Preview: Barcelona v Levante


Barcelona welcome lowly Levante to the Camp Nou for what should be a routine three points for the runaway La Liga leaders.

Primera Division
Date: 7 January 2018
Match Day 18
Kick-off: 17H15 local time
Venue: Camp Nou
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro
Assistants: Juan Yuste, Abraham Álvarez
Fourth official: Antonio Santos

Head-to-head summary: 


Barcelona       20       16     4      0      
Levante         20       0      4      16  

Previous encounter: 

Levante 0-2 Barcelona 07/02/16 (La Liga)

Barcelona goalscorers: D. Navarro (OG 21'), L. Suarez (90')

Players to watch: 

Lionel Messi has fired Barcelona to the top of La Liga this season with 15 goals from 17 games. While Luis Suarez struggled for goals earlier in the season, he recently netted his tenth, from just 14 games to return to something close to his lethal best.

Levante haven't exactly been settling La Liga alight with a return of just 15 goals, compared to Barca's 45, but leading the way are Enis Bardhi and José Luis Morales with four goals, each, while Ivi Lopez has two from his 14 games.

Team form and manager quotes: 

Ernesto Valverde's side have a nine point lead over Atletico Madrid at this half-way stage in the season, and remain undefeated, and while a much-changed side were held to a 1-1 draw in the Copa del Rey by Celta Vigo on Thursday, it was the first goal conceded in four games, that included a 3-0 humbling of Real Madrid before the break.

Juan Ramón López Muñiz's side meanwhile, occupy 16th place just three points clear of the dropzone, with just three wins all season. Juan Muñiz's side were without a win in five games but restored some confidence with a 2-1 cup win over Espanyol earlier in the week.

Team news: 

Samuel Umtiti remains sidelined for Barca, while Paco Alcacer is a doubt with injury and Sergio Busquets is suspended.

Enis Bardhi, Jose Luis Morales and Jose Campana are all suspended for Levante, while Ivan Lopez and Alex Alegria are injured, and Chema Rodriguez is an injury doubt.