Preview: FC Barcelona v Osasuna

Preview: FC Barcelona v Osasuna

Sunday's fixture gives Barça the chance to get back to winning ways in the league and, in this way, honour former player, Diego Armando Maradona

Winning again in LaLiga would pay the best possible tribute to Diego Maradona, whose will be remembered before Sunday's 2.00pm CET fixture kicks off. An exalted figure of football who played for two seasons at the Camp Nou, the scene of Barça v Osasuna this Sunday. After qualifying mathematically for the second round of the Champions League with a 4-0 win at Dynamo Kyiv, the team from Pamplona are the next challenge for Ronald Koeman's team in a busy end to the year.

Ten years ago today a sublime Barça beat Real Madrid 5-0, and the hope is for another exciting match on the occasion of FC Barcelona's 121st anniversary. Barça need to get back to winning ways in order to move up the LaLiga table. In their last three games, the Blaugranes have only managed a win, a draw and a defeat, and they're up against an always combative Osasuna.

The rival

Coach: Jagoba Arrasate. It will be the seventh time that he will face FC Barcelona. The Basque coach has two wins, two draws and two defeats in his six meetings against the Blaugranes so far.

It should be noted that one of the two wins was achieved when he was in charge of Real Sociedad whilst Antoine Griezmann played there. That 3-1 txuri-urdin victory came in the 2013/14 season, when the current Barça forward was on target. However, it was not the only goal that the No.7 scored against Barça under Arrasate. He also managed a goal in the 2013/14 Copa del Rey semifinal second leg 1-1 draw.

Top scorers: Midfielder Rubén García is the top scorer with two goals. He's followed by Roncaglia, David García, Adrián López, Roberto Torres - who has scored in each of his last three games against Barça - Calleri and Budimir, all with one goal.

League position: Osasuna are currently in 14th with the same points as Barça; 11. But they have played one more game.

Current form: Osasuna arrive at the Camp Nou having not won in three games. After a 1-1 draw with Huesca, they lost 1-0 away to Sevilla and 3-1 at home to Atlético Madrid.

Changing the dynamic against this opponent

  • Barça failed to beat Osasuna last season. They drew 2-2 at El Sadar and lost 2-1 at Camp Nou.
  • Before those two setbacks, Barça had won three times in a row, scoring 17 goals and conceding only one; 7-1 at home and 3-0 away in the 2016/17 season, and 7-0 in the 2013/14 campaign.

Messi's nose for a record

Lionel Messi has 22 goals in 18 league games against Osasuna, and heading into Sunday's match, the No.10 is just three goals shy of Pelé's record of goals scored with one club. When the Argentinian gets close to a record, he has a habit of sniffing out chances and goals with incredible regularity. When better than the day the club celebrates the 121st anniversary of its foundation to make another indelible mark on the history of the game

Koeman's squad

Ronald Koeman has named his squad for the game with Osasuna on Sunday at 2.00pm CET Sunday and it’s as follows: Ter Stegen, Dest, Sergio, Aleñá, Griezmann, Pjanic, Braithwaite, Messi, O. Dembélé, Riqui Puig, Neto, Coutinho, Lenglet, Pedri, Trincao, Jordi Alba, Matheus, F. De Jong, Junior, Iñaki Peña and O. Mingueza.

That means Leo Messi and Frenkie de Jong are both back after being rested for the 4-0 win in Kyiv, and Sergio Busquets also gets the nod after being confirmed fully fit on Saturday. Sergiño Dest has been having trouble with his leg, but the coach has said it is not a serious issue and as long as they are sure there are risks entailed, then he will be available to start the game.

Koeman's says

"We analyse our opponents. We know they had a good game last season but this is a different season. Now we have a difficult game where they'll be especially strong in defence and the pace of the game will dictate how many chances we'll create to score."

"We'll decide tomorrow whether Dest is fit to play. He's had some pain but he was much better today so we'll have to wait. He trained normally and we'll wait until tomorrow to see if he is fit to play."

"Covid has meant limitations but I'm happy to be here. I put my energy into the team, but we need to win matches. We have 7 games before the end of the year and 5 are at home. The reaction has to start today."

"If I can help the club in any way, I'm ready to do so and I think it's good that the players have agreed to a salary reduction. You have to think about what's best for Barça."

"We all enjoyed his quality (Maradona). I was lucky enough to play against him. When you played against him you appreciated his quality even more. It's so sad at 60. My condolences to his family."

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