Expect Barcelona’s £142m man in Philippe Coutinho in the stands when Barcelona return to league action for the first time since their convincing win at the Bernabeu in El Clasico just before Christmas. They now have a really commanding 6 point lead over 2nd placed Atletico Madrid and also have a game in hand. But Ernesto Valverde’s biggest advantage in La Liga is undoubtedly his team’s 14 points advantage over their supposed-to-be La Liga rival Real Madrid and it would take some collapse for them not to be regaining the title they lost to Los Blancos at the end of the season.
But Barcelona can expect a bigger test in their pursuit of the glory than what Levante can produce at Camp Nou as the visitors have been in free-fall over the past couple of months. They are 16th in the table and have won just once in their last 12 matches in all competitions.
But they have already traveled to Barcelona in 2018 and came away with a 2-1 win against Espanyol in the Copa del Rey on Thursday and that may infuse some hopes in Levante’s dejected players heading into this match, which obviously will be significantly tougher.
But it’s hard to see any result other than Barcelona’s win as the hosts have dropped only 2 points in 8 home league games this season. So we are expecting a damage limitation job as far as Levante are concerned and their tactics are likely to reflect that.
Here are some stats involving both these teams coming into this match-
1. Barcelona have won 11 of the last 12 meetings against Levante
2. Levante have only won only once in their last 12 games in La Liga.
3. Barcelona have scored 4 or more goals in 5 of their last 6 home games against Levante, conceding just twice.
4. Levante have failed to score in four of their last five games.