Barca ‘B’ boys should get the better of Osasuna again

Barcelona return to action this Thursday following a week of celebrations in the wake of the Ballon d’Or awards for Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola and company in Zurich.

But while much of the starting eleven will be in the mood for celebration, only a few of their big guns will feature here, with the game likely to see some of the Catalans’ highly-rated youngsters start.

They could not have picked a better opponent than Osasuna either, with Los Rojillos coming into this game having failed to score against Guardiola’s men in any of their last five attempts. Little surprise, then, that Osasuna are as short as 11/10 to fail to find the net here again.

In the second leg of their last tie in competition, a handful of first-teamers and the latest line of La Masia graduates showed a glimpse of what they could do as they combined to give Barca a stunning 9-0 win over lowly L’Hospitalet.

While a similar scoreline may prove unlikely, backing Barcelona to win with over 3.5 goals scored at 9/5 could prove a shrewd move, especially considering the Catalans having scored 22 goals in their last five competitive matches.

The real big earners in this clash could come from goalscorer bets, with midfielder Thiago Alcantara and winger Isaac Cuenca both ones to watch.

The visitors have also developed a recent habit of starting early, having scored more goals in the first half in three of their last four games, making odds of 9/5 on them notching more prior to the interval than after it worth considering.

In terms of the 3Way football betting market, look no further than bwin if you want to back the Barcelona win in 90 minutes as our price of 37/100 cannot be beaten by any other bookmaker. The draw is a 4/1 shot, while Osasuna are at a lengthy 25/4.

However, the real big earners in this clash could come from goalscorer bets, with midfielder Thiago Alcantara and winger Isaac Cuenca both ones to watch.

The pair were the stand-out goalscoring stars of the L’Hospitalet thrashing with a brace each and decent odds are available on a repeat or similar showing here.

Thiago, a precociously gifted playmaker, is the more likely scorer of the two. The son of Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho will be eager to stake a claim for a first-team spot and while odds of 9/5 on him scoring at any time are a tad miserly, backing this selection should pay off.

Punters receive a free £25 bet for joining and placing this on Thiago to score against Osasuna offers potential returns of £70.

The more adventurous among you may fancy a repeat brace for Thiago and with 21/2 available on two or more goals for the 20-year-old, a small punt could well be on the cards.

If you prefer a play on Cuenca, the young winger is available at 9/10 to score at any time or 9/2 to grab the last goal of the game, as he did against L’Hospitalet.

It is also worth noting that bwin is offering market-leading odds of 7/5 on Cesc Fabregas hitting the back of the net at some point in Pamplona.

The former Arsenal skipper has rediscovered his scoring touch since rejoining his old club, having fired 11 goals in all competitions already this term, including a double in last week’s first leg against Osasuna.

But with so many Barcelona bets available – and with the tie already effectively put to bed – it would be foolish not to consider the possibility of an upset of sorts.

Admittedly, Osasuna are well placed in fifth in La Liga, so focusing on their push for European qualification will probably be the priority for Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side, rather than chasing this lost cause.

That said, the home side have an impressive defensive record at Reyno de Navarra that has seen them go in with a clean sheet in five of their last six games in front of their own fans.

With odds of 13/5 on a 0-0 half-time score, this could be one way to cover your bets.

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