Levante v Barcelona Betting Preview, Odds & Tips | 10/01/19

Levante v Barcelona Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

James Cormack (@jamesxyyx) previews Levante v Barcelona and provides us with his best bets for Thursday’s Copa del Rey clash by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.

Levante v Barcelona Copa del Rey Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

  • Date: 10/01/19
  • Time: 20:30
  • Venue: Estadi Ciutat de València
  • Channel: N/A

Barcelona will be looking to continue their incredible run in the Copa del Rey as they take on a Levante side that will likely provide us with some entertainment.

Barcelona are searching for 5 Copa del Rey’s on the bounce and are well in contention for both the La Liga and Champions League. The Catalans eased into the last 16 after beating third-tier Cultural Leonesa 5-1 on aggregate in the last round.

Levante, who sit 10th in La Liga, were able to see off second-division Lugo in the last 32, beating them 3-1 on aggregate. This Levante side have certainly been an interesting watch this season. They have no issue in front of goal, scoring 30 in 18 La Liga games, but have a tremendous problem at the back, conceding 34. Manager Paco Lopez has used the very attacking 3-5-2 on a number of occasions this season and the results show he probably hasn’t got the personnel (at the back and on the wings) to use it effectively, although it has benefitted the likes of Roger and Morales, who have 14 La Liga goals between them.

The last time these two sides met was only a couple of weeks ago on the 16th December. On that occasion, Barcelona matched up to Levante by also using the 3-5-2 with Alba and O.Dembele on the flanks. The superiority of the Barca players in every position when they were matched up as well as Lionel Messi consistently finding space in between the vulnerable back-line and midfield meant that Levante were beaten 5-0. It’ll be interesting to see what formation Lopez will use this time out and I’m thinking he must have learned his lesson from last time, even though Barcelona will likely field a slightly weakened side. He may decide to use the 4-4-2, which he has also used on occasions this season and I think Valverde will revert back to his favoured 4-3-3.

This has the makings of a fantastic season for the Catalans. They are favourites for this competition and also extended their lead at the top of La Liga to 5 points after they ground out a 2-1 win at Getafe and Atletico dropped points at Sevilla on Sunday. Their toughest task will be the Champions League, they should beat Lyon in the last 16 but I do fear for their chances to win it all. Their talent going forward is unprecedented and would be a problem for an all-star defence,  but I don’t think they are secure enough defensively to beat sides with more balance like Juventus, PSG, maybe even Man City and Liverpool. This has proved to be their downfall over the past couple of CL campaigns; losing 3-0 in the 2nd leg v Roma last year, conceding 4 v PSG in 1st leg and 3 v Juventus in 1st leg in 2016.

Nevertheless, Valverde’s men will have to be on the ball against a dangerous Levante side that have last month’s thrashing fresh in their minds. I’m expecting a couple of talented fringe players like Carlos Alena, Nelson Semedo, Malcom and even Phillipe Coutinho to get starts on Thursday but it wouldn’t surprise me if Valverde has to turn to likes of Suarez, Messi and Dembele later on in the game in order to secure an advantage for the second leg.

Team News

Armando Sadiku is likely to return in early February after the cruciate ligament injury he sustained before the start of the season. Cheick Doukoure and Pedro Lopez are also likely to remain on the sidelines for this one. Sergio Postigo will be available despite picking up a red card against Girona in La Liga on Friday.

There are no fresh injury concerns for Barcelona with Samuel Umtiti, Thomas Vermaelen and Rafinha all still out. New signing Jeison Murillo may also get his first start.

Potential Levante Starting XI: Fernandez, Coke, Postigo, Rober, Tono, Jason, Rochina, Campana, Bardhi, Morales, Roger.

Potential Barcelona Starting XI: Cilessen, Semedo, Murillo, Lenglet, Miranda, S. Busquets, Alena, Vidal, Malcom, Munir, Coutinho.

Head To Head

  • All time: Levante-2, Draw-4, Barcelona-19.
  • Levante 0-5 Barcelona was the result the last time these two sides met only 3 weeks ago.
  • Levante ended Barcelona’s unbeaten domestic season in 17/18 with a 5-4 win at home in May.
  • Barca have won 7 of the last 8 meetings.

Key Stats & Facts

  • Both sides have overachieved in front of goal in La Liga this season- Levante’s xG=25.83, scored- 30 and Barcelona’s xG=42.25, scored-50.
  • Levante’s goal tally of 30 is the 3rd best in La Liga.
  • They have also conceded 34, which is the 2nd worst in the league- only behind Huesca who have conceded 35.
  • Roger Marti is Levante’s top scorer with 8 goals.
  • The home side are winless in their last 4, conceding 13 in the process.
  • O2.5 in 14/18 of Levante’s La Liga games so far, 12/18 in Barcelona’s.
  • 13/18 Barcelona games in La Liga have been BTTS, 12/18 in Levante’s.
  • Barcelona have lost only once away from home this season (2-1 v Leganes back in September).
  • Barcelona have won this trophy 4 season’s running and have held it 30 times in their history- the most out of anyone.

Betting Odds

  • Levante 8/1
  • Draw 5/1
  • Barcelona 4/11

The Verdict

This should be an entertaining and feisty game based on the recent history of this fixture.

I’m going to go down the cards route for this one with Levante holding the third-worst disciplinary record in the league this season (5O Y, 4 R) and the last two meetings between these sides in 2018 combined for 17 yellows and a red, 60+ booking points should be a banker for this one at 11/8.

I also like Levante scoring a couple of goals on Thursday. I think Paco Lopez will pick close to his strongest 11 and the likes of Morales, Roger and maybe Boateng will have some joy against what will likely be a weakened Barcelona defence.

This Levante side have the best goalscoring record for teams outside the top 4 this season (30 in 18) and their two front-men have both been clinical – Roger + Morales = 14 league goals.

Levante have scored in all their home league games apart from one and have scored 2+ on 6/9 occasions at home this season. I’m backing them to do it again on Thursday.

Recommended Bets

  • 60+ booking points – 11/8  (SkyBet)
  • Levante to score 2+ goals – 19/10 (Coral)

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