Preview: Levante UD vs FC Barcelona

Barça take on Levante tomorrow night at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium in another must-win game for Pep Guardiola’s team. After Real Madrid’s win at the Calderon the gap at the top of La Liga is at four points and time is running out fast. Barça have won the last 10 league games to put the pressure on our rivals, but it is vital we do not drop points now, a week before receiving Madrid at Camp Nou.

Dani Alves and Gerard Piqué have both recovered from their injuries and have been named in a squad of eighteen. Seydou Keita, who last year scored the goal that clinched the league title in the 1-1 draw at Levante, has a slight muscle problem in his right leg and will not travel, while Ibi Afellay will also have to wait for another chance despite being given medical clearance to play after his seven months absence due to a ligament injury. Marc Muniesa and Marc Bartra return to Eusebio Sacristan’s Barça B this weekend but Martin Montoya and Cristian Tello travel again with the first team.

Levante may not have much history to the name, having only played five seasons previous to this in the Primera División with three of those finishing in relegation. Last season they achieved their best ever finish by ending the season in 14th place, however, this season they look very likely to finish much higher, they have spent a lot of the season in the top four though they are now in fifth place, two points behind Malaga. Credit must go to coach Juan Ignacio Martinez, the fact that they are still in with a shout for a Champions League spot is extremely impressive considering their small budget. They are the only other team apart from Barça to beat Real Madrid this season to demonstrate this was not a freak result they have also beaten other big names such as Sevilla, Atlético and Malaga this season.

Pep Guardiola is aware of the difficulty of the task but he knows the only was is to face each game as it comes. It will do the players no good to be thinking about Chelsea or Real Madrid. In many ways it could be argued that the Levante game is more important than Wednesday’s clash at Stamford Bridge, if Chelsea beat us in the first leg at least we will have 90 minutes at Camp Nou to put things right, but if we lose tomorrow we will probably be at seven points when we receive Real Madrid which will somewhat dampen the party even if we knock five past them again.

So I expect Guardiola to put out his best team tomorrow. Captain Carles Puyol celebrated his 34th birthday today and I expect him to start alongside Javier Mascherano in central defence with Alves and Adriano on the flanks. Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta should make up the midfield with Messi, Alexis and Pedro up front. Valdés and Alexis will need to be careful as a yellow card would mean they miss El Clásico next week. It’s going to be a difficult game but if we stay focused I’m sure we can come away with the three points.

Away from tomorrow’s game, the choice of staying in Europe for this summer’s tour should be applauded. If Pep Guardiola had anything to do with this decision, and he has been using his contract renewal to influence the decision, then this should also be applauded and it may well be a good sign that Pep is close to signing. We shall see.

Finally, the news so far on Eric Abidal has all been positive. It is still early to say how well he will recover but we should be thankful that he seems to be on the right path.

Barça’s squad vs Levante: Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Montoya, Piqué, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Xavi, Thiago, Fabregas, Iniesta, Pedro, Cuenca, Messi, Alexis, Tello.

Possible starting XI: Valdés; Alves, Mascherano, Puyol, Adriano; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Alexis.

My prediction: Levante 1 Barça 2


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10 Responses to Preview: Levante UD vs FC Barcelona

  1. Neyobanty5y says:

    As fer of this match is conseine i now that tomorow game with lavente will be vital,aftarawll am still proud of barca that tomorow they are going to win like 3-1 to nothing

  2. thisisspain says:

    I am trying hard to believe the away side can get anything out of this game but I don’t see it. If Real Madrid can lost in Valencia, what chance do Barcelona have?

    Levante have been the surprise team of the season (if I exclude Villarreal who will surely want to forget 2011/2012) and they will desperate to get three points to keep in the fight for a CL place. I expect a very tight game with Levante eventually getting 3 late goals to win 3-0. It might sound a flattering scoreline but J.I.M. will know that this is one of the easiest games on the run-in and will ensure a fine 95 minute performance. (Cesc sent off and injuries to everybody that Busquets clatters add extra minutes) Messi gets frustrated and gets himself booked but can play against Real Madrid but Cesc is out – which saves us the unedifying site of him kicking lumps out of Benzema and Özil.

    From there, there will be the disappointment of back-to-back defeats with Chelsea and Real Madrid and it is “Season over, re-build for next year” (with Emery?)

    “What might have been”, is the cry. “Ojalá…..”

    • Ian Adams says:

      Is this a joke? Or some horrible form of sarcasm? Or are you just a Madrista on a Blaugrana website?

      • thisisspain says:

        If you were a regular, you would know that I am regularly asked to contribute by the two owners of the site who are both personal friends of mine. Can I take it that you disagree with my overview?

    • bc9jaCulé says:

      I can’t wait to see how engulfed in pain u will be when Madrid loses against Sporting again tonight like last season while Barça bags another 3pts by putting a manita past Levanté with Messi netting a hattrick. Then in the Clasico, Barça will beat Madrid with 3 unreplied goals & reclaim top spot in the Liga standings. Just ensure you keep a date with me when all these unfold.

  3. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    Without a doubt, Barcelona will have to again put on a committed performance to bring home all 3 points. I hope we’ll come home with all 3 points without injury worries. Hopefully, I’ll predict a 4-1 to Barcelona. With Pedro, Sanchez and Messi on the scoresheet.

  4. Barca fan london says:

    Though the Madridsta usually comes out with widly optimistic predctions of Barca’s demis I agree it will be a tight game. But 3-0 to Levante… okay… lol.

    Barca need to win. The gap HAS to remain 4 points. Madrid were extremely nervous and got absolutely saved by Ronaldo’s long shot (and admittedly excellent free kick). Ive never seen a Mourinho team look so nervous but then again he’s never faced anyone quite like Barca.

    0-2 prediction

  5. bc9jaCulé says:

    All I can see is a victory for us tonight. We will do it. And, just a hunch, I think Madrid will lose against Sporting @ the Bernabeu again tonight.

    Levanté 1
    Barça 5

    Visca Barça!!!!!
    Força Barça!!!!!

  6. Barca fan london says:

    I cant see Madrid doing anything but winning comfortably but heres to hoping for the expected…

    What will be interesting to see is if Ronaldo dives for any penaltys tonight considering he’s one yellow away from a suspension. Imagine Mourinho’s press conference if he does get a card for ‘simulation’ 😀 😀

  7. barcacentralnic says:

    Neither Piqué nor Alves is risked and it’s a defence of three again.
    Valdés; Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano; Busquets, Xavi, Thiago, Cesc; Pedro, Messi, Alexis

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