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Live Barcelona Blog: Ernesto Valverde’s aspect have unfinished business as they discuss with Levante – Article


On Sunday, La Liga leaders Barcelona go back to the bottom the place their goals of going a whole season unbeaten within the league collapsed remaining season.

Levante ended their “Invincibles” bid with a 5-Four win in May, and a slip-up this weekend could see Barcelona lose most sensible spot within the league. They cross into this round of fixtures with just a three-point lead over Sevilla and Atletico Madrid.

Here are the speaking issues forward of the game.

BARCELONA ON A MISSION

The remaining time those two met, the fit become an speedy vintage. Barcelona, using a 36-game unbeaten run in La Liga, had to live to tell the tale two games to finish a historical unbeaten season.

Instead, they fell in the back of 5-1 away to then the league’s 15th-placed aspect, after which Levante hung on within the face of a livid Barcelona comeback to safe a well-known 5-Four win, denying La Blaugrana their position in historical past.

Sunday’s game, then, gives Barca a shot at revenge. But how a lot will that earlier matchup be at the team’s thoughts?

Gerard Pique, as an example, got here at the pitch to switch Thomas Vermaelen with the ranking simplest at 2-0, after which seemed all at sea as Levante’s assault punished a leaky defence. Jordi Alba used to be a part of that defence, as smartly. Ousmane Dembele had one in all his worst games of his debut season on the membership.

Philippe Coutinho a minimum of can have some delightful reminiscences of the game, having scored a hat-trick in Barca’s comeback strive. And after all, Lionel Messi wasn’t even within the squad.

This is a game the place one Levante goal could deliver again haunting reminiscences for Barcelona. Can they conquer that?

Barcelona is not going to have glad reminiscences of Levante.

LEVANTE A DIFFERENT PROSPECT

Making the danger even larger for Barcelona is the truth that it is a other Levante aspect to the one who beat them. That used to be an aspect coping with the specter of relegation, languishing in 15th position within the desk. This Levante is these days 6th, just 9 issues in the back of Barca.

Their penchant for being all in favour of loopy games hasn’t long gone away, alternatively. Just remaining week, Levante drew 4-Four with Eibar, whilst in addition they received 3-Zero away against Real Betis – the similar Betis that received 4-Three on the Nou Camp just over a month in the past.

And Levante famously beat Real Madrid in October, a end result that hastened the tip for Julen Lopetegui’s reign on the membership; he used to be sacked one fit later after shedding to Barcelona.

Levante additionally lost 6-2 at home to Sevilla, a deficient end result however one that also displays how thrilling a Levante game may also be. And Barcelona don’t want reminding.

Emmanuel Boateng has been looking for form and health this season, having scored simplest once, and the sight of Barcelona’s defence could also be just what he wishes. He scored a hat-trick the remaining time he confronted them.

Even with out his goals, alternatively, Levante are a much-improved aspect in comparison to the team that pulled off remaining season’s surprise win.

A loss to Levante hastened the end for Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid.

A loss to Levante hastened the tip for Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid.

DEMBELE CAN CONTINUE TO PROVE A POINT

Dembele used to be Barcelona’s brightest spark on Tuesday against Tottenham, torturing Spurs’ defence during, and he’s come far from the player who underwhelmed on this fixture remaining season.

On that day, as the entirety used to be collapsing for Barcelona, Dembele had the worst passing accuracy of any player on his team, barring Paco Alcacer who got here on to switch him. He didn’t have a unmarried shot on target, and seemed totally disjointed from the remainder of Barca’s assault.

Now, the younger Frenchman is in the most efficient form since becoming a member of the Catalan membership, having scored 9 goals and assisted any other 5 in 20 appearances this season.

His self-discipline assists in keeping coming under the scanner, as he unearths novel tactics to be overdue for coaching or another way get under the surface of his teammates and supervisor, however Barcelona know his worth. Messi said this week that the membership want Dembele, and Barca could be seven issues worse off with out the 21-year-old’s goals this season.

As lengthy as he assists in keeping that form up, all his self-discipline and paintings ethic problems might be tolerated, if now not neglected. Sunday is a great alternative, on his go back to a floor that may hang no glad reminiscences for him, to turn how a lot he’s stepped forward.

Ousmane Dembele has been silencing the critics.

Ousmane Dembele has been silencing the critics.

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