Tomorrow night’s home match against Osasuna is the least glamorous sounding one in recent weeks, but I actually consider more important than usual. Firstly, it would be criminal to let points slip at home against the team placed 16th in the league who are a whooping 50 points behind us. But more importantly, I think tonight needs to be a reaction. As people will have noticed in my comments post Copa, I did not see that losing as particularly worrying nor detrimental. However, with Real Madrid in the Champions League just 4 days after this game, we could use this is as a confidence boost. This could be said for David Villa in particular. He is now 11 games without a goal (the last one being February 26th), which has equaled his person worst run. Pedro could also do with a morale boosting game with goals and some good touches. A nice high scoring, aesthetically beautiful game would do quite nicely at this time. We can get a bit of that nasty taste out our mouth from Wednesday and then get ready to blow Madrid away in the Champions League.
We were hit with some seriously unfortunate news after the Copa defeat. That being the 4 week absence of Adriano with an injury. He was really slotting in nicely lately, having his best game against Madrid, so the timing just plain sucks. Therefore, Maxwell is now our only legitimate left back and his pace worries me against Madrid. Puyol has again been training alone and I do not expect to see him play tomorrow. Pep could do a few different things tomorrow. Maybe Milito gets a game in center back, or he will again put Masch (who was super versus Madrid). It could be Xavi and Iniesta in the midfield, but maybe Thiago sneaks in. Upfront it should be Messi, Villa, and Pedro.
Just a brief bit on Osasuna now. They have 6 absantee issues tomorrow, with Ruper, Masoud, Aranda, Punal, Soriano, and Sergio out with either injury or suspension. They have a pretty good keeper in Asier Riesgo, and some of us will remember ex-Barca boy Damia either at right back or right mid. Monreal is a Spanish international who plays left back, while Nekonam is an Iranian midfielder that has been there ages and is a hard man in the midfield. “The Rifle” Walter Pandiani, once a lethal goal threat with Depo in their good years, will lead the attack.
Expect a very defensive performance for Osasuna, us with loads of possession, and hopefully loads of chances. But what I hope most of all is we bloody convert our chances and walk away with our confidence brimming and ready for a war midweek.