Barcelona vs Osasuna preview: History, key battles, team news and more

Danny Ryan
90Min

On the back of a vital 3-2 victory at the Bernabeu on Sunday evening, Barcelona host Osasuna at the Nou Camp in a bid to keep pace with Real Madrid in the title race.

Lionel Messi's injury-time winner has put the Blaugrana level on points with Los Blancos, but on top of La Liga on the head-to-head, however, their rivals do have a game in hand.

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For Luis Enrique's men, the task is now very simple, with no more European involvement, they simply must win every league game left if they are to remain at the summit of the division.

Osasuna are the first club standing in their way and the minnows from Pamplona look set to drop straight back down to the second division after being promoted last year - they sit nine points from safety with just five games remaining.


Club Atletico de Madrid v CA Osasuna - La Liga


History

Like most smaller clubs in Spain, the history between the two is dominated by the Catalans who have won 17 of their 26 meetings.

The Blaugrana have claimed two of their biggest victories in La Liga history against Osasuna, winning 8-0 in 2011 and 7-0 in 2014 - both fixtures were at the Nou Camp.

Osasuna's last victory against the Blaugrana actually came back in 2009 when, against all the odds, they defeated Pep Guardiola's treble-winning side 1-0.


FC Barcelona v CA Osasuna - La Liga


Key Battles

 

Lionel Messi vs Fuentes

Osasuna's recent upturn in form - losing one of their last four - could see them provide a genuine challenge to Barca but given the form of Messi in the Clasico, this could all be in vain.

Fuentes is likely to be brought into a three-man defence and the Spaniard, who has featured just 13 times this season, may struggle to cope with the world's most feared attacker.

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Sergio Leon vs Gerard Pique

If Osasuna are to have any joy, then top scorer Leon will have to be at his very best. The 10-goal forward is a crafty customer and if he is on his game, he can scare the out-of-form Pique.

The Blaugrana defender has looked susceptible in recent weeks and if Leon can find space to run at him, the relegation candidates can spring a surprise.


Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga


Team News

The hosts will still be without the suspended Neymar with Jeremy Mathieu also a doubt for the game. Rafinha and Aleix Vidal are the only other absentees leaving Enrique with a fairly fit squad, one which he is likely to rotate for the fixture.

Osasuna, on the other hand, have been decimated by injuries. Oriol Riera, Emmanuel Riviere, Didier Digard and Nikola Vujadinovic are just some of the important players unavailable to the manager, Petar Vasiljević.


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Prediction


With La Liga's bottom side struggling with injuries, Barca could take advantage. The likes of Messi, Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic should be far too strong and if they break the visitors down early, the score could turn ugly quickly.

Barcelona 6-0 Osasuna

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