Levante v Barcelona Live Commentary & Result, 02/11/2019, Primera División


Barcelona

12′ Arthur has been shown the first yellow card of the game for fouling Miramon. The card was shown to Suarez initially, but a VAR check determined that there’s a case of mistaken identity and it’s shown to Arthur instead.

12′ Levante have just settled into a defensive 4-4-2 shape out of possession now, dropping deeper into their own half rather than pressing high as they did in the opening 10 or so minutes.

10′ Barcelona have a free-kick and it’s Messi standing over it. Will he go for goal? He tries to dink a round ball into the box, but Levante just about get it clear. They end up giving away another foul, but further away from goal this time.

9′ How important will Suarez be today? He’s scored in five of his six LaLiga games against Levante, netting a total of five goals.

7′ Messi picks out Roberto wide on the right, back inside to De Jong, into Suarez. He dribbles his way through a crowd and does well to get a shot away, forcing Fernandez to drop to his knees and smother the round ball.

6′ Barcelona now enjoying their first spell of possession, but Arthur underhits a pass and nearly lets Morales in for a quick break, but Pique has been alert and wins possession back. Another warning sign that Barcelona do need to be careful here.

5′ It seems as though Levante have shifted to a 4-2-3-1 shape – Melero and Radoja the double pivot behind an attacking three of Campana, Bardhi and Morales. Mayoral has been the lone striker.

3′ Levante are pressing Barcelona high and aggressively early on here, forcing Ter Stegen to kick it long and straight back into Levante’s hands. An encouraging start from the home side, but how long can they maintain this energy level?

1′ KICK-OFF! Levante get us started, attacking left-to-right.

Don’t go anywhere because the teams are out and kick-off has been coming up.

Messi has been in the XI for his fourth straight start now after a foot injury that kept him out at the beginning of the season. And what a return it’s been – four goals and three assists in his last three games, with Barcelona scoring a minimum of three goals in each match. If that’s not enough for a post-Halloween scare, he’s also got 13 assists against Levante, more than against any other LaLiga opponent.

Levante boss Paco Lopez names an unchanged side from the group that beat Real Sociedad, while Ernesto Valverde makes three changes from the 5-1 win against Real Valladolid – Arthur comes in for Busquets, Roberto for Alba, with Semedo shunted over to left-back, while Griezmann replaces Fati. Ousmane Dembele and Carles Alena are the notable absentees though – both fit but not selected in the matchday squad.

SUBS: Neto, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Jean-Clair Todibo, Jordi Alba, Carles Perez, Ansu Fati.

BARCELONA XI (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Nelson Semedo; Arturo Vidal, Frenkie de Jong, Arthur; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann.

SUBS: Hernani, Nikola Vukcevic, Ruben Rochina, Roger Marti, Daniel Cardenas, Coke, Erick Cabaco.

LEVANTE XI (4-3-1-2): Aitor Fernandez; Jorge Miramon, Sergio Postigo, Ruben Vezo, Carlos Clerc; Gonzalo Melero, Nemanja Radoja, Jose Campana; Enis Bardhi; Jose Luis Morales, Borja Mayoral.

Just two victories in 26 games against Barcelona for Levante – both did come at home though, and they scored five goals in each. They won 5-1 in October 1994, then came out on top in a thrilling 5-4 contest in the penultimate game of 2017-18 – the game that stopped Barcelona going the entire season unbeaten!

No surprise that Barcelona’s form has improved since Lionel Messi returned from injury and they’ve shot to the top of the table with five straight wins. There’s just a point in it though and a slip-up today could see any one of five teams leapfrog them. As for Levante, they’ve won two of their last six, but they’re steadily midtable with a chance to move as high as eighth with a win.

Hello and welcome to matchday 12 in LaLiga! We have Levante up against league leaders and defending champions Barcelona.


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