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Barcelona vs Levante, La Liga: Team News, Match Preview

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Barça play their first La Liga match of 2018 looking to stay light-years ahead of the rest

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Barcelona Trainning Session Photo by Robert Marquardt/Getty Images

Things are looking pretty good for Barcelona right now. The team is playing well again, the results have been fantastic, we dominated El Clasico and we now have Ousmane Dembélé and Philippe Coutinho to partner Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi to kind of destroy the rest of Spain.

But one result is all it takes to bury all the positivity, and that’s especially the case with this weekend’s match, the first in La Liga in 2018. Levante come to Camp Nou in poor form, with only one win in their last six matches and sitting just three points above the relegation zone.

Levante have a young and hungry squad filled with talented players who can cause problems to any team regardless of form or momentum. They’ll surely come to Camp Nou looking to upset the leaders and virtual champions, so Barça have to play their best football to make sure that things continue to look pretty good for the Catalan giants.


MATCH INFO, TV/STREAMING

Competition/Round: La Liga Matchday 18

Date/Time: Sunday, January 7, 2018, 4:15pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 3:15pm GMT (UK), 10:15am ET, 7:15am PT (USA), 8:45pm IST (India)

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia

Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande

Television: beIN SPORTS (USA, Canada, Spain), Sky Sports Football (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India)

Online streaming: beIN SPORTS (USA, Canada, Spain), Sky GO (UK), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)


TEAM NEWS

Sergio Busquets was booked in El Clasico and misses Sunday’s game for yellow card accumulation, but that is pretty much the only key absence in the side. Not having Samuel Umtiti is bad, but Thomas Vermaelen is doing a wonderful job at center-back. With Ousmane Dembélé clearly not physically ready to start yet and Busquets out, we will probably see Sergi Roberto in midfield with Nélson Semedo staying at right-back, which is great news.

Paulinho and Ivan Rakitic will be at the heart of midfield with the Croatian having the responsibility of replacing Busquets, and Andrés Iniesta will start and look to provide Messi and Suárez with some scoring chances against a Levante defense that will be organized and tough to beat.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-4-2)

Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Vermaelen, Alba; Roberto, Rakitic, Paulinho, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez

Levante (4-3-3)

Olazábal; Coke, Postigo, Cabaco, Luna; Doukouré; Jason, Lukic, Lerma, Ivi; Nano


PREDICTION

Levante will surely be very well organized and will make things tough for a while, but we’ll get the job done: 3-0 Barça.