After their second league match against Real Betis, Barcelona look to be back on form, despite dealing with a number of injury troubles. This week sees Barca take a trip to the city of Pamplona to face newly-promoted side Osasuna. While the Blaugranes may be clear favorites to win the match, not everything is as easy as it seems, especially considering Osasuna’s 26-match unbeaten run at their home fortress of El Sadar. The question on everybody’s minds is, will Barca be the ones to finally penetrate the Segunda Division champions’ fortress?
Firstly, let’s consider Osasuna’s defensive record. Los Rojillos have not conceded a goal at home for over 441 minutes. The last time that they did so was back in April against Deportivo La Coruna, a match in which they still came out on top at 2-1. Furthermore, they were undefeated at home in the league for the duration of the 2018/19 season. While they conceded a total of 35 goals in the Segunda Division last season, a mere seven of these goals came at home.
Following their victory in the Segunda Division, the Northern Spanish side has also enjoyed impressive defensive showings in the Spanish top flight. They have kept clean sheets in both of their opening matches, winning 1-0 away at Leganes and drawing 0-0 at home with Eibar.
While their defensive prowess is something that Barcelona would do well to remain wary of, so too is their ability up front. In the 2018/19 league season, they scored an impressive 59 goals, the most in the Segunda Division. Of these 59 goals, 34 came from home games, meaning that Los Rojillos were scoring an average of 1.6 goals per game at El Sadar Stadium.
While they are certainly not the only La Liga side to exhibit much scoring potential up front, they are certainly unique in the way that they boast a whole host of players with a knack for finding the back of the net. Center forward Roberto Torres and winger Juan Villar both scored 12 goals apiece, while backup center forwards Brandon and Xisco also enjoyed a respectable league campaign last season, scoring five goals each.
Also important to note are Osasuna’s new signings this season. For approximately €3 million, they acquired the services of Levante attacking mid Ruben Garcia, who scored seven and made an impressive nine assists in Segunda Division last season. Also worth noting was the free transfer of former Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez from FC Porto, and Blaugranes center forward Marc Cardona, who will no doubt have insight into the going on inside the Barca dressing room. Argentine striker Chimy Avila has also arrived after a season on loan at Huesca.
While many may expect this matchday three fixture to end with a straightforward win for the visitors, Osasuna have proven themselves to be a side that should be approached with the utmost of caution, and should certainly not be underestimated come kick off.