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Osasuna vs Barcelona; 2016 La Liga: Match Preview, Predictions

Barcelona kick off Saturday’s La Liga action with a game away in Pamplona.

FC Barcelona v Malaga CF - La Liga Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

After the fanfare and drama of El Clásico last weekend, Barcelona return to a normal match day in La Liga. They face a trip away to the side that currently sits bottom in the table and are enduring a terrible run of form, Osasuna. Manager Joaquín Caparrós only joined the side in November but as of yet has failed to avoid defeat in any of his games, in fact the last point they earned was back in October.

Luis Enrique meanwhile will be hoping to pick up a much needed win after drawing the last three matches in the league. The early kick off of 13:00 CET means Barcelona can apply some pressure on Real Madrid with the league leaders playing later in the day.

TEAM NEWS

BARCELONA

Having sat out Tuesday’s Champions League tie, Gerard Piqué is expected to make his return to the starting XI along with Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto. There are questions over who will partner Piqué in the centre and whether it will be Javier Mascherano or Samuel Umtiti but I expect Enrique will plump for the former.

Andrés Iniesta started his first game since his return from injury midweek and played an hour with relative ease. He will be hoping to regain his full fitness and I expect him to start this game as well. He could possibly go the full 90 if needed but you doubt Enrique would risk that if the game was already won. Ivan Rakitić and Sergio Busquets will also return to the starting XI to make up the midfield three.

Up front, Neymar is suspended having picked up his fifth yellow of the season in the Clásico. Arda Turan impressed midweek by grabbing his first hat trick for the club so it may be a little harsh not to start him in this game. Lionel Messi and a returning Luis Suárez will complete the attack.

OSASUNA

Javier Flaño and Didier Digard remain long term injuries for the Pamplona side but other than them it is a clean bill of health and no suspensions for Caparrós to choose from.

FORM GUIDE (most recent first)

Barcelona: WDDDW

Osasuna: LLLLD

POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Roberto, Mascherano, Piqué, Alba; Busquets, Iniesta; Rakitić, Messi, Arda, Suárez

Osasuna (4-4-2): Nauzet; Oier, M. Flaño, Márquez, Clerc; Torres, Causic, Garcia, Cuevas; Riera, Kodro

SCORE PREDICTION

Barcelona’s away from has been good of late and Osasuna’a overall form has not been so I’m going for a 3-0 away win. Messi to get a brace.