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? FC Barcelona vs UD Levante: Match preview & line-ups

Saturday02 November 2019 | 8:06
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Barcelona travel to Valencia looking for a win that will keep them at the top of the La Liga standings.

Competition/Round: 2019-20 La Liga, Matchday 12

Date: Saturday, Nov. 2

Time: 11 a.m. ET

Venue: Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, Spain

Referee: Alejandro José Hernández Hernández

Ernesto Valverde's side have not been without their problems this season, but the Spanish champions are currently in a fine run of form having won their last seven matches in all competitions.

Barcelona are top of La Liga on 22 points, one point clear of second-placed Real Madrid. Granada will have the chance to return to the summit late on Thursday night, although Barca would regain first spot if they manage to triumph in Valencia on Saturday afternoon.

Barca's run of wins started at home to Villarreal on September 24; they have beaten Inter Milan and Slavia Prague in the Champions League since then, in addition to league successes over Getafe, Sevilla, Eibar, and Real Valladolid.

The champions put five past Valladolid at Camp Nou on Tuesday night, and they will fancy their chances of winning their next three in the league against Levante, Celta Vigo, and Leganes before visiting the Wanda Metropolitano to face Atletico Madrid at the start of December.

Lionel Messi finally appears to be over his early-season injury problems, and the Argentine has scored four times and registered three assists in his last three La Liga outings.

Levante have a fairly lengthy injury list at the moment with Tono, Oier Olazabal, Rober Pier and Cheick Doukoure among those unavailable for selection.

Head coach Lopez has no fresh concerns from the win over Sociedad during the week, though, and Jose Luis Morales and on-loan Real Madrid striker Borja Mayoral should continue as the front two.

Roger Marti is an option for change, though, while the likes of Sergio Leon are also pushing to make the XI.

Barca have had their injury problems this season but things are now looking fairly good for the champions.

Samuel Umtiti could again miss out this weekend with a knee problem, although the France international is no longer first choice for Valverde's side.

Jordi Alba had to be replaced in the latter stages of the clash with Valladolid due to a knock, but it is thought that the Spain international will shake off the problem to start this weekend.

Elsewhere, Ousmane Dembele is available having served a two-game domestic ban, but Antoine Griezmann is expected to return to the starting XI to feature alongside Luis Suarez and Messi.

Arthur was rested for the clash with Valladolid but should return, while Nelson Semedo is expected to keep his spot at right-back despite Sergi Roberto's return to fitness.

Head to head results:

A slender 1-0 win for Barça at Camp Nou in April this year came courtesy of Lionel Messi’s 62nd minute goal.

In the last fixture at the City of Valencia Stadium, Ernesto Valverde’s side ran riot. Five unanswered goals were scored by Messi (3), Luis Suárez and Gerard Piqué.

Key Statistics:

-Barça have scored at least two goals in 12 of their last 13 league games at Camp Nou, whilst Levante have failed to win in 11 of their last 12 away matches in the league.

-Levante have scored at least two goals in five of their last six league games, and Barça have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight home matches against Los Granotas in all competitions.

-Barça are unbeaten in their last 22 league matches, have won their last 13 home matches against Levante in all competitions and scored at least three goals in the last six of those.

Possible starting lineups:

BarcelonaXI:

Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Arthur, Busquets, De Jong; Griezmann, L Suarez, Messi

Levante XI:

Aitor; Miramar, Postigo, Vezo, Clerc; Campana, Radoja, Melero, Bardhi; Morales, Mayoral

Prediction:

Although Levante are capable of making it a difficult afternoon for Barca, the Blaugrana are expected to collect another three points with a routine win.


source: SportMob