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With little time to reflect on the 0-0 draw at home to Galatasaray in the Europa League, FC Barcelona go straight back out onto the Camp Nou pitch on Sunday (9.00pm CET) for a Liga fixture at home to Osasuna.
Thursday’s performance may have fallen short of the high standards that we had come to expect of the blaugrana in recent weeks, and it’s left a big job to be done in Istanbul next week, but Xavi insists it won’t change his approach to the Osasuna game, where three points would keep Barça in third place in the table and increase the pressure on second-placed Sevilla, who face a tricky trip to Rayo Vallecano on Sunday (2.00pm CET).
Thanks to a 2-1 defeat of Cádiz on Friday, Atlético Madrid have hopefully only temporarily moved ahead of Barça.
Today’s visitors from Pamplona (Navarra) started 2021/22 in fine fashion and were fifth after nine games. However, they followed that with ten games without a single win and nose-dived to mid-table. Things have picked up since January, but they are still well out of the hunt for European places.
Players to watch: David García, Jon Moncayola, Rubén García, Nacho Vidal, Chimy Ávila.
Coach: Jagoba Arrasate
Top scorer: Kike García (5)
Head to head
Barça have had some extraordinary victories against Osasuna at Camp Nou in recent times, including huge 8-0, 7-0 and 7-1 wins. There were no flies on last season’s 4-0 win either, with goals from Martin Braithwaite, Leo Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann.
There have also been mishaps against the Navarrans, but these have usually happened at El Sadar, although Barça suffered a highly unexpected 2-1 home defeat to them in 2020.
12/12/21 Osasuna 2-2 Barça
06/03/21 Osasuna 0-2 Barça
29/11/20 Barça 4-0 Osasuna
16/07/20 Barça 1-2 Osasuna
31/08/19 Osasuna 2-2 Barça
Dani Alves and Gavi are back after missing the game with Galatasaray, the former due to ineligibility and the latter due to suspension.
Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti remain injured while Nico is suspended.
"Osasuna can adapt to different systems, a four or five man defence, they press or sit back, use the wings, go for it direct, they have a lot of resources. It won’t be easy because they are intense and aggressive and don’t let in many goals. And they’ll be more confident after beating Villarreal."
“Ronald Araujo is the player who has improved most since I’ve been here. But he doesn’t always find the best solutions because he didn’t grew up here, he was signed in by Barça B.”
“I’m not thinking about Galatasaray. We dropped points at El Sadar. I can’t afford to think any further than that … We do need to change things after Galatasaray, but we have to realise their goalkeeper was exceptional. But I have solutions for when we play teams that shut up shop at the back.”
Did you know?
Barça are unbeaten in 11 league games and the 2-1 defeat against Elche completed the first run of three consecutive Liga wins this season.
Osasuna have kept five clean sheets in their last ten games. But they have also failed to score in seven of their last ten games away from home.
21 different players have scored for Barça this season. One more name on the lost and they’d set a new record in La Liga this century.
There’s a good chance of headed goals in this game. Barça have scored the most goals from headers this season (11, four of them by Luuk de Jong) and Osasuna have the highest percentage of all goals scored (31%).
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