By 90Min
December 15, 2018

Barcelona will be hoping to earn their tenth La Liga win of the season when they travel to Valencia to take on Levante this Sunday.

Ernesto Valverde's side are the current pace-setters in Spain's top tier this season, holding a three point lead over both Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, although know they face a tough game this weekend.

Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Levante currently sit in sixth place in La Liga with 22 points, just four points behind Real Madrid, and were the side that ended Barca's hopes of going the 2017/18 league season unbeaten after a memorable 5-4 win at the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia.


Where to Watch


When Is Kick Off? Sunday 16 December
What Time Is Kick Off? 19:45 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Estadi Ciutat de Valencia
TV Channel/ Live Stream? Eleven Sports
Referee? Jose Luis Gonzalez

Team News

Levante have a number of injury concerns ahead of the game as Samu Garcia (knee), Cheick Doukoure (calf) and Pedro Lopez (muscle) are all set to miss the game against the Spanish leaders.

Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Barcelona meanwhile are set to restore Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to the starting lineup this weekend, after the Argentine played the final 27 minutes in the Champions League in midweek, while the Uruguayan missed the game altogether. 

Samuel Umtiti (knee), Sergi Roberto (hamstring), Rafinha (cruciate ligament) are all ruled out for the game, while Malcom (ankle) is a doubt. 


Predicted Lineups


Levante Oier; Cabaco, Suarez Pier, Benito; Jason, Rochina, Campana, Bardhi, Tono; Roger, Morales.
Barcelona Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Messi, Suarez, Coutinho.

Head-to-Head

Levante and Barcelona have met on 24 occasions in all competitions, with the Catalan side holding the far superior record during their encounters with 18 wins, including seven of the last eight games.

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Along with four draws, Paco Lopez's side have just two wins against Barcelona, however one of those came in their most recent encounter, as an Emmanuel Boateng hat-trick helped seal a famous 5-4 win in May of last season, ending Barca's hopes of going the 2017/18 season unbeaten. 


Recent Form 

Levante enter the game on Sunday having lost just one of their last five games in all competitions, winning twice and drawing the other two games, with the Valencian side currently overachieving as they sit in sixth place in the league, having booked their place in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey, where they'll face Barcelona. 

After a 4-3 loss to Real Betis in mid-November, Barcelona are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions, winning four of those, as the club confirmed their place in the last 16 of both the Champions League and Copa de Rey.

Last Five Results

Levante Barcelona
Eibar 4-4 Levante (09/12) Barcelona 1-1 Tottenham (11/12)
Levante 2-0 Lugo (06/12) Espanyol 0-4 Barcelona (08/12)
Levante 3-0 Athletic Bilbao (03/12) Barcelona 4-1 Cultural Leonesa (05/12)
SD Huesca 2-2 Levante (24/11) Barcelona 2-0 Villarreal (02/12)
Levante 1-3 Real Sociedad (09/11) PSV Eindhoven 1-2 Barcelona (28/11)
Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Prediction

Barcelona's record against Levante suggests that Ernesto Valverde's side are set to record another La Liga win this Sunday, however it certainly won't be easy against the league's sixth-placed side.

Add to that the most recent encounter between the two sides, then Barca know they can't underestimate Levante, otherwise they run the risk of dropping points in Valencia. 

With Messi and Suarez expected to return to the starting lineup though, it's hard to see anything other than a Barcelona win.

Prediction: Levante 1-3 Barcelona 

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