Osasuna - EspanyolOsasuna has been struggling all season with several injuries and suspensions. This is perhaps one of the reason why El Sadar hasn’t been the fortress we were used to in previous seasons. However, lately the situation has improved with coach Gracia having much more choices to configure his team. For this match LB Damia is suspended and Sisi, Nino, Onwu are out injured although none of these players have been used in recent games. Before the Christmas break Osasuna displayed some good performances eliminating Malaga from the Copa del Rey, holding Madrid to a home draw and completely outplaying Celta de Vigo in the first half an hour in Balaidos achieving 1 point at the end. I expected them to continue this good run of results.
Andrés – Bertrán, Loties, Arribas, Joan Oriol – Silva, Lolo – Cejudo, Armenteros, De las Cuevas (Torres) – Oriol Riera
Espanyol is also coming from an excellent result convincingly beating Valladolid at home. They aren’t so dominant away having achieved only two victories so far: against a 10-man Rayo and in Granada where we witnessed a very tight match that could have fallen for either side. Moreover they arrive seriously depleted to this game. CM Victor Sanchez and LB Fuentes are suspended while the flu has debilitated several team members. Non-important Alvarez, Torje and Tejera are out and Sergio Gracia, Stuani and Thievy had fever for the last two days and if they end up playing they won’t be at 100%.
Casilla – Javi Lopez, Moreno, Colotto, Capdevila – David Lopez, Abraham – Simao, Sergio Garcia (Pizzi), Stuani (Lanzarote) – Cordoba
Despite having won there last year, Pamplona is a traditionally difficult place for “Los Periquitos” with 4 defeats in the last 5 games. Without a fully fit squad I don’t believe they can win here so this one seems a safe bet to me.