There is no time to rest for Barcelona as the Catalan giants are right back in La Liga action this weekend when they welcome Osasuna to Camp Nou.
Barça played a tough Europa League game against Galatasaray on Thursday and couldn’t find a way to win the first leg, leaving everything to be decided next week in Turkey. But the European exploits take a back seat to league this weekend, with the Blaugrana still in the race for the Top 4.
Because they play the last game this weekend, Barça will most likely be out of the Champions League places at kickoff and will be under pressure to pick up all three points against a solid Osasuna side. Let’s see how Barça could line up on Sunday.
Xavi surprised with some rotations on Thursday, which hurt the team’s continuity and contributed to a subpar performance. But rotating the squad is a necessity with such a busy run of fixtures, and we will most likely see more changes on Sunday to freshen things up and keep the squad healthy and fit for the stretch run.
A couple of changes could come in defense: Dani Alves is expected to return to the right-back spot in place of Sergiño Dest, and Ronald Araujo could be rested which would open the door for either Eric García or Clément Lenglet to play alongside Gerard Piqué. Lenglet hasn’t played in quite a while, and might get the nod in this one simply to get some rhythm.
The midfield area continues to enjoy good depth and Gavi is back after missing Thursday’s game through suspension, and the youngster is expected to walk right back into the team for this one in place of either Pedri or Frenkie De Jong. Sergio Busquets didn’t start against Galatasaray but is expected to return to the team on Sunday.
Nico González is suspended for this one, so Xavi’s choice for the midfield trio will be slightly easier. If Gavi does start one of Pedri or Frenkie will probably see the bench, and both of them could use a bit of rest having played 90 hard minutes on Thursday.
Barça’s attack was not at its best against Galatasaray for the first time in a while, and a change of names is needed to simply add something different. Ousmane Dembélé continues to play well and is expected to get the nod over Adama Traoré in this one, since Xavi has been reluctant to play both of his wingers together from the start so far.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was missed in the middle of the front three on Thursday and should return to the team for this one, with Ferran Torres and Memphis Depay fighting for the left wing spot. Memphis might not yet be ready to start two games in quick succession having just come back from injury, so Ferran will most likely keep his place on Sunday.
Predicted XI: Ter Stegen; Alves, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, Gavi; Dembélé, Aubameyang, Ferran (4-3-3)
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