CA Osasuna (13th, 28pts) vs FC Barcelona (2nd, 53pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Friday
Competition/Round: 2020-21 La Liga, Matchday 26
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Gerard Piqué, Ronald Araujo, Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto (out)
Osasuna Outs & Doubts: Facundo Roncaglia, Chimy Ávila (out), Darko Brasanac, Rubén Martínez, Iñigo Pérez (doubt)
Date/Time: Saturday, March 6, 2021, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Sunday)
Venue: El Sadar, Pamplona, Spain
Referee: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández
VAR: Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), LaLigaTV (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), Not Available (India), others
Following a sensational comeback over Sevilla to reach the Copa del Rey Final, Barcelona are right back in action in La Liga with a tricky away game against Osasuna in Pamplona on Saturday’s late kickoff.
After the highest of highs on Wednesday and a brutal 120-minute match, recovering physically and mentally for a match just three days later is a big challenge, especially when the opponent is in the bottom half of the table and was beaten comfortably by Barça early in the season.
But this can easily become a tough game against an Osasuna team that went 13 games without a win between November and January but is on a nice run of results, winning three of their last four to turn what seemed like a relegation fight into a somewhat comfortable situation in mid-table.
Knowing that Osasuna can pose a threat should be enough for Barça to be up for this, but there’s another huge factor this weekend: Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid face off on Sunday at the Wanda Metropolitano, and Matchday 26 could be a turning point in the title race, with Barça potentially three or even two points behind Atlético depending on the results.
With upcoming games against both teams at the end of the season, Barça could be in fantastic position to fight for what seemed like a lost title back in December, but they MUST beat Osasuna to take advantage of whatever happens Sunday. The last time Barça had a chance to get closer to the top they dropped two inexplicable points at home to Cádiz last month, and the same cannot happen here.
A weekend of good news in La Liga will also be a boost in confidence for the Champions League, with Barça traveling to France next Wednesday for the second leg against PSG. An exit is expected but a good performance to avoid humiliation and leave Europe with their heads high will be acceptable, but they can’t go into that game on the back of another huge disappointment in a crucial moment in the league.
Let’s dance. And win. And hope for a draw in Madrid.
Barcelona (3-5-2): Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Lenglet, Umtiti; Dest, De Jong, Pjanic, Puig, Firpo; Messi, Griezmann
Osasuna (4-2-3-1): Herrera; Vidal, Hernández, García, Cruz; Torró, Oier; Barja, Moncayola, García; Budimir
Osasuna will be tricky at home as they usually tend to be and are in decent form lately, so this won’t be a walk in the park. But if Koeman freshens things up and the team is up for it, we can definitely win it and do it going away: 4-1 to the good guys.