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How will Barcelona line up against Osasuna?

Barça travel to El Sadar for their final game before the World Cup

FC Barcelona - UD Almeria - La Liga Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Barcelona will look for a strong finish to the first half of their season as they travel to Pamplona for some midweek La Liga action against Osasuna at El Sadar on Tuesday night in what will be Barça’s final game before the break for the World Cup.

Because they are part of the four-team lineup for the Spanish Super Cup, Barça have been given a bye in the Copa del Rey round that will be played this weekend, so the Blaugrana players that are going to Qatar will be given a five-day head start on the rest of Europe as they prepare for the biggest tournament on the planet.

Barça need all three points to continue putting pressure on Real Madrid in the title race, but it definitely won’t be easy to win against an Osasuna side that’s currently fifth on the table and the biggest surprise in Spanish football right now. Here’s how we think Barça will line up on Tuesday.


FC Barcelona - UD Almeria - La Liga Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Xavi Hernández’s troops played a fantastic match against Almería at the weekend and with the extra rest after this one it is hard to see the coach making any major changes to his team for what is going to be a very difficult game.

If we see any alterations, they’ll probably come at the back: Gerard Piqué said goodbye in amazing fashion to the Camp Nou crowd on Saturday, and his career officially ends after Tueday’s match so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the President keeping his place in the team one last time.

But Andreas Christensen and Eric García are back to full health and would both benefit from a start in this one as they work their way to full fitness ahead of the World Cup, and more importantly the two formed a solid center-back pairing for Barça earlier this season. They are faster and better on the ball than both Piqué and Marcos Alonso, and Osasuna offer a much bigger attacking threat than Almería did on Saturday.

As for the full-back positions, it’s undeniable that Alejandro Balde and Jordi Alba are the two starters right now. Balde might just be the best right-back in the squad despite being left-footed, and Alba continues to prove he’s still a very reliable attacking option on the left.


FC Barcelona - UD Almeria - La Liga Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The biggest key for Barça’s dominant attacking performance against Almería was the play of the midfield trio: Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong and Pedri were sharp on and off the ball, and set the tempo for the rest of the team all night long.

Gavi could always find himself back in the starting lineup in any game, but it would be hard to see any other midfield combination for this one. The questions will always be about Busquets’ ability to be consistent, but his presence and poise on the ball could prove crucial against an Osasuna side that will concede possession and defend deep.


FC Barcelona - UD Almeria - La Liga Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ferran Torres is perhaps playing his best football since joining Barça 11 months ago. The Spaniard is fully healthy, full of confidence and showed great chemistry with Alba against Almería. It would be foolish not to play the two together on the same side again in this one, and Xavi is slowly but surely finding a reliable third forward alongside his best two attackers.

Those two are Ousmane Dembélé, who shined and scored at the weekend, and Robert Lewandowski, who had a rare bad night in front of goal but definitely won’t miss the same golden chances for a second game in a row. Lewy has been awesome all season, and especially decisive away from home, and will be looking to rebound from his wasteful night against Almería with a big goal or two (or three?) in this one.

Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Balde, Christensen, Eric, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Ferran (4-3-3)

How do you think Barcelona should line up against Osasuna? Let us know your thoughts, predictions and teams in the comments below!

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