Levante travel to the Nou Camp on Saturday, December 3, 2011, to clash with champions Barcelona, in the La Liga.
Barca slumped to a shock 1-0 loss to Getafe last week, and consequently, Real Madrid have gone further adrift of Pep Guardiola’s wards, at the top of the La Liga table. That loss effectively makes Saturday’s game a must-win for the Catalan giants. In fact, they will need to win every game, hereafter, to be safe, besides beating Real Madrid in both home and away games.
Levante won’t be push overs, though, and are currently placed fourth on the league table, having scored as many as 23 goals, this season. The visitors on Saturday will also be buoyed by Getafe’s win against the champions and that would dull the edge that Barca might otherwise have had.
Braca coach Guardiola will rely on Alex Sanchez to be at his best as the Catalans bid to take three points away from the game against Levante. Sanchez’s pace and guile will be crucial to Barca’s fortunes, as was evident in their win against Ray Vallecano, midweek, wherein the Chilean winger scored a brace of goals. Sanchez’s speedy runs down the flank is likely to pose a potent threat to the Levante defence.
For Levante, midfielder Jaunlu has played a star turn this season, both in attack as well as in a playmaking role. Barca will need to ward of Jaunlu’s threat by closing down the spaces and not allowing the midfielder to enjoy too much possession. with six goals, this season, Jaunlu is Levante’s leading scorer, and he would aim to increase that tally against the Catalan rivals, this weekend.
As ever, Messi will be the ‘go to’ man for Barca. Assigned a central midfield role this season, the Argentine superstar has still managed to find the back of rival nets 15 times in the league, second only to Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the goal-scoring stakes.
Levante midfielder Kone has gone on record by stating that Real Madrid and not Barcelona are the team to beat, this season. Though there might be some truth to that statement, it could also be a psychological ploy against Guardiola’s men, ahead of Saturday’s clash.
Levante, who are among the few teams to beat Real Madrid, this season, triumphing 1-0 over the capital squad, will take some beating, though bookmakers are unanimous in naming Barcelona as favourites to win the game.
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An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.