Barcelona vs Osasuna

Saudi Arabia’s KSU Stadium sets the stage for an exciting Spanish Super Cup semi-final tie between Barcelona and Osasuna.

Barcelona’s title defense comes amid the reigning holder’s resurrection, with Xavi Hernandez’s side going from three straight winless matches in all competitions (D1, L2) to three consecutive victories, including a goal-glutted 3-2 win at fourth-tier Barbastro in last week’s Copa del Rey action. While they remain alive on all four fronts at the start of the new calendar year, a seven-point deficit on La Liga’s leading duo, Girona and Real Madrid, amplifies the need for another standout result in Saudi Arabia. Bidding to add to their 14-trophy haul in the Spanish Super Cup, Barcelona, who ousted Real Madrid 3-1 in last year’s showpiece event, can’t take anything for granted despite heading into this fixture as odds-on favorites. The Catalans’ defensive frailties have seen them concede 2+ goals in four of their six games coming into the tournament.

On the other hand, Osasuna’s maiden Spanish Super Cup appearance arrives at an opportune moment for Jagoba Arrasate’s side, as they’ve won three of their last four competitive outings (L1). But fatigue could be a potential issue for ‘Los Rojillos.’ In addition to being forced to fly to another continent, Osasuna had to go the distance to overcome third-tier Castellon in the build-up to this trip, progressing into the next Copa del Rey round via penalties. Last season’s Copa del Rey beaten finalists must go to great lengths to maintain their uplift in form, searching for their first win against Barcelona since 2019/20. But they’ve lost six of their seven H2Hs in the aftermath (D1), including a 2-1 home league defeat earlier this season.

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