Having drawn a very very favorable opponent in the last eight of the Copa del Rey, the Yellow Submarine will be at home to face Osasuna in La Liga play. In some ways we are catching our opponents at a great time, and this is a game we should expect to win.
Osasuna would have been a particularly dangerous opponent if they had not just lost Chimy Avila to a cruciate injury. The Argentine forward had nine goals in La Liga this season and replacing him in the lineup is not something I think Los Rojillos are going to be able to replace. Because of this, we are in the somewhat familiar position of late of having no excuses for the result this Sunday. We should absolutely win this match at home.
We have a very tight historic record against Osasuna, 7-6-5 overall, though we rather stupidly lost to them earlier this season (Chimy Avila as you’ll recall scored the winner).
Of course the main story here will be whether or not Paco Alcacer makes his debut as a starter or if he comes off the bench. It’s actually a pretty interesting decision for Calleja, as Gerard Moreno is back in training as of Friday. Do you play the striker who knows the system but may not be fully fit or do you roll with the fresh signing with a big name and big reputation? My guess is he starts Paco and that we see Gerard around the hour mark.
I mistakenly said before our last Copa match that Quintilla was suspended but yellow card suspensions do not carry over between league and cup (though I feel like they used to). The result of this is we have a left back quandry to sort out as Alberto Moreno is in his constant state of muscle injury and Quintilla is out. We’ll see what Calleja does there and whether it proves costly.
If you’re gonna spend over 20m on a striker and set your sights on Europe, this is exactly the sort of game you have to win. I’m predicting a 3-1 win, Paco gets on the scoresheet, and they nab a consolation goal on a counter down our left flank at some point.