Alexis Sánchez, l'any passat a Pamplona. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
On February 11th 2011, Barça were beaten 3-2 by Osasuna , a result which severely dented Guardiola’s team’s efforts to retain theIr La Liga title. This season the visit to the Reyno de Navarra has come early and if the team suffered from the cold last February, this time round it’ll be the heat of the Navarran summer and the traditional fiery atmosphere that will threaten Barça. As Tito made clear in his press conference on Saturday – this is a very tricky trip.
Osasuna are traditionally an uncomfortable opponent for Barça and with the game falling between the two legs of the Spanish Super Cup, with all the effort the players put in on Thursday night, this is an awkward game for what is Barça’s first away trip of the season.
Tito Vilanova has called up 20 players for the game, including new signing Alex Song, who could make his debut; - all his available first team squad players except for Afellay, Fontàs and Dos Santos, plus B team youngster Tello.
Changes at Osasuna
After a great start to the league campaign with a 5-1 win over Real Sociedad last week, Barça followed that up with a 3-2 win over Real Madrid on Thursday, whilst Osasuna lost their opening league match in La Coruña, 2-0 against Deportivo. Osasuna lost a number of key figures in the summer – including Raúl García, Nekounam or Ibrahima, but Mendilibar has brought in some exciting reinforcements in Arribas (Rayo), Sisi (Valladolid), Joseba Llorente (Real Sociedad) and Nano, and they are sure to give Barça plenty of problems in what is their opening game at the Reyno de Navarra this season.