15th of December 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
LaLiga leaders Barcelona will try to avoid an upset on Sunday, when they face a tricky away game at sixth-placed Levante. The match will be played at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia and it could bring a second consecutive home win for Levante against Barcelona. Last season Levante pulled off a major upset as they defeated Barcelona 5-4 in this fixture, it was a crazy match in which Philippe Coutinho scored a hat-trick for Barca and Emmanuel Boateng bagged three goals for Levante. That result interrupted a string of seven consecutive wins for Barcelona against Levante in all competitions.
Levante are having a very good season so far, they finished 15th last campaign but now they are in sixth place and they can hope for a historic European qualification. They are unbeaten in their last four matches in all competitions, including last week's crazy 4-4 draw at Eibar. They have scored 27 league goals so far this season, more that Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, but they have conceded 25, more than any other team in the first half of the league table. Armando Sadiku and Samu Garcia are injured and will be unavailable for this match, while Jose Luis Morales is a doubt.
Barcelona are not as invincible as they were last season, but they have put together a run of six matches without defeat. Last weekend they put on a solid performance to win the local derby against Espanyol 4-0, while this week they drew 1-1 with Tottenham in the Champions League, even though head coach Ernesto Valverde rested both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Barcelona have a three-point advantage over Sevilla and Atletico Madrid at the top of the table, so they can't afford any slip-ups. Rafinha, Samuel Umtiti and Malcom are still injured, while Sergi Roberto and Sergi Samper are doubts.
Levante: Olazabal - Cabaco, Rodriguez, Pier - Jason, Rochina, Campana, Bardhi, Tono - Marti, Morales
Barca: Ter Stegen - Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba - Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal - Messi, Suarez, Dembele
My prediction: Barcelona to win 3-1, Levante have a leaky defence and the visitors should be able to take advantage.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Levante win - 9.00
Draw - 6.50
Barca win - 1.25
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7th of December 2018
Well I've expected a lot more of a contest in this game then it appeared to be in the end, maybe a one goal win to the visitors, but 0-5, not really.
Obviously the class of the Catalan side have been a bit too much for Levante side who having a nice season themselves but this is the kind of game when you have to show at least character if not class to make it difficult for the superior opponents.
Obviously they didn't show any of that.
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