FC Barcelona (1st, 80pts) vs Levante UD (15th, 37pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Friday
Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 35
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Rafinha (out)
Levante Outs & Doubts: Chieck Doukouré (out), Sergio Postigo, Chema Rodríguez, Erick Cabaco (doubt)
Date/Time: Saturday, April, 27, 2019, 8.45pm CET (Barcelona), 7.45pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 2.45pm ET, 11.45am PT (USA), 12.15am IST (India, Sunday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barceona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea (a good one for once!)
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS En Español (USA & Canada - Spanish only), Eleven Sports 1, ITV 4 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India), Movistar Partidazo (Spain), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), ITV Hub (UK), Movistar+ (Spain), others
Following a dominant, comfortable victory over Alavés to truly kill any chance of a miracle in the final rounds of the La Liga season, Barcelona are now just three points away from officially winning the title when they welcome Levante to the Greatest Stadium on Earth. But maybe Barça will be just one point away. Or maybe none.
Atlético Madrid face Real Valladolid a little over two hours before Barça, and if the Colchoneros lose at home they can no longer catch the champions and the title race will be over. If they avoid defeat, then all Barça need to do is match Atleti’s result: a draw for a draw, a win for a win. A soul for a soul (sorry for that reference, I just watched Avengers: Endgame. Just a fantastic movie. It was so exciting that the theater was louder than the Etihad Stadium. Don’t worry, I’m a Manchester City fan).
If they do have to win, the Blaugrana need to be careful: Levante are a really good attacking team. Only three teams have scored more goals than them, and all three are in the top 5. They can hit you in all kinds of ways: high pressing, long balls, counter-attack, possession, set pieces. The reason why they’re near the bottom is their defense: 61 goals conceded in 34 games, the second-worst record in La Liga. If Barça are really focused and solid with the ball, they’ll get whatever they want. And if they’re good defensively, this should be a great win to clinch the title and give the Camp Nou crowd a big energy boost before Liverpool come to town.
In fact, this is exactly why Barça need to win La Liga on Saturday: Liverpool are coming. Imagine not winning this one and needing a strong team next week instead of resting everybody for the trip to Anfield? Imagine how nervous the atmosphere would be on Wednesday if they blew it against Levante? No, this is it. This must be the title winner.
This is must be the endgame.
(If you didn’t see another Avengers reference coming while reading the penultimate paragraph, it’s your fault. I’m fired up about this movie.)
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Murillo, Umtiti, Alba; Vidal, Rakitic, Arthur; Malcom, Messi, Dembélé
Levante (4-3-3): Fernández; Coke, Pier, Vezo, Toño; Rochina, Vukcevic, Campaña; Jason, Martí, Morales
Atlético always make you work, even if they don’t face you, so they’ll win their game and Barça will win theirs too: 4-1, Messi hat-trick, let’s celebrate.