Xavi Torres. PHOTO: www.levanteud.com

Based on the figures after thirteen matches played, no one would think that Levante have one of the lowest budgets in the First Division. They’ve totalled 8 wins, 2 draws, and 3 defeats, with 23 goals for and 12 against, and are fourth in the league. These are the stats of a much bigger team. On Saturday at 20.00 they’ll come up against Barça at the Camp Nou.

Leader against all odds

Levante made a historic start to their league campaign, leading the table, for the first time in their history, on matchdays 9 and 10. Indeed, between 18th September and 26th October they strung together 7 consecutive wins, including impressive victories at home to Madrid (1-0), and away at Villareal (3-0).

A consolidated block

The manager who has worked the miracle is the newcomer, Juan Ignacio Martinez. The former Cartagena manager uses a starting eleven that the fans already know by heart: Munúa, in goal; Javi Venta, Ballesteros, Nano, and Juanfran in defence; Xavi Torres, Iborra, Juanlu, Valdo, and Barkero, in midfield; and Koné up front.

However, Martinez is working this week on the possibility of adding a new defensive midfielder to the team, maybe Farinós or Pallardó.

An old acquaintance

The player who will be a definite starter is Xavi Torres. Torres played for the Barcelona B team in the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons, under the management of Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique respectively. He made his debut with the first team in September 2007 against Girona, in the Catalan Cup, and at the end of 2009 he played two League games. He carried on his career with Malaga, who have loaned him to Levante for the last two campaigns.