FC Barcelona will be hoping to maintain their lead at the top of La Liga and capitalize on their crucial El Clásico victory when they welcome relegation candidates Osasuna to Camp Nou on Wednesday. The Catalans will play before their rivals, and if Barça win they'll open up a three-point gap over second-place Real Madrid, who travel to Deportivo La Coruña also on Wednesday.
With five games left to play this season, Barça have the title almost in their hands. While Madrid do have a game in hand, the Blaugrana have the advantage in the head-to-head record between the two leaders, and if Los Blancos lose any of their remaining six league fixtures, the title will be Barça's with five wins in the final five games.
Luis Enrique has urged his team to not shoot themselves in the foot against Osasuna. It's quite easy to imagine that Barça have already won this game given they just won the Clásico and Osasuna is literally the worst team in Spain and will be relegated with a loss at Camp Nou, but that mindset is very dangerous and the Catalan giants could waste their win in Madrid if they don't follow that up with a big result at home.
The leaders have a comfortable run-in until the end of the season and will be favorites to win all five matches and put pressure on Real every week. There's a huge chance Barça will win the title, but they need to do their job and not take any game for granted, especially this one on Wednesday.
Be focused, play seriously, play well, win. That's the job to do. Can Barça complete it?
After very tough matches against Juventus and Real Madrid in the last 7 days using virtually the same team, Luis Enrique will certainly make rotations for the last time as Barça manager. After this match, the final four league games and the Copa del Rey Final will take place over the next five weekends, so there'll be no reason to rotate then. Against Osasuna with tired players, though, rotations are a necessity, but they need to be smart.
Andrés Iniesta is most definitely not going to play, and he might not even make the bench in this one. Gerard Piqué is also a big candidate for a day off, and both full-backs, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto, could also be given at least 60 minutes to rest and come on in the second half. Neymar is still unavailable having to serve the final game of his suspension, so Paco Alcácer and Arda Turan fight for a place on the team. There's a chance both play, though, as Luis Suárez could get a rest. Lionel Messi will play, because of course Lionel Messi will play.
Up to ten players could miss the trip to Camp Nou because of injury, and a desperate situation has become even worse for Osasuna. The team has picked up important results over the last few weeks, however, and their counter-attacking prowess could cause Barça problems.
The team is doomed to go down and tired from playing basically the same team thanks to so many injuries, and with an awful record at Camp Nou, they have very little chance to win at Camp Nou. But they'll trust top scorer Sergio León to give them something, and every team has a chance in football. Barça have dropped quite a few points to relegation candidates this season, and Osasuna could be the latest team to get a famous result on Barça's home.
Barcelona (4-3-1-2): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Mascherano, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Gomes; Messi; Suárez, Alcácer
Osasuna (5-3-2): Sirigu; Buñuel, Oier, Márquez, Fuentes, Clerc; Fausto, Torres, Causic; León, Kodro
Barça's total score in their last 5 matches against Osasuna at the Camp Nou is 24-1. Yeah. 4-0 Barça.