PREVIEW | Barça v Levante

PREVIEW | Barça v Levante

Following defeat at Valencia, it's time to get the Liga title bid back on track after a great win against Leganés in the cup

With a place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals comfortably assured against Leganés midweek, it’s back to Liga duty on Sunday at 9.00pm CET as Barça look to battle back to the top of the table after 2-0 defeat at Valencia last weekend.

Team news

Although Ousmane Dembélé is well on the mend, Quique Setién made it clear in in his pre-game conference that he is not ready quite yet and will NOT be included in the squad, which the coach will be announcing on the morning of the match.

Arturo Vidal has been carrying a minor injury this week, but the boss insisted that it is not a big issue and is no cause for concern. Luis Suárez, of course, is out for the bulk of the season, and goalkeeper Neto has a sprained ankle.

Key stats

Levante have beaten Barça three times in a row at the Ciutat de Valencia. But it’s a very different story at Camp Nou, where they have never won, or even drawn, before. Let’s keep that 100% record going!

Leo Messi has scored at least once in all seven of Levante’s last visits to the Camp Nou. Home or away, he has always either scored or provided an assist in the last ten games against the ‘frogs’.

Levante have not kept a clean sheet for sixteen games, and they are coming to a stadium where they have only scored twice in their last nine visits.

But Levante keeper Aitor Fernández is having an exceptional season. His 84 saves are more than any other stopper in the competition.

Seven years ago, Barça beat Levante 7-0. It was the visitors’ biggest defeat in 499 Liga games. This will therefore be their 500th match in the top flight.

Last five meetings

02/11/19 (LIGA) Levante 3 Barcelona 1 (Messi)
27/04/19 (LIGA) Barcelona 1 Levante 0 (Messi)
17/01/19 (COPA) Barcelona 3 (Dembélé 2, Messi) Levante 0
10/01/19 (COPA) Levante 2 Barcelona 1 (Coutinho)
16/12/18 (COPA) Levante 0 Barcelona 5 (Suárez, Messi 3, Piqué)

Happening elsewhere

Real Madrid temporarily moved six points clear at the top of table after a Karim Benzema goal made the difference in a 1-0 derby win over Atlético on Saturday.

Third placed Sevilla play Alavés on Sunday at 6.30pm CET.

Last five games

Barcelona 5-0 Leganés (COPA)
Valencia 2-0 Barcelona (LIGA)
Ibiza 1-2 Barcelona (COPA)
Barcelona 1-0 Granada (LIGA)
Barcelona 2-3 Atlético (SUPERCOPA)

Osasuna 2-0 Levante (LIGA)
Sevilla 3-1 Levante (COPA)
Levante 0-1 Alavés (LIGA)
Real Jaén 1-1 (pens) Levante (COPA)
Atlético 2-1 Levante (LIGA)

What they’re saying

Barça manager Quique Setién: “Levante are not getting good results of late, while we looked great the other day although there are always things to improve. But Levante are a dangerous side and if they are inspired they can hurt teams, as they did against Barça earlier this season.”

Levante manager Paco López: “Nobody has won at Camp Nou this season. Not many teams do. What we need to do is be competitive, get things right and be ourselves. We need to do what we did until the 80th minute the other day.”

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