Osasuna vs Espanyol match preview and predictions for Saturday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for the head-to-head, team news, predicted lineups and fantasy football picks as the visitors make their return to the top flight.
|Saturday 14th August 2021
|22:00 (local time)
Osasuna vs Espanyol Preview
Espanyol are back in the top flight after just one season in the second tier and this will be a good early test of their level against a solid Osasuna side. The hosts have recruited well this summer and will be bidding to make a winning start as they push for a top half finish this season.
Osasuna were early movers in the transfer market, bolstering their attacking options by signing two proven strikers at this level. Kike joined on a free from relegated Eibar while they spent a club record €8m to bring in Ante Budimir from Mallorca. The Croatian impressed on loan at El Sadar last season and as well as Kike, he could also have Chimy Avila as a strike partner with the popular Argentine fit again after two serious injuries since the start of 2020.
Suddenly, Osasuna do have real options in the final third and they have the personnel to operate either a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 system. Jagoba Arrasate’s side are in their third year back in LaLiga and do feel like an established club at this level already. This is perhaps the first year when they will really have targets beyond just steering clearing of relegation trouble. They are usually relatively solid defensively and if their new-look attack clicks, a top half finish is certainly possible.
A home game against newly promoted opposition in theory gives Osasuna a decent chance to make a winning start but Espanyol are no ordinary newly promoted club. Their squad is full of top flight quality and experience and hasn’t radically changed since the dismal failure of the 2019/20 season when they were relegated from the Primera for the first time this century.
They regrouped well under the excellent guidance of Vicente Moreno to win the Segunda Division last season, finishing with both the best goalscoring record and joint meanest defence. They don’t have any significant injury problems so we should see something very close to their strongest eleven here and they’ll be eager to prove that they mean business this time around by putting in a good performance in Pamplona.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 3 Osasuna Wins, 2 Espanyol Wins, 1 Draws.
- Osasuna have won their last 3 meetings with the Catalan club.
- They won 2-0 at the RCDE Stadium earlier in 2021 in the Copa del Rey.
- Osasuna have won 4 of the last 6 meetings in Pamplona with Espanyol victorious here in 2013 and 2016.
Aridane Hernández, Rober and Adrián López are all missing for the hosts. Left-back Juan Cruz is also rated doubtful.
Espanyol have no definite absentees but may be without midfielder Keidi Bare due to injury.
Predicted Osasuna Starting Lineup:
Herrera – Cruz, U. Garcia, D. Garcia, Vidal – Torro, Sanjurjo – Avila, R. Garcia, Barja – Budimir (4-2-3-1)
Predicted Espanyol Starting Lineup:
Lopez – Pedrosa, Cabrera, Gomez, Gil – Darder, Lopez – Ribaudo, Melendo, Embarba – De Tomas (4-2-3-1)
Osasuna vs Espanyol Predictions
Score Prediction: Osasuna 1-1 Espanyol
This will be a real test for both sides and it’s a tough game to call. Home advantage could give Osasuna the edge but Espanyol will be highly motivated as they play their first game back at this level and a good start is important for them as they bid to fully move on from the 2019/20 campaign. A draw may be the most likely outcome at El Sadar this weekend.
Fantasy Football Picks
- Fanteam – Chimy Avila
Having featured briefly towards the end of last season after another long lay-off, Chimy Avila ought to be raring to go this year with a full pre-season under his belt. On his day, he’s one of the most exciting players in LaLiga and he could give Espanyol’s right-back a really tough afternoon here.