Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Prediction: Levante vs Barcelona

Verdict: Total away goals over 2.5

Best odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: 888sport

Levante are set to host Barcelona at the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia on Tuesday evening in a match of round 36 that could secure survival for one or put the other momentarily at the top of the La Liga table. 

Levante

A point is all Levante need to mathematically secure a place in the Spanish top flight for next season, and even if they fail to earn it against Barcelona, they will have two more shots. Further more, unless Huesca or Elche win all their remaining fixtures, Levante’s current tally of 39 points, which has them in 14th place, will be enough for the goal to be achieved. A finish in this region of the table will be nothing new for the Valencia-based side, who ended the previous three seasons in 15th (twice) and 12th.

However, the form Levante have shown recently will be a worrying factor ahead of the clash against a team hoping to win the title. From their last six league outings, Paco Lopez’s side won just one, a 0-1 triumph away to Eibar in early April. Four straight defeats followed; 1-5 at home against Villarreal, 0-1 at home against Sevilla, 1-0 away to Elche and 2-0 away to Celta Vigo. Last time out, they played a 2-2 draw away to Alaves, where they overturned the hosts’ lead in the first half only to concede an equalizer with three minutes remaining on the clock.

Team News

Lopez won’t be able to call upon midfielders Jose Campana, Nemanja Radoja and Nikola Vukcevic, and he will likely want to rotate his team slightly due to no more than three days passing between the previous match and this one. Defender Ruben Vezo, midfielder Enis Bardhi and forward Roger Marti could all start, having been left on the bench against Alaves.

Barcelona

After the goalless draw between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid on Saturday, the race for the La Liga title was completely in the hands of Real Madrid, but Los Blancos failed to take advantage as they barely scraped a 2-2 draw at home against Sevilla later that day. As things stand, Atletico are in the lead with 77 points, Real are second with 75, the same tally as Barcelona in third. Sevilla are a bit further off with 71, and all four teams have three matches left to play.

Barcelona’s recent form doesn’t look exactly title-winning, but everything is obviously still up for grabs. Nonetheless, it’s absolutely imperative for the Catalans to win on Tuesday. Their last-six run in the league starts with a 1-0 win at home against Valladolid, followed by the El Clasico defeat in Madrid by 2-1. Then they won 5-2 at home against Getafe and 1-2 away to Villarreal, before suffering a shocking home defeat to Granada by 1-2. The line ends with the Atletico Madrid draw already mentioned.

Meanwhile, they managed to pick up the Copa del Rey trophy by thoroughly revenging themselves on Athletic Bilbao in the final (4-0), after the Basque team beat them to it in the delayed final of the same competition for last season.

Team News

Winger Ansu Fati and midfielder Philippe Coutinho remain out with long-term injuries, and midfielder Sergio Busquets picked up a problem in the Atletico game, so Ronald Koeman won’t be able to count on him either.

Sergi Roberto could therefore get a spot in the midfield section alongside Frenkie de Jong, with Sergino Dest likely to cover the right flank.

Conclusion

Barcelona are the absolute favourites to take the three points back from the Ciutat de Valencia, especially given the fact that they have the best away record in the league this season and that Levante’s exploits at home have been far from good. On top of that, Barcelona’s need for those points is obviously desperate, and they’ll be looking to make their triumph as convincing as possible.

Verdict: Total away goals over 2.5

Best odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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