Barcelona struggle but pull out win against Osasuna

Jules Kounde celebrates scoring the opening goal during the match between CA Osasuna and FC Barcelona at El Sadar stadium in Pamplona on September 3, 2023. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

Robert Lewandowski scored a penalty late in the game as Barcelona pulled out a tough 2-1 win over Osasuna.

The Catalan side once again struggled but managed to come away with their third win of the season to keep pace with Real Madrid.

Jules Koundé scored the first goal of the game after connecting with a header off a corner kick in the first minute of stoppage time in the first half.

Barcelona clung to that one-goal lead but would see their advantage disappear midway through the second half as Chimy Avila rifled one past Marc-Andre ter Stegen who could only watch the ball ping off the post and in to the back of the net.

All things considered, it was a fair result given the display put on by both teams.

Barcelona caught a break in the 85th minute as Alejandro Catena brought down Lewandowski inside the box for a penalty. To make matters worse for Osasuna, Catena was also shown a red card.

The struggling Lewandowski stepped up and converted. It was evident how much the goal meant to him and the club as they celebrated the winner emphatically.

Barcelona hung on despite the ten minutes of added time.

While in games like these, getting a win is what matters, for Barcelona, the way they do it is always going to matter.

Osasuna were arguably the better team throughout the match and will feel hard done by not getting at least a point out of it. They threatened even down a man late.

Barcelona looked bereft of ideas in attack as Xavi Hernandez once again decided to deploy four midfielders with Lamine Yamal and Lewandowski as the only attackers.

Yamal was kept at bay as Osasuna closed him down as soon as he got the ball.

Joao Cancelo, Joao Felix and Iñigo Martinez made their Barcelona debuts. Cancelo nearly had an assist as his cross to Lewandowski seemed to cross the goal line before Aitor Fernandez got a hand to it. But it was called back as there was an offside in the lead up.

Again, getting 10 points out of 12 is a good thing but the performances leave much to be desired. Using four midfielders hasn’t worked and it leaves Yamal, or whoever is playing on the right, with too much responsibility. It also leaves Lewandowski with much less service and almost forces him to drop deep to try be more involved.

Xavi first began using four midfielders last season in games against tougher opponents like Real Madrid. On those occasions, it worked and Barcelona limited the opponents’ attacks.

This time around, it’s not even doing that. Osasuna threatened nearly every time they reached the final third. The control Barcelona were supposed to get with the extra midfielder was non-existent.

The international break is coming up meaning Barcelona won’t play again until Sept. 16 when they host Real Betis. It should give Xavi some time to fine tune his ideas with the players who weren’t called up to their national teams. He’s going to need to sort things out quick because after the Betis match, they host Antwerp in the first group game of the Champions League.