Barcelona have finally found some rhythm and put aside their underwhelming form to get back to where they belong - the top of the table. The champions now travel to Valencia to face Levante, while second-placed Real Madrid face Real Betis and will be expected to win.
So, it’s imperative for Barcelona to take three points from Saturday’s match at all costs. The head-to-head record is in Barcelona’s favor, as Levante have won just two of the last 26 league meetings between the two teams.
Let’s see the three things Barcelona can do to win against Levante:
Guard the Right Flank
Levante employ a 4-4-2 formation and look to attack down their left side (41% of all their attacks come from that flank) and are a fast-paced team. Therefore Barcelona need to keep a tight grip on the field, especially down their right hand side, and their choice of right-back will be crucial. Closing down Levante’s wingers quickly will curb the home side’s chances and be crucial to the visitors’ hopes of controlling the game
Capitalize on Shot-Taking Opportunities
Levante have conceded the most shots per game in the league (18.2) and Barcelona should make the most of that statistic. Barcelona have recorded stats of 12.4 shots per game, with 5.5 on target and should be aiming to improve that latter stat. The connection among the attacking trident will be crucial, though it’s likely that one of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezman or Luis Suarez may be rested ahead of Tuesday’s clash against Slavia Prague in the Champions League.
Press Levante High
Levante like to play in their own half (with around 33% of their play, the joint highest in the league) but have an average possession stat of around 47.7%, compared to Barcelona’s humongous 61.5%, naturally the highest in the league. Interestingly, Barcelona like to play in the opposition half and control the game. It will be really interesting to see how Levante manage to play in their own half and not give the ball away. The visiting team can press the opposition right inside their own half and force scoring chances.