Barcelona’s seven-game winning streak has come to an end thanks to a terrible 3-1 loss to Levante on Saturday afternoon in València. After a solid first half the Blaugrana completely fell apart in the second, unable to defend and devoid of creativy once they fell behind. This loss is fully on Ernesto Valverde, who made no halftime adjustments and was caught by a mid-table coach who did and then destroyed him.
From the start Barça established themselves as the dominant force in the game, taking control of possession and forcing a Levante team that looked hungry to press to retreat and defend deep inside their half to try and stop a Barça team with numbers forward and plenty of movement up front to try and break down a solid defense.
Most of Barça’s good work in the first half came from the left side with the trio of Arthur, Nélson Semedo and Antoine Griezmann constantly looking for each other with Lionel Messi also finding them with smart passes to switch play whenever the ball was on the right flank. Griezmann had his two best chances down that side, and that’s also where the goal came from: beautiful pass from Arthur, smart dummy from Griezmann, and Semedo was fouled inside the box by Miramón.
Penalty to Barça, Messi scores from the spot to give the visitors a deserved lead at halftime. The Blaugrana were dominant and sharp in the first half, and they just needed to finish the job to walk away with a win.
Instead of coming out of the halftime break with the same intensity and looking to score more goals Barça looked lethargic and more than happy to keep the ball and not concede the equalizer, which invited Levante forward and really made things tough for the Barça defense who had to face a blitz from the home side.
It didn’t take long for the Blaugrana defense to crack: just 15 minutes into the half Campaña equalized, and just two minutes later he found Borja Mayoral who put his team in front with a great strike from outside the box. To make things worse, Radoja made it 3-1 after a poor clearance from Lenglet gave him a chance to score an ugly volley that deflected off Busquets, and the Barça defense managed to concede three goals in eight minutes.
The rest of the game was about the Blaugrana trying to get back in the game, and they almost did very soon after conceding the third, but Messi had a goal correctly disallowed by VAR for an offside on Griezmann, and that was pretty much it for any meaningful attacking moment by the Catalans who had absolutely zero idea of what to do with the ball in the second half.
The final whistle came to end a pathetic second half performance that led to a deserved loss, and Barça probably won’t top the table anymore. We got Valverde’d again! Yay!
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Semedo; Vidal (Busquets 65’), De Jong, Arthur (Ansu Fati 66’); Messi, Suárez (Pérez 40’), Griezmann
Goal: Messi (38’)
Levante: Aitor; Miramón, Postigo, Vezo, Clerc; Campaña (Cabaco 87’), Radoja, Melero, Bardhi (Rochina 62’); Morales (Vukcevic 82’), Mayoral
Goals: Campaña (61’), Mayoral (63’), Radoja (68’)