Skip to main content

3 points to ponder: Why Barcelona beat Levante (includes video highlights)

Barcelona took another three points after a comfortable 4-1 win against Levante on Camp Nou on Sunday, continuing the perfect start of the season with yet another strong performance.

Luis Enrique made several changes in the lineup, compared to the team that started against Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday. Dani Alves returned after an injury and reclaimed his right back position from the in-form Sergi Roberto. Marc Bartra was chosen to replace Gerard Pique, who served his last of the 4-game suspension, and partnered with Javier Mascherano in the centre of Barca’s defence.

Jordi Alba was replaced by Adriano in a rare start for the Brazilian this season, while Sandro and Munir gave a deserved rest to Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez. Luis Enrique chose to play Messi behind the attacking trio Neymar - Sandro - Munir, a position often quoted by the Argentinian as his favourite.

Barcelona dominated the ball in the first half with a complete control of the possession, however the passing in the final third of the pitch was not simply good enough. Sandro was hardly visible during the first 45 minutes of the game, while Neymar found it difficult to have an impact other than missing a chance in the 21st minute. Munir was the most active of the attacking trio, endangering Levante’s goal with a clear chance in the 28th minute which was saved by Ruben Martinez.

The second half, however, started great for the Catalans with Bartra giving them the lead with a goal five minutes after the break. The defender showed great control after receiving Messi’s cross in the penalty box and had no trouble putting the ball in the back of the net.

Neymar was quick to double the lead for Barcelona in the 56th minute after a series of ricochets in the Levante’s box while also earning a penalty which Messi converted for 3-0 five minutes later.

Levante managed to return a quick goal after taking advantage of Ter Stegen’s mistake, but it was not enough to turn the game around.

In the 75th minute Messi had another chance to convert a penalty, but he put the ball over the bar - missing his second penalty in a month after the one against Bilbao.

However, the Argentine quickly capped off his superb performance by scoring his second goal in the game in the 91st minute after finishing a typical Messi brake with a shot in the left corner.

It was a great night in which Barcelona’s players showed that they can win despite the injuries in the squad.

Here are the three reasons why Barcelona beat Levante:

Messi continued on fire

Messi thrived in his favourite enganche position. He was the main driving force behind the team, directing the game and creating chances. He was involved in every dangerous attack and in every goal in the game. It was obvious that he embraced his position on the field which provided him with more freedom than usual, being able to attack the box from every direction. 

Sure, Messi did miss yet another penalty (taking his career conversion rate to an unimpressive 77%) but his double won Barcelona the game.

Marc Bartra proved his worth

Marc Bartra put up a great performance. He was very confident in defending the goal but also going forward, which proved vital for scoring the first for Barcelona. He showed great stability in the air, clearing several of Levante’s crosses. It was a showcase game for the young defender, very much needed in times as these -- when Enrique is finding it difficult to have a healthy squad and relying on every available player.

Sandro, Munir failed to shine despite starting XI opportunity

The young La Masia players featured tonight didn’t convince their coach with their performance. Both Sandro and Munir showed that they have qualities, but need to work a lot more in order to be reliable back ups for either of Neymar, Messi and Suarez.

Sandro was hardly visible during the whole game with the most memorable moment being his open goal miss in the first half. His frustration was evident on several occasions, but he must embrace this chance and learn from it in order to come back stronger.

Munir was the more active of the two, but still needs more focus and drive. He came close in scoring but Ruben Martinez denied his effort. He was looking for the ball and looked more comfortable in his combination with the rest of the players, compared to Sandro.

However, in order to be considered in games against harder opponents, both Sandro and Munir will have to show a lot more.

By Stefan Satchkov, columnist at Barcablog. Follow him on Twitter @StefanSatchkov


Popular posts from this blog

Who should Barcelona sign this summer? | The Barcablog Podcast

Marco Verratti and Thiago Alcantara are only two of the names discussed. Who else should be considered to join Barca during the summer transfer window? What does the team truly need?

This video is brought to you by FUBOTV. We have secured an EXCLUSIVE discount for you to watch ALL FC Barcelona matches in HD by clicking HERE -- You will also be supporting our podcast as well as we get a very small commission whenever our link is used.

The Barcablog Podcast #2 | Pique, Ramos, Verratti, Thiago, Ronaldinho and more!

Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Marco Verratti, Thiago Alcantara, Ronaldinho and Dani Alves are only a few of the names discussed by Francesc and Dan in Episode #2 of The Barcablog Podcast. As always, you are in for a treat -- If you love FC Barcelona and opinionated Cules speaking their mind, that is!

This episode is brought to you by FUBOTV. We have secured an EXCLUSIVE discount for you to watch ALL FC Barcelona matches in HD by clicking HERE -- You will also be supporting our podcast as well as we get a very small commission whenever our link is used.

Enjoy the show!

Barcelona Podcast: Who is the best Brazilian to ever play for Barca?

Barcelona fans have witnessed the very best of Brazil at the Camp Nou for decades. With so many talented stars to choose from, Francesc and Dan have a difficult task ahead in their podcast: Can anyone beat Dani Alves to the top spot of our 'Best of Brazil' countdown?

Did Barcelona deserve to lose La Liga? | The Barcablog Podcast

Barcelona lost La Liga to Real Madrid after taking the title race to the very last game. Did Messi, Neymar, Suarez and the rest of the Barca stars do enough to secure the trophy?

This video is brought to you by FUBOTV. We have secured an EXCLUSIVE discount for you to watch ALL FC Barcelona matches in HD by clicking HERE -- You will also be supporting our podcast as well as we get a very small commission whenever our link is used.

Marco Reus, preferred transfer target for Barca fans | Barcelona News

THE BARCABLOG PODCAST | Replacing Luis Enrique, Discussing La Masia | Episode I

We are proud to bring you our first ever The Barcablog Podcast! In this episode, Francesc and Dan discuss Luis Enrique’s replacement, Barça’s chances to win La Liga, the effectiveness of La Masia, Marlon’s impact on the first team, the future of Denis Suarez -- And some more mildly interesting random stuff!

Plus a special edition of ‘Random Corner’ in which the boys break down their horrendous 'The Worst 5 Barcelona signings of the XXI century' countdown. Did anyone beat Alexandr Hleb in our Top of the Flops list?

This episode is brought to you by FUBOTV. As a thank you, we have secured an EXCLUSIVE discount for you to watch every FC Barcelona match in HD by clicking HERE -- You will also be supporting our podcast as well as we get a very small commission whenever our link is used.

Enjoy the show!

How to watch every Barcelona game online, on mobile and on TV

Barcelona, lead by their legendary attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, are on a mission to bring more trophies to the Camp Nou museum this season -- and you should not miss a second of the action!

Whether you live in or outside the USA, you can easily stream every Barca match to your desktop computer, mobile device or even your TV.
FuboTV is a live streaming channel that offers every Barcelona match as well as the whole of La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A and Premiera Liga for only $6.99 a month.

I have personally been watching Barca on FuboTV for years and the 1080p Ultra-HD quality is certainly the best in the market right now. No more dodgy, pixelated streaming for me!

There is a 7-DAY free trial option available and if you cancel your subscription within 24 hours you will not be charged.

Click here to sign up for a 7-DAY free trial with FuboTV.

Fubo TV is currently only available in US. To watch …

BARCELONA PODCAST: El Clasico, Champions League elimination, La Liga

The latest Barca Podcast is now live! George Bennet from GB Articles interviewed Francesc Tomas and questioned him on Barca's recent El Clasico victory, the disastrous Champions League elimination and the decisive final matches in La Liga. You don't want to miss this!

Barcelona rewriting history after 1,500 matches at glorious Camp Nou

Barcelona have now played a staggering 1,500 games of football at the Camp Nou. The stadium, which was built back in 1957 to replace the legendary Les Corts Stadium due to the demand for tickets exceeding the ground’s capacity, has witnessed 1,119 Barca wins, 238 draws and only 143 defeats over the years.

Barca are clearly not invincible at the Camp Nou but their winning records of 75% and being unbeaten in 90% of home games speaks for themselves.

Barcelona have now become a global phenomenon thanks to not only their dominance, but also the many world-class stars that have been part of their squad over the years. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar take the vast majority of the spotlight these days, but their success can only be understood as a continuation of the work of legends such as Johan Cruyff, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Hristo Stoichkov or Lazlo Kubala over the years.

Camp Nou is a synonym of sporting excellence these days. The recent successes under the leadership of Luis Enrique…

Neymar must stay to secure Barcelona long-term success

Neymar has been excellent for Barcelona since he joined the Catalan giants back in the summer of 2013. Despite the many question marks over whether he would accept to share the spotlight with Lionel Messi, his professionalism off the pitch and even the legality of his transfer, the Brazilian youngster has made a remarkable impact and deservedly become a Camp Nou favourite.

As our partners as Sbobet Mobile know, Barcelona are not currently leading the La Liga table but nobody in their right mind would rule them out of retaining the title. If the Blaugranas are to leapfrog Real Madrid before the end of the season and win the league for the third consecutive season, Neymar has a huge role to play in the nine games remaining.

Fortunately for Cules, Neymar is currently playing the best football of his whole career. Fully established at both club and international level, the No.11's confidence and excellent form makes him a constant danger that rivals constantly struggle to contain -- …