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

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Barça return to La Liga action hoping to end a two-game losing streak and start a positive run in the league

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Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona in action during the UEFA... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

FC Barcelona (9th, 14pts) vs Levante UD (18th, 11pts)*


*Points and positions at the time of writing on Saturday

Competition/Round: 2020-21 La Liga, Matchday 13

Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ansu Fati, Gerard Piqué, Sergi Roberto, Ousmane Dembélé (out)

Levante Outs & Doubts: Enis Bardhi, José Campaña, Cheick Doukouré (out)

Date/Time: Sunday, December 13, 2020, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Monday)

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Referee: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea

VAR: Santiago Jaime Latre

How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), LaLigaTV (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), Not Available (India), others

How to stream: FuboTV (USA), Premier Player (UK), Facebook Live (India), Movistar+ (Spain), others


Following an embarrassing loss to Juventus that cost them first place in the group and set them up for a truly horrible path in the Champions League knockouts, Barcelona return to action in La Liga with a game against Levante at the Greatest Stadium on Earth.

The situation in the league is well known by now: Barça haven’t found any consistency, with four wins and four losses in 10 games that put the Blaugrana twelve points behind leaders Atlético Madrid and just three points above the first team in the relegation zone, which is precisely their opponents this weekend, Levante.

Ronald Koeman has done a pathetic job coaching this team in big games, but Barça have been good against teams that are worse than them — at least at home. The challenge for this team used to be consistency until a week ago, but now the challenge is just to be good at playing football.

Koeman will most definitely not keep his job after the season regardless of which president takes over, but he must make sure that the next coach isn’t managing an Europa League team next season. The title is — and it’s crazy to say this in December after just 10 games — pretty much out of reach, but a Champions League spot isn’t and with no European football for the next three months there is no excuse for the bad league form to continue.

Levante have had a weird season so far: they are unbeaten in their last six, but prior to last weekend’s win against a 9-man Getafe they drew five games in a row by a score of 1-1, and they’ve been straight up bad against the strongest teams in the league. The attack isn’t potent enough to keep up with Barça and the defense has conceded 15 goals in 11 games, so this should be a comfortable night for the Blaugrana, especially at home.

But there are no comfortable games in La Liga for Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona, and that’s just pathetic. Be better or don’t be here, Ronald.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-2-3-1): Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, De Jong; Messi, Griezmann, Coutinho; Braithwaite

Levante (4-4-2): Fernández; Coke, Vezo, Postigo, Clerc; Frutos, Melero, Vukcevic, Rochina; Gómez, Martí


PREDICTION

As bad as we’ve been this season, we continue to be good at home in the league, and that will continue: 4-2 Barça.