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Preview: Barcelona – Levante

Just three days after beating Espanyol 2-1 away in the Copa del Rey last-16 first leg, Levante now face the daunting trip to runaway La Liga (LL) leaders Barcelona, whose season has been almost flawless so far. Ahead of the weekend’s action, the Catalan giants hold a huge nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid.

 

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Barca (45pts, W14, D3, GD+38) and Manchester City (62pts, W20, D2, GD+51) now stand alone as the only undefeated sides in Europe’s top five leagues this campaign, and both have shown no signs of slowing down. Ernesto Valverde’s men have won their last three LL games (Villarreal, Dep. La Coruna and Real Madrid) and extended their unbeaten streak to 26 games (W20, D6) in all competitions with a 1-1 draw at Celta in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

Sixteenth-placed Levante (18pts, W3, D9, L5, GD-7), on the other hand, are winless in their past five league games and have taken just nine points from the last 32 available. Looking on the bright side, they have gone five games undefeated away from home (W1, D4, three clean sheets).

Can you guess which LL side have managed to find the back of the net in all of their league matches this season? It’s none other than Barca, who have been lethal in front of goal (45) and rock solid defensively. Barca have conceded just seven goals, their lowest goals conceded from the opening 17 games since the 1986/87 season.

Levante have never beaten Barca at the Camp Nou in the league. Los Azulones were brushed aside in their last three league trips to the (7-0 in 2013/14, 5-0 in 2014/15 and 4-1 in 2015/16).

Players to watch: Ousmane Dembele, Barca’s most expensive signing ever, made his return after a three-month injury absence coming on for the final 20 minutes in the Copa clash with Celta.

Stat attack: 31 of Barca’s 45 LL goals (68.9%) this season have come in the second half. Levante have the lowest average ball possession (37.0%) away from home in the competition.

 

Missing players

Barcelona: S. Busquets (suspension), P. Alcacer (muscle injury), S. Umtiti (muscle injury), G. Deulofeu (doubtful), Rafinha (doubtful), A. Turan (doubtful)

Levante: A. Alegria (knee injury), E. Bardhi (suspension), J. Campana (suspension), I. Lopez (muscle injury), J. Morales (suspension), M. Roger (knee injury), Nano (doubtful).