In-form Levante In The Way As Barca Look For Unbeaten Season
FC Barcelona have to avoid defeat in just two more games in order to become the first Spanish side in history to go an entire season in the Liga Santander without tasting defeat.
Ernesto Valverde takes the league champions down the east coast to Valencia on Sunday where they will face an in-form Levante in the Ciudad de Valencia stadium in a game which could be more complicated than many Barca fans may think.
Levante were fourth from bottom of the table when Paco Lopez replaced Juan Muniz as coach, but the former B-team coach has worked a minor miracle, winning 7 of the 9 games he has been in charge to steer the team to safety.
Lopez has given confidence to the club’s more attacking players with Jose Luis Morales in outstanding form and midfielder Enis Bardhi a real danger from set pieces.
Barcelona travel after beating Villarreal 5-1 in midweek in a game where they once again showed their threat in attack and where Ousmane Dembele finally began to show by the club which paid so much money to sign him last summer.
Dembele scored Barca’s last two goals on the night and could keep his place in the starting 11, even though Luis Suarez will return after kicking off Wednesday on the subs’ bench.
Sergi Roberto meanwhile will serve the second game of the four-game ban he was given by the Spanish Football Federation for the red card he saw in last Sunday’s ‘Clasico’ against Real Madrid.
Sunday could also see January signing Yerry Mina given a chance to play as Samuel Umtiti has not recovered from the injury he suffered against Real Madrid, although whether Valverde will partner Mina with Thomas Vermaelen or Gerard Pique, who on Friday was in Madrid to watch the Mutua Madrid Open with Real Madrid players, Lucas Vazquez and Marco Arsenio is still to be decided.
Barca aim to make history and for that reason Valverde will be demanding full concentration from his side on Sunday.