Levante UD (19th, 22pts) vs FC Barcelona (3rd, 57pts)
Competition/Round: 2021-22 La Liga, Matchday 31
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ansu Fati, Gerard Piqué, Sergiño Dest, Memphis Depay, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti (out)
Levante Outs & Doubts: Shkodran Mustafi, Martin Cáceres, Jorge de Frutos, Carlos Clerc (out)
Date/Time: Sunday, April 10, 2022, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Monday)
Venue: Estadio Ciutat de València, València, Spain
Referee: José Luis Munuera Montero
VAR: Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva
How to watch on TV: Not Available (USA, Canada), Premier Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), MTV (India), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), others
How to watch online: ESPN+ (USA), LaLigaTV (UK), others
Following a hard-fought draw against Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany in the Europa League in midweek, Barcelona have no time to rest and are right back in La Liga action as they travel to the beautiful city of València to face Levante on Sunday Night Fútbol.
Barça had a disappointing night on Thursday and played below the high standards set over the last two months, and were perhaps caught off guard by an excellent Frankfurt side. The result could and should have been much worse, though, so the Blaugrana are still in a good position to reach the semi-finals in Europe.
But if things aren’t exactly perfect in continental competition, the league form is exceptional: six wins in a row, most of them against top opposition, and a firm grip not only on the Top 4 but on second place as well. If they win on Sunday Barça will finish the weekend level on points but above Sevilla on the head-to-head record, with a game in hand as a bonus as well.
And at least in theory, the Blaugrana don’t have that tough a job this weekend: Levante have been a very bad team all season and are almost a lock for relegation with eight games to play. But they have shown signs of life in recent weeks under Alessio Lisci, their third manager of the season who has finally given the team some tactical structure and at least some hope for a fight against the drop.
Levante have won three and lost just two of their last seven in the league, their best run of the season which leaves them seven points away from safety. A win or even a draw against a red-hot Barça side would be a giant confidence boost, and they can feel confident of being at least competitive on Sunday in front of what is always a very passionate crowd in their home stadium.
Barça’s form in the league makes them huge favorites, and Xavi Hernández’s team has proven it won’t be complacent and will take a game like this seriously. Levante will be better than their place in the table shows, but Barça know the importance of the three points and it’s hard to see them not winning this one.
And yet... You never really know, do you? Football is a funny old game.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Alves, Araujo, Eric, Alba; Gavi, F. De Jong, Pedri; Dembélé, Aubameyang, Ferran
Levante (3-5-2): Cárdenas; Rober, Vezo, Postigo; Miramón, Pepelu, Radoja, Melero, Son; Roger, Morales
Barça haven’t had two bad games in a row under Xavi in a long time, and I think the trend continues in this one even though Levante will put up a good fight, at least early on: 3-0 to the good guys, and a good performance too.