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Five talking points from Barcelona 1-0 Osasuna

Xavi’s side are on the brink of the title

FC Barcelona v CA Osasuna - LaLiga Santander Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images

Joy for Jordi Alba

Barcelona beat Osasuna 1-0 on Tuesday to move 14 points clear at the top of the table thanks to a late winner from Jordi Alba.

The veteran had once again started on the bench for Barca, as has been the story of his season, but emerged late on and won it in the 85th minute.

It was a neat goal from Barcelona too, with Frenkie de Jong deftly heading the ball on to Alba to fire at goal and sneak the ball in at the near post.

Some wild celebrations followed from Alba too and you could see exactly what it meant to him.

The left-back has had to play second fiddle to Alejandro Balde for most of the season but stepped up when it mattered on Tuesday night.

Frenkie the main man for Barcelona

Alba may have stolen the headlines but there’s no doubt that Frenkie de Jong was Barcelona’s most influential player against Osasuna.

There’s been plenty of focus on the returns of Pedri and Ousmane Dembele after injury, but it was the Dutchman who ran the show at the Camp Nou.

De Jong was Barca’s best source of attacking inspiration and ended up with a clever assist for Alba when the pressure was really on in the dying minutes.

Xavi was quick to praise his midfield maestro after the match.

“We have found the perfect position for Frenkie de Jong. He played a great game today, he’s at an extraordinary level. He has always said he wants to stay,” he said.

“Frenkie is an extraordinary player who makes a difference when he is at the base of the midfield with Busquets.”

Barca can win the title at Espanyol

Barca may have left it late but they eventually got the job done. The Catalans then got to sit back and watch Real Madrid slip up again in a 2-0 defeat at Real Sociedad.

All of which means that Barca can win the title in their next La Liga match which just so happens to be against neighbours Espanyol on May 14.

Xavi said before the match he didn’t really care where he wins the title, he just wants to win it, but you can imagine being crowned champions in Cornella will taste very sweet indeed.

It promises to be some game too, with Espanyol currently fighting for their La Liga lives at the bottom of the table, meaning a win for Barca could also help relegate the Parakeets.

Barca win 1-0 for the 11th time

Barcelona may have beaten Osasuna but there’s no doubt the Catalans made hard work of it. The early red card didn’t really help and Barca didn’t manage a single shot on target in the first half.

There were certainly chances for the hosts but Barca were guilty of missing some really good openings. Frenkie de Jong, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele somehow spurned great chances, while Robert Lewandowski saw an effort harshly ruled out for an offside by Ferran Torres.

Ansu Fati came on early after Gavi had picked up a knock and managed six shots on goal but just one on target which left Xavi a frustrated man.

“We suffered too much. We missed too many clear chances. Osasuna defended well but in the end we got the goal through Jordi,” he said afterwards. “It almost tastes better to win like this sometimes. The team showed hunger, but the goal should have arrived earlier.”

All of which meant it was left to Alba to finally pop up with the winner with his first La Liga goal as a substitute for Barcelona. It may not be the last.

Records everywhere for Ter Stegen

Xavi won’t like Barca’s struggles in attack but he will love seeing his team keep yet another clean sheet in Spain’s top flight.

Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has already broken Barcelona’s clean sheet record this season and is now on the verge of making more history.

The German will become the goalkeeper with the most shut-outs in La Liga (and several other big European leagues) if he keeps one more in his next five games.

Tuesday’s match was another landmark for Ter Stegen. The German was making his 250th appearance for the club, the fourth most in Barca’s history in his position, and was tested by Osasuna.

Iker Munoz had perhaps Osasuna’s best chance with a fierce low effort that Ter Stegen managed to turn around the post.

According to Mister Chip, that makes him the first goalkeeper to keep 15 clean sheets at home in the entire history of La Liga. Wow.

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