of those fixtures.
  • Barcelona have picked up just one victory in their last six La Liga encounters (D2 L3).

Player to Watch

Oscar Mingueza

From playing for the Barcelona B team to starting a Champions League game, it has been quite a memorable week for 21-year-old Oscar Mingueza. A product of the club’s La Masia youth academy, the defender has grown through the ranks, making quite the impression at every age-group level.

Having been thrust onto the biggest stage of them all, the Spaniard held his own against Dynamo Kyiv in midweek. And, he is likely to be asked to step up once again on Sunday as Barcelona’s injury woes continue to mount. With Dest a doubt, the young centre-back could be asked to fill in at right-back when Osasuna come visiting.

While he impressed with his ball-playing capabilities and distribution from the back in midweek, it will be interesting to see how he will adapt to playing as a full-back. A big game beckons the youngster.

Prediction

Barcelona 2-1 CA Osasuna

Barcelona have been highly inconsistent in La Liga so far this season even though their results in Europe are showing the quality that they possess. And, the midweek performance against Dynamo Kyiv, without a number of star players, will have served as a major confidence-booster to the entire squad.

Osasuna made a decent start to the season, but have tailed off in recent weeks, winning just once in their last five league matches. The Rojillos were able to bag a huge upset win against the Catalans last time they visited Camp Nou, and considering that they will be taking on a patched-up defence, will fancy their chances to get at least a goal.

However, with things starting to click for Koeman’s side in the final third, coupled with Lionel Messi’s return after a deserved rest, Barcelona should be able to pick up the three points on Sunday.

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