A brace from Pedro Rodriguez ensured no Christmas hangover for Barcelona as Pep Guardiola's side created a five-point gap between themselves and Real Madrid at the La Liga summit.
The champions had to construct a makeshift back-four due to the absence of Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol, who were both out due to suspension and injury respectively.
Anchorman Sergio Busquets was inserted into a central defensive partnership with Eric Abidal with Maxwell operating down the left flank and Dani Alves, as always, on the opposite side. Lionel Messi was given the night off to recover from his travels back from his native Argentina.
For all Barcelona’s domination in possession during the first half they were unable to break down a superbly well-drilled Levante defence, who held their shape magnificently well and made it hard for their hosts.
Luis Garcia’s men had conceded eight goals against Real Madrid prior to Christmas and looked like a different outfit with everybody in a black and white shirt performing their duties impeccably.
Andres Iniesta drew first blood in the attempts as his diligent curling effort from just outside the eighteen-yard box on six minutes brought out a magnificent save from Manolo Reina who showed great agility to claw the ball behind for a corner.
David Villa soon followed up minutes later as he worked himself a pocket of space just outside the area but saw his right footed effort go wide of the post.
For all Barcelona’s domination in midfield they lacked conviction in the final third. The absence of Lionel Messi was evident down the flanks and they could have done with the little Argentine superstar weaving his was inside to orchestrate a piece of magic.
In fact, it was Levante who very nearly opened the scoring. Victor Valdes’s mistake presented them with an opportunity which saw Rafa Jorda inside the penalty area unmarked but was unable to divert the ball past Valdes – who subsequently turned out to be offside.
Nevertheless, had the home team been deeper they could of found themselves a goal down. Again, minutes later, another fantastic chance for the visitors as Xisco Nadal’s delicate touch found Juanlu bursting down the right but as he got into the penalty area he was unable to square the ball to Jorda for what would have been an easy tap in. Credit to Eric Abidal whose persistence put the Spaniard off at the vital time. The Blaugrana defence however, were sliced apart.
Guardiola’s side continued with their domination in midfield and created a number of half chances. Iniesta used his initiative to weave his way through the middle and play in Bojan but was unable to find the net after rounding Reina. Iniesta was again involved minutes later as his diligent cut back via a short corner saw Xavi drive the ball goalwards but was denied by a commanding Reina in between the sticks.