FC Barcelona (1st, 79pts) vs CA Osasuna (9th, 44pts)
Competition/Round: 2022-23 La Liga, Matchday 33
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Sergi Roberto (out)
Osasuna Outs & Doubts: Darko Brasanac, Jon Moncayola, Ez Abde (out), David García (doubt)
Date/Time: Tuesday, May 2, 2023, 7.30pm CET (Barcelona), 6.30pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 1.30pm ET, 10.30am PT (USA), 11pm IST (India)
Venue: Spotify Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Javier Iglesias Villanueva
VAR: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea
How to watch on TV: ESPN Deportes (USA), Viaplay Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), Sports18 (India), Not Available (Canada, Spain), others
How to watch online: ESPN+ (USA), LaLigaTV (UK), DAZN (Spain), others
Following a dominant win over Real Betis at the weekend, Barcelona have no time to rest and return to action on Tuesday evening in Catalonia when they welcome Osasuna to the Greatest Stadium on Earth for another La Liga match.
Barça come into this one having erased any doubt of their title chances after their win on Saturday, and with six games to go and an 11-point lead at the top of the table it is simply about when, not if, they’ll clinch the championship.
A win on Tuesday will momentarily put them 14 points clear of Real Madrid who play immediately after Barça, at Anoeta, against a brutal Real Sociedad team. If Los Blancos don’t get the win, the Catalans could mathematically end the race 12 days from now in the crosstown derby against Espanyol at Cornellà, which would be a beautiful way to officially achieve league glory after four long years.
But that scenario cannot become a reality if Barça don’t do their part first. Consistency has been an issue ever since the key injuries started piling up in February, and the Catalans have yet to play two good games in a row since the international break.
This will be their fourth match in 10 days, but Xavi Hernández has a healthy squad available again and can rotate his team to have a fresh side capable of putting together 90 excellent minutes for the second game in a row.
Even if they do play well again, however, getting the win won’t be easy. Osasuna have been one of this season’s most pleasant surprises, and while they don’t have a realistic shot at European football at this point they are still a talented, well-coached team that works hard without the ball and knows exactly what to do with it.
They’ll play the biggest match in their history in the Copa del Rey Final against Real Madrid this weekend looking for their first-ever major trophy, and they’re looking at this trip to Camp Nou as the perfect opportunity to face a high-level opponent just days before what could be a legendary night for this small, yet proud club.
Their manager, Jagoba Arrasate, has hinted that he won’t go with his strongest side to preserve his most important players for the Cup Final, but he’s challenged the reserves who will get a chance against Barça to earn minutes against Madrid with a great performance at Camp Nou.
So even if they are weakened from a talent standpoint, Osasuna will still be very hungry and very well prepared to make life as difficult as possible for the Blaugrana. Barça cannot take this one for granted and must be serious and professional from the jump, expecting a tough challenge and rising to the occasion to get another win and play well again.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Balde, Kounde, Christensen, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, De Jong; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Fati
Osasuna (4-2-3-1): Herrera; Vidal, García, Cruz, Sánchez; Benito, Muñoz; Barja, Ibáñez, García; Budimir
Barça are coming off a great night and will likely face a weakened team that isn’t fully focused on them, but Osasuna are still very well coached and the players who do get minutes on Tuesday will try to earn a chance to play in the Final, so this won’t be easy. But I’m still betting on the good guys to get the job done: 3-1 Barça.