Osasuna enjoyed a strong return to LaLiga last term despite considerable injury problems in the second half of the campaign. They’ll be hoping to avoid second season syndrome and firmly establish themselves back in the top flight this time around. Read on for our Osasuna season preview.
Last Season – 10th
A top half finish for any newly promoted team represents a very good season and Osasuna can be proud of what they achieved. Were it not for the heroics of fellow new boys Granada, more plaudits may have gone their way but Jagoba Arrasate will take confidence from what he saw from his team last term as he builds for 2020/21.
They came up as a side with a formidable home record in the Segunda and they successfully turned El Sadar into a stadium that was mostly tough for visiting teams to go to. What we didn’t expect though, was for Osasuna to have quite so much joy on their travels. 6 road wins and only 7 defeats away from Pamplona ensured there was never any danger of them getting sucked into the relegation scrap.
Their overall record against bottom half teams was exceptional too with just 2 defeats from their 20 matches against teams that finished below them in LaLiga. Even following the restart, when Osasuna were missing several key men to injury including Chimy Avila who starred in the first half of the campaign, Arrasate’s side showed they had many strings to their bow with some impressive results including a famous win at Camp Nou.
Osasuna Summer Transfers
Lucas Torro | from Eintracht Frankfurt | €2m
Juan Cruz | from Elche | €2.75m
Fran Mérida | to Espanyol | FREE
Luis Perea | to Leganes | €3m
(Transfers up to 5th September 2020.)
Coach – Jagoba Arrasate
Jagoba Arrasate has done a terrific job in Pamplona. His achievements with Osasuna have certainly been the pinnacle of his coaching career to date, with promotion as Segunda champions in his first season at the club followed by a top half finish in La Liga.
The bar has been set very high and it is going to be a big ask for the 42 year old to deliver another season quite that good with relatively little in the way of investment into the squad this summer. The ongoing redevelopment of the stadium combined with the current economic climate makes that understandable but Arrasate has shown he can get the best out of teams even in difficult circumstances and he’ll be grateful to have some key players fit again for the start of the 2020/21 campaign.
Possible Osasuna Line Up 2020/21
Osasuna’s 4-4-2 approach and high energy football paid off in 2019/20 and we aren’t likely to see anything too different this term. The full-backs were key elements in their success but there’s no Pervis Estupiñan this time around and the Ecuadorian’s loss will be felt after his successful loan spell ended. His place is likely to go to Juan Cruz with the left-back arriving from newly promoted Elche this summer. Otherwise there should be a familiar feel to Osasuna’s back four.
In midfield, Fran Mérida has departed for Espanyol although he was by no means a regular at El Sadar last term. There will be competition for places in central midfield with new signing Lucas Torro adding a new option. Ruben Garcia and Roberto Torres both look almost certain starters in the wide midfield areas providing they are fit.
Up front, Chimy Avila is back in full training and will most likely partner Enric Gallego in attack. We may well see some more business though between now and the window closing with another forward likely to come in and compete for a starting role.
Key Man – Chimy Avila
Buenas sensaciones tras el segundo partido de pretemporada. A seguir por más ??? pic.twitter.com/WP3JzaVuID
— Ezequiel Chimy Ávila (@chimy337) August 29, 2020
Chimy Avila was an entertaining addition to LaLiga in 2018/19 as he scored some stunning goals with newly promoted Huesca. Last term he added a bit more consistency to his game and firmly established himself as a fan favourite at El Sadar, scoring 9 goals in 18 league starts for Osasuna before a season-ending injury in January.
The Argentine is fit again and should feature from the off for Osasuna this term. The only worry for Jagoba Arrasate will be that if Avila does come back fully firing, he could end up losing the 26 year old who has a relatively low release clause and plenty of potential suitors. The transfer window will remain open in Spain until early October meaning other clubs will have the chance to see how sharp Avila looks following injury before deciding whether to make a move.
One to Watch – Kike Barja
Osasuna don’t have a lot of young players in their squad which is largely made up of players in their late 20’s or early 30’s. One emerging talent they do have though is Kike Barja. Primarily a right winger, the 23 year old has been on the periphery of the Osasuna first team for many years now having shone for the B team between 2013 and 2018. He is yet to have a true breakthrough season but ought to be pushing for a more regular role this term having made 3 starts in LaLiga in the final part of the 2019/20 season.
Osasuna 2020/21 Targets
If Osasuna can sneak into the top half again they’ll have done brilliantly and it’s not completely out of the question if Chimy Avila comes back the same player, and more importantly ends up staying at the club for the duration of the season.
However not having Pervis Estupiñan is a major blow, as he was a vital part of both their defensive and attacking plans last term from left-back. Overall, it’s hard to see Osasuna managing to replicate last season’s 10th place finish but they should have enough to avoid getting sucked into a relegation battle.
LLE Prediction: 14th
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