Balancing two competitions at this stage of the season is a walk down a razor’z edge, and that’s exactly what Unai Emery is trying to do as he has rotated for this league match against Osasuna.
Gerard and Pau headline the names that start on the bench, and Samu, Bacca, Capoue, Trigueros, Pedraza, and Rulli are all missing from Thursday’s starting lineup as well. Curiously, two of the men starting both matches are some of the squad’s most aged veterans, with Parejo and Albiol both in the lineup.
At this point in the year, it’s hard to say too firmly what is or isn’t a ‘mistake’ in rotations. We only have a one goal lead in Europe, that competition is far and away our best chance at winning a trophy, and so it gets focus. Meanwhile, though, we are in a perilous situation in the league, sitting in a three way tie with La Real and Real Betis on 46 points, and the tiebreakers going against us. We will find out next Saturday whether 7th place is even a European spot for next year.
Our opponents come into this one having drawn three in a row and having lost before that. Not great form but we certainly don’t want to see another draw laid to our account. Will Moi Gomez, Paco Alcacer, and Yeremi Pino be enough of an attack force to get us the goals we need? With Mario, Ruben, and Foyth all starting, will the Tottenham loanee be back in the defensive midfield where he has struggled this year? There are a lot of questions as match time comes in.