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Primera División

  • 25 November 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, Valencia
  • Referee: Pedro Jesús Pérez Montero
  • • Attendance: 24234
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Levante - Barcelona Preview: Vilanova's rampant side look to extend Liga lead

Levante - Barcelona Preview: Vilanova's rampant side look to extend Liga lead

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After qualifying for the Champions League last 16, the Catalans will be out to drive home their advantage at the top of the table when they travel to the Ciutat de Valencia

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

LEVANTE

Munua
Lell, Ballesteros, Navarro, Juanfran
Diop, Iborra
El Zhar, Barkero, Juanlu
Martins
BARCELONA

Valdes
Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Pedro, Messi, Villa


Levante have no fresh injury worries ahead of Sunday's Primera Division encounter with Barcelona.

Striker Obafemi Martins returns to the squad after being cup-tied for the Europa League match against Helsingborgs, but right-back Pedro Lopez is suspended after his red card in the 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna last weekend.

Thiago (knee) and Adriano (thigh) have returned to training for Barcelona and have an outside chance of making the bench.

Sergio Busquets returns from suspension, but Alexis Sanchez, Marc Bartra and Isaac Cuenca all remain sidelined.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Levante have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions at the Ciutat de Valencia.
  • Los Granotes have lost six of their last seven encounters with Barcelona.
  • Levante have kept four clean sheets in their last six Liga matches.
  • Barcelona are on a five-match winning run in La Liga.
  • With 39 goals in their 12 matches so far, the Catalans possess the most potent attack in the Primera Division.
  • Lionel Messi (pictured, right) needs five more goals to equal Gerd Muller's calendar year record tally of 85 set in 1972.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
-Gustavo MunúaGoalkeeper
3David NavarroDefender
12Juan García GarcíaDefender
18BallesterosDefender
2Christian LellDefender
-BarkeroMidfielder
25Nabil El ZharMidfielder
10IborraMidfielder
8JuanluMidfielder
-DiopMidfielder
9Obafemi MartinsStriker
-K. NavasGoalkeeper
5Héctor RodasDefender
-Nikos KarabelasDefender
14Pedro RíosStriker
-MíchelMidfielder
-RubénMidfielder
-ÁngelStriker
12Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
3PiquéDefender
5Carles PuyolDefender
18Jordi AlbaDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
6XaviMidfielder
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
10Lionel MessiStriker
7PedroStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
2MontoyaDefender
21AdrianoDefender
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
37TelloStriker
Players to Watch
Obafemi Martins
Obafemi Martins
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Nigeria international continued his goal scoring form for Levante last weekend when he netted against Deportivo La Coruna to extend his season tally to five. Martins will look to put pressure on the Barcelona backline and take advantage of the space behind the defenders on the counterattack.
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Argentina captain grabbed his ninth double of the season in the 3-0 win over Spartak Moscow on Tuesday to secure his team a place in the last 16 of the Champions League. Messi will look to continue his prodigious goalscoring run and fire his team to victory over a defensively resilient Levante side.
Prediction
Levante will try to do what Celtic did so successfully earlier in the month: defend stoically and take their chances on the counterattack. But Barcelona are in such good form going forward that they are unlikely to fall for the same tactic twice.
Editor's Prediction

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