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Primera División

  • 11 May 2011
  • • 19:00
  • • Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, Valencia
  • Referee: José Luis Paradas Romero
  • • Attendance: 17000
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Levante - Barcelona Preview: Catalans need just one point to seal La Liga title

Levante - Barcelona Preview: Catalans need just one point to seal La Liga title

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Pep Guardiola’s men will wrap up their third league success in a row with a draw on Wednesday night, while they will also be aiming to keep on course for 100 points


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PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Levante (4-2-3-1): Munua; Venta, Ballesteros, Nano, Juanfran; X. Torres, Iborra; Valdo, R. Suarez, Montero; Caicedo.
Juanlu, Sergio and Asier del Horno are all out injured, with the last of the trio having undergone an Achilles operation on Tuesday. Ruben is back in the squad, though.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Maxwell; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Villa.
There has been some good news for Pep Guardiola in recent days as Bojan Krkic and Maxwell have been declared fit for the trip to Valencia.

Carles Puyol continues to train away from the main body of the team along with Adriano, and neither are expected to figure on Wednesday.

DID YOU KNOW?
  • Levante have lost only three of their last 15 Liga encounters, pushing themselves into mid-table.

  • When the Valencia-based side were beaten 3-2 by Athletic Bilbao at the weekend, it was the first time that they had gone three matches without a win since January, when they suffered a five-game losing streak.

  • Scoring first tends to be important against Levante, as they have only recovered to win from a losing position once this season.

  • Against sides in the top half of the table, they have gained only 12 points from 16 encounters – the worst record in the league aside from basement side Almeria.

  • Barcelona, on the other hand, actually have a better record against teams in the top 10 positions, averaging 2.64 points a game, compared to 2.55 against the lesser ranked teams.

  • They have scored exactly 40 goals when playing sides ranked in the upper echelons of the table and have conceded only 10.

  • Pep Guardiola’s side lie second in the form table behind Malaga, who have picked up two more points than the Catalans in their last eight fixtures, conceding one goal less and scoring three goals more.

  • Away from home, the Catalans have slipped up only once in the league, losing surprisingly at Real Sociedad less than a fortnight ago.

  • If Barca win their remaining three games, they will clock up 100 points, and they only need nine goals to also hit 100 for the campaign.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
-Gustavo MunúaGoalkeeper
12Juan García GarcíaDefender
7NanoDefender
18BallesterosDefender
-Javi VentaDefender
-Xavi TorresMidfielder
-PallardóMidfielder
10IborraMidfielder
-XiscoMidfielder
9Felipe CaicedoStriker
23ValdoMidfielder
-Rubén SuárezMidfielder
-LarreaMidfielder
9Jefferson Antonio MonteroMidfielder
2CerraDefender
1Manolo ReinaGoalkeeper
8StuaniStriker
5Héctor RodasDefender
12Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
22Éric AbidalDefender
3PiquéDefender
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
22Daniel AlvesDefender
-Seydou KeitaMidfielder
6XaviMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
7David VillaStriker
10Lionel MessiStriker
20Ibrahim AfellayMidfielder
3Andreu Fontàs PratDefender
15BartraDefender
-Jeffrén SuárezStriker
7PedroStriker
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
Players to Watch
Gustavo Munúa
Gustavo Munúa
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Goalkeeper Gustavo Munua will feel that Wednesday night’s encounter is liable to be a busy one for him. A 25-time capped player with the Uruguayan national team, he has become used to playing behind a somewhat erratic defence, and the likelihood is that he will require a monumental performance if he is to keep a clean sheet.
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
1 2 0 0
Lionel Messi is in a battle with Cristiano Ronaldo over the Pichichi trophy, which the Portuguese made a leap at with four goals against Sevilla at the weekend. While the diminutive Argentine does not seem to have the same focus on that goal, he would certainly love to be crowned the league’s top scorer once more, and he will be targeting goals against Levante.
Prediction
It would be a colossal upset if Levante were to prevent Barcelona from claiming three points on Wednesday night. Though the home side have moved well into the middle region of the table, Pep Guardiola’s men represent a massive challenge, and Barca will be looking to mark this occasion in style.
Editor's Prediction

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