Barcelona vs Osasuna - Prediction, Betting Odds & Picks
- Barcelona remains mathematically in the title race but its hopes could be ended on Thursday
- Osasuna is pushing for a top-half finish but a trip to the Camp Nou remains daunting
- Back Barcelona to do its bit but ultimately hand over its La Liga crown this week
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|What||Barcelona vs Osasuna|
|Where||Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain|
|When||Thursday, 16 July 2020, 3 PM EST|
|How to watch||beIN SPORTS|
Barcelona fans would not like to admit it, but their team gave its best Real Madrid impression at the weekend. Its 1-0 victory over Real Valladolid over Saturday was a low-key affair, with Quique Setien’s side arriving at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla with the intention of keeping a clean sheet. It is an approach that has served Real Madrid well since the restart: Zinedine Zidane’s men beat Granada 2-1 on Monday, before which it had racked up five consecutive wins to nil.
Barcelona has now gone two games without conceding, but neither of its wins against Espanyol and Osasuna was overly convincing. This is illustrated by the expected goals – a statistic that measures the quality of the chances a team creates and concedes – from both matches. Barcelona edged out Espanyol 0.9 to 0.83 in gameweek 35, before squeezing past Valladolid 1.02 to 0.85.
Those figures highlight the fact that Barcelona struggled to create clear-cut opportunities against opponents it really should have brushed aside with ease. In that regard it has not matched Madrid, which has recorded several victories by slender margins but nevertheless dominated most of the games in question. And whereas Zidane’s side has now won nine games on the bounce, Barcelona has dropped six vital points over the same period.
The fact that Barca has not lost since the restart has led some to argue that it has been Madrid’s brilliance, rather than its rival’s sloppiness, that has decided the near-certain outcome of the title race. But Barcelona could easily have been punished more often since the restart, and it must be self-critical if it is to come back stronger next term.
Barcelona vs Osasuna Odds
|Barcelona to win both halves||Odds|
Odds taken from DraftKings
Given that it needs Madrid to slip up twice to have any chance of climbing back to the summit of the standings, Barcelona should be uninhibited for Thursday’s clash with Osasuna. If it is to go down (relatively speaking), it should do so fighting.
For that reason, together with the fact that Osasuna does not exactly boast the greatest defensive record, it is worth backing Setien’s side to triumph in both halves at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona Will Rue Its Form in Recent Months as Madrid Close in on Title
As mentioned above, Barcelona must not act as if it could have done little more to prevent Madrid winning the title – which los Blancos will do with victory over Villarreal on Thursday, or Leganes on Sunday. True, Madrid has been relentless since the restart, amassing 27 points from a possible 27 and conceding very few goals along the way.
Had Barcelona been level on points with Madrid at this stage, it could perhaps consider itself unfortunate not to triumph. Zidane’s side has the head-to-head advantage, which is essentially worth an extra point in the title race. If Barcelona was also on 83 points heading into Thursday’s penultimate round of fixtures, that would mean it had won nine and drawn one of its last 10 games.
But Barcelona dropped costly points in draws with Sevilla, Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid, and it was unconvincing even in defeats of Athletic Club, Espanyol, Real Valladolid. There is a huge rebuilding job to be done at the Camp Nou this summer and the club must not shy away from that by hiding behind Madrid’s perfect recent record.
Osasuna Is on a Positive Run of Form and Will Be Eyeing the Top 10
After taking just one point from a possible nine in its first three games post-lockdown, Osasuna began to slide down the standings. That was not overly concerning to Jagoba Arrasate’s side – after all, its primary objective was survival following promotion last time out – but it would have been a shame had Osasuna’s season fizzled out.
It no longer looks like doing so, having won four and drawn one of its last six games. A top-half finish still remains possible, and there is a slim chance that Osasuna could even qualify for the Europa League if it beats both Barcelona and Real Mallorca, with seventh-placed Athletic Club just three points in advance. That is a long shot, though, but a comfortable mid-table finish would represent a fantastic campaign for the club on its return to the top tier of Spanish soccer.
Even a Win Would Be a Case of Too Little, Too Late for Barcelona in Title Race
Barcelona has a chance to make a statement on Thursday, even if it will be drowned out should Madrid get the win it needs to wrap up the title. Even so, the Catalan club will not want to go out with a whimper, and it will consequently look to make a fast start in a bid to record a handsome win.
Osasuna has nothing to lose and will see this match as a free hit, but Barcelona’s superior quality should decide the contest. Another scrappy 1-0 victory on the same night Madrid wins the championship will simply not be good enough.
Back Barcelona to win both halves here, even though it will surely not be enough to stop Madrid winning the biggest prize of all.