Barcelona took an early lead over its rival following the 5-1 thrashing of Real Sociedad and can extend its lead by defeating Osasuna away from home. The hosts are not be underestimated, especially after defeating Barcelona in their last encounter by three goals to two. The Catalans have played six games this month, including the super cup first leg against Real Madrid and fatigue might hurt their performance.
Bet: Osasuna +1.5
Odds: Bet365 2.30
Lionel Messi scored last game and he will play in the offensive alongside Telio and Sanchez, while Villa will be kept on the bench. In the unlikely case that their opponents take an early lead and Barcelona needs to come back into the game, we might see David in the second half. Vilanova can be satisfied with the way his new team plays but given the busy schedule, the coach needs to rest some of his key players. At least in theory, Osasuna shouldn’t pose too much trouble and this enables him to give younger players a chance to shine.
Seven games in a month take their toll
Barcelona can’t afford to take their opponents lightly, because history shows that each time they did, Osasuna deprive them of three valuable points. Past performance is not reliable, because Barcelona alternated 8-0 and 5-0 victories with low margin defeats and no two games were the same. The hosts are a very stringy team when playing at home and despite the fact that they will start with a single striker, they have the uncanny ability of exploiting any breaches they find in the defense of their opponents.
Punters should not be deceived by the fact that Osasuna’s striker has the same name as the in-form player from Athletic Bilbao, because the hosts rely on a different Llorente. At 32 years old, he is less dangerous upfront than his younger counterpart, but Osasuna is counting on him to catch the Catalans off-guard. Emiliano Armente and defender Nano will not play today as they are still recovering from injury, which means that the hosts will have to compensate their absence in the defense.
Osasuna will make no changes in its starting formation, and will play with the same 4-5-1 formation that they’ve used in the opening round. Barcelona has the resources to defeat Osasuna at home by several goals, as they did in the past, but it is most unlikely that the visitors will aim such a result. As long as they can secure the three points without risking any injuries, the Catalans would gladly settle for the narrow margin victory.