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Primera División

  • April 20, 2013
  • • 19:00
  • • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
  • • Attendance: 70957
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Barcelona-Levante Preview: Blaugrana look to close in on Liga title

Barcelona-Levante Preview: Blaugrana look to close in on Liga title

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The Catalan giants will aim to continue their march towards a 22nd Primera Division crown but face a Granotes outfit looking to restore pride after heavy back-to-back defeats


Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has returned to training after a thigh injury but is unlikely to start against Levante at Camp Nou on Saturday.

Sergio Busquets (groin) should also be fit but Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano (both knee) remain sidelined.

Levante midfielder Vicente Iborra is suspended after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season in the defeat against Deportivo La Coruna.

Boss Juan Ignacio Martinez has no other selection concerns but is likely to make changes to his starting XI after crushing back-to-back losses against Real Madrid and Deportivo.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Barcelona are on a 11-match winning run in La Liga.
  • With 98 goals scored in their 31 matches so far, the Blaugrana boast the best attack in the Primera Division.
  • Lionel Messi (pictured, right) is La Liga's top scorer this season with 43 goals in 29 appearances.
  • Levante are in an eight-match winless run away from home in La Liga (D3, L5).
  • The Valencian club have lost seven of their last eight meetings with Barcelona.
  • Levante have won just one of the six matches they have contested since the sale of Obafemi Martins to Major League Soccer outfit Seattle Sounders in March.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
2MontoyaDefender
21AdrianoDefender
22Éric AbidalDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
7David VillaStriker
20TelloStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
15BartraDefender
18Jordi AlbaDefender
6XaviMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
7PedroStriker
9Alexis SánchezStriker
-K. NavasGoalkeeper
3David NavarroDefender
12Juan García GarcíaDefender
19Pedro LópezDefender
24Loukas VyntraDefender
-BarkeroMidfielder
-RubénMidfielder
-DiopMidfielder
25Nabil El ZharMidfielder
-SimãoMidfielder
12Robert AcquafrescaStriker
-Gustavo MunúaGoalkeeper
5Héctor RodasDefender
18BallesterosDefender
23ValdoMidfielder
24MíchelMidfielder
14Pedro RíosStriker
-Roger MartíStriker
Players to Watch
Tello
Tello
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
22 1 0 0
The 21-year-old forward struck an impressive double as an understrength Barcelona side coasted to victory at Zaragoza last Sunday. Tello's raw pace adds a different dimension to Barca's attack and he will be keen to state his case for inclusion in the team for the Champions League clash against Bayern Munich with another solid performance against Levante.
Nabil El Zhar
Nabil El Zhar
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 25
Games Goals YC RC
24 4 3 0
The Morocco international is likely to be handed a start as Juan Ignacio Martinez seeks to reinvigorate an attack that has found the net just three times in its last seven outings in all competitions. El Zhar has scored just two Liga goals in 25 Liga apperances this season and will look to improve on that dismal record at Camp Nou.
Prediction
This should be a banker home win for Barcelona, who have been in imperious form in La Liga and will look to wrap up the title as soon as possible to fully concentrate on Europe. Levante appear to have run out of steam after competing in three competitions with a small squad and could suffer another big defeat at Camp Nou.
Editor's Prediction

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