Barcelona look to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Valencia last time out as they take on Levante at the Nou Camp on Sunday night.
Barcelona v Levante – La Liga
Venue: Nou Camp
Kick Off: 20:00
TV Channel: La Liga TV
Barcelona host Levante on Sunday night, as Quique Setien looks to respond to a disappointing result last weekend which saw them defeated by Valencia, as his side struggled to adapt to his new tactical system. Analysts were damning in their criticism of the Catalun giants, and it highlights the task Setien has on the hands to both win over the fans, journalists and players to his unique playing style.
A home game against out of form and mid table Levante is just what Setien’s side need to find their feet, as they look to adapt to the injury of Luis Suarez. Strikers have been linked in recent days, and whether Barcelona can bolster their attack before the end of the window will be key to any success between now and the end of the season. Hoewver, any new additions, such as Rodrigo who has been linked from Valencia, will come too soon to impact upon the game on Sunday, and it will see them line up in a similar shape to last weekend.
Lionel Messi took centre stage as he tried to force the game for Barcelona, and the Argentine attacker attempted eleven of Barcelona’s fourteen shots on goal, and it will be no surprise to see him take on this role once again. Less can be said abou Antoine Griezmann’s influence on the game, as the Frenchman failed to register a shot in the game, and the pressure is building on the summer signing to perform.
Levante’s defence have been the worry this season, and up against such an imperious attack, it could send warning signs to Paco Lopez’s side. An xGa of 39.64 and a goals against of 32 is worrying, and even an out of form Barca will relish the opportunity the punish the opposition’s leaky backline, so goals could be the way forward in the betting markets for Setien’s side.
A midweek Copa Del Rey clash must be factored in, but Barcelona should be confident of recovering from last weekend’s set back, and keeping the pressure on title rivals Real Madrid. It was a resounding 5-0 win over Leganes, as Lionel Messi netted twice, and confidence will be returning to the Catalan giants.
Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Neto miss out for Barcelona.
Levante are without Erick Cabaco through suspension, whilst Rober Pier and Enis Bardhi are injured.
Head to Head:
Levante Wins: 3
3 key stats
La LIga Form:
Barcelona Last 5: D W D W L
Levante Last 5: W W L L L
Barcelona are understandably heavy favourites for the clash, best priced at 2/13, so value will lie elsewhere in this La Liga match.
Keen to get off to a fast start in front of the home faithful, and up against a defensive unit that have struggled to keep clean sheets, Setien’s side will want to rack up the goals, as well as win the game early, and it means that two angles take an interest. Barcelona HT/FT at 4/7 stands out as a better way to get Setien’s side on side, and despite their troubles in getting off to fast starts in league matches, the Copa Del Rey win did show signs that it has begun to click for Barcelona, and carrying that form into this clash would be no surprise.
Despite showing struggles at the back in away games, the two home victories for Setien’s side have shown a greater solidity at the back, with both Leganes and Granada struggling to create chances. As a result, both teams not to score at 11/10 looks a big price, and would be a similar option to backing Barcelona to nil, especially when considering Levante’s striking woes.