Predicted XI

Defensive problems for Koeman - How Barcelona could line-up versus Levante

The Catalans find themselves in the middle of the Primera Division and in desperate need of three points against Levante.

12:29pm on Saturday 12th December 2020
Robin Bairner

Barcelona’s crisis stepped up another notch in midweek as they suffered a thumping 3-0 loss to Juventus in the Champions League.

Each goal was a further blow to Ronald Koeman’s credibility, with the Camp Nou club having made a sluggish start to the Primera Division season. Sure, progress in Europe had long been assured, but the one-sided nature of the defeat suggests there is a long way to go before the club can start considering a challenge for honours.

Indeed, Barca have looked off the pace in the early weeks in Spain. Going into the weekend’s fixtures, they lie ninth in the standings, a massive 12 points shy of leaders Atletico Madrid. That they have one or two games in hand over the clubs around them perhaps make their plight look worse than it is, but regardless, this is a side falling well short of what is expected of it.

Koeman, however, is not under any immediate pressure. That can only be applied only the presidential elections have taken place, and with those still around six weeks away, these is still time to reverse the trend.

Levante visit Camp Nou on Sunday and are hoping to be the latest club to upset the Blaugrana, who have won only four league matches this season.

The side from Valencia have proven awkward opponents this season, despite lying 18th. They have lost only four games and are on a run of six without a defeat, albeit five of these have been drawn.

Barcelona will face them without Gerard Pique in their defence, while Sergi Roberto is also injury. Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet should start in the centre of the defence, with Ronald Araujo dropping to the bench.

Further forward, Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati are both injured.

Antoine Griezmann is likely to continue in a central role, with Philippe Coutinho occupying the No.10 slot and Lionel Messi nominally playing wide.

Predicted Barcelona XI v Levante

Barcelona - Football tactics and formations

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