Barcelona will face off against Osasuna in the Spanish Super Cup at the Al-Awwal Park Stadium on Thursday evening.
This competition used to be played between the winner of La Liga and Copa del Rey, however, the format has now been changed. The Spanish Super Cup has now been played between four teams in a knockout format. The winner and the runner-up of La Liga and the Copa del Rey from the previous campaign qualify for this tournament.
This competition has been played in Saudi Arabia in recent times and it will be the same this time around as well. The Blaugrana are the current champions of this tournament.
Barcelona didn’t have a great time before the winter break but after returning to action they have won their back-to-back games in all competitions. The latest was a 3-2 win over Barbastro in the Copa del Rey at the weekend. Xavi Hernandez’s side are currently third in the league table with 41 points from 19 games, sitting seven points behind the table topper Real Madrid.
On the other hand, Osasuna haven’t had a great first half of this term, sitting in mid-table with 22 points from 19 games. However, Jagoba Arrasate’s side will be hoping to display a promising performance in this fixture and defeat Barcelona.
Barcelona have been dominant against Osasuna in recent years as they are unbeaten against them in the last seven games, winning six of those. So, it is going to be interesting to see whether Arrasate’s side can improve their record against the Catalan giants on Thursday evening.
How to watch
The game will kick off at 7 pm GMT time and UK fans will be able to watch the match on Viaplay Sports 1 and La Liga TV.
Those who’d prefer to attend the game and watch all the action in person can buy Barcelona vs Osasuna tickets through official club channels and via reputable reselling sites.
Barcelona currently have a long list of injury absentees as Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Marcos Alonso are likely to remain sidelined for this encounter owing to their respective problems. In addition, Gavi has been ruled out for the rest of this season after sustaining a serious knee issue so he isn’t in contention to feature in this encounter.
Joao Cancelo was sidelined in the previous game due to an injury but Xavi has said that there is a chance he could feature in this competition. So, it remains to be seen whether the Portuguese can recover in time to play in the Super Cup.
Inigo Martinez sustained an injury in the last game so he is in doubt ahead of this encounter, while Pedri could miss out on this game owing to a muscle issue.
For Osasuna, Chimy Avila hasn’t travelled with the squad to the Middle East to play in this competition due to an injury problem. So, he isn’t in contention to feature in this fixture.
But, the good news for Arrasate’s side is that Unai Garcia and Johan Mojica could return to the matchday squad after recovering from their respective problems.
Xavi is likely to go with the 4-3-3 formation with Inaki Pena in goal. Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen could be the defensive pairing for the Blaugrana, while Alejandro Balde and Jules Kounde might be the fullbacks.
Ilkay Gundogan should commence in the holding midfield position and alongside the German, Frenkie de Jong may start in the engine room, pushing Sergio Roberto in the attacking midfield position.
Robert Lewandowski is expected to be in the centre-forward role, while on either side of the Polish, Joao Félix and Raphinha could start. So, Ferran Torres and Lamine Yamal could be among the substitutes alongside Vitor Roque.
Expected Barcelona line-up vs Osasuna
Peña; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; Roberto, Gundogan, De Jong; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Felix
As for Osasuna, Arrasate likes to deploy the 4-2-3-1 system and it’s likely to be the same in this fixture. Sergio Herrera could be in goal for Los Rojillos, while Alejandro Catena and David Garcia might be the centre-back pairing. Jesus Areso and Ruben Pena are likely to be the fullbacks.
Jon Moncayola, Iker Munoz and Aimar Oroz should be in the engine room, while Moi Gomez, Ante Budimir and Jose Manuel Arnaiz might be the front three for Osasuna.
Expected Osasuna line-up vs Barcelona
Herrera; Areso, Catena, Garcia, Pena; Moncayola, Munoz, Oroz; Gomez, Budimir, Arnaiz
Lewandowski is the main goal-scorer of Barcelona. Although he hasn’t been at his best in recent weeks, he possesses the qualities to score goals in any situation. So, Osasuna need to keep him in close attention to come away with a victory from this fixture.
Raphinha and Felix are the two create wide players so the onus will be on them to create opportunities for Lewandowski and finish those off if they get any.
Roberto would need to perform at his best in this fixture as this could be a glorious opportunity for him to secure his place in Xavi Hernandez’s starting eleven amid the absence of Gavi and Pedri.
Barcelona’s backline was their main foundation in winning the La Liga title last term but they have struggled to keep clean-sheets this season. So, they will have to be at their best in this fixture to help the Blaugrana win this fixture and progress through to the final.
As for Osasuna, they will have to play a perfect game to come away victorious from this fixture. The forwards need to be clinical in front of the goal to help Arrasate’s side overcome Barcelona’s challenge.
The backline will have to stay solid to repel opposition attacks in order to keep a clean-sheet, while Los Rojillos goalkeeper, Herrera, will need to be at the top of his game on Thursday night to stop Barcelona from finding the back of the net.
Although Barcelona aren’t at their best this season, they are the heavy favourite to win this game. Given the match is set to be played on a neutral ground, the majority support is likely to be for the Blaugrana. So, this could be beneficial for the Catalan giants.
Osasuna have had a tough first half of this season and it is going to be very difficult for them to come away victorious from this game. However, Barcelona tend to give up opportunities so if Los Rojillos can keep their defence tight and be clinical in front of the goal then there is a chance for them to win this game. However, they have only scored 22 goals in 19 games in La Liga so it is apparent that Osasuna lack quality in front of the goal.
It doesn’t look likely that Osasuna will be able to defeat Xavi Hernandez’s side so the Catalan giants may eventually win this game comfortably. However, it is going to be interesting to see how the game eventually unfolds on Tuesday evening. Barcelona 3-1 Osasuna
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