Ten minutes into the game, it was a familiar scene. Barcelona were away from home on a shoddy pitch, patiently working the ball back and forth as they tried to break down the two banks of five men defending deep in front of the opposition goal. Then it happened – a stray pass in midfield fell to Levante, who broke quickly into the spaces left behind the fullbacks. Down Barcelona’s left, evading a desperate challenge from the exposed centre-back, then crossing to the unmarked man on the opposite flank. An easy goal – Barcelona have seen it too many times over the past two seasons.
Reigning UEFA Youth League champions, FC Barcelona’s Juvenil A, have started this year’s campaign with a victory against opponents APOEL. In this tournament, the youth sides are placed in a group identical to the first team. All three goals were scored within a 17-minute interval sentencing the game as victory for the blaugrana. Details after the jump.
In football, you always have to work to get results. Matches are never won before kick-off. Perhaps that’s what Barcelona B’s players were thinking when they took to the pitch to face Llagostera yesterday. But when the match started they were faced by reality: They had no answers for neither Llagostera’s brilliantly orchestrated defensive tactics, or for their venomous counterattacks. The front line had a day off, and the defence made mistakes of the kind that have been unseen for months now. Defeat was inevitable for Barça B yesterday, despite Sergi Samper’s spirited performance in the pivot role. It is a rule that when your forwards are absent, getting goals is hard. Read more…
The Ratings… Everyone’s 2nd favourite part to a post-match analysis, after the Post-Match Review of course. It is now your turn to show us what you think of the players’ performances. Let’s see how you all do!
totalBarça welcomes you all to the Liga game between Levante UD and FC Barcelona. Are you ready?!
Sunday, September 21, 2014 @ 21:00 Barcelona time – Convert to local time
This particular Barça youth forward may not be currently able to wear the blaugrana due to the FIFA ban, but his exploits on the international stage have certainly not gone unnoticed. 16-year-old Lee Seung Woo guided his native South Korea to the final of the U-16 Asian Championships, but couldn’t beat the North Korea, and therefore had to settle for a runner’s up medal. His efforts though, won him the Best Player award for the tournament, aside from winning the golden boot. Read more after the jump.
Nobody has plauged Levante’s 10 seasons in La Liga like Lionel Messi. The Barça goal machine has scored 9 times against the Valencia side, more than any other La Liga player active (Cristiano Ronaldo, 7) or not (Diego Forlán, 8). The Argentine has additionally hit the back of the net against Levante three seasons in a row. Looking hungry as ever, it would be a foolish punt to go against Messi making it 10 goals and four seasons running.
With a packed calendar to finish up the month of September, Luis Enrique has again done a bit of tinkering with the match squad. All those rested against APOEL midweek, Sergio Busquets, Javier Mascherano, Pedro Rodríguez and Martín Montoya, travel to Valencia, whereas Marc Bartra and Adriano Correia remain in Catalonia. Rafinha Alcántara also misses out as a precaution after feeling a slight thigh strain over the weekend.
Full match squad (19, 1 to drop): Ter Stegen, Bravo, Montoya, Piqué, Rakitic, Busquets, Xavi, Pedro, Iniesta, Messi, Neymar, Mascherano, Douglas, Alba, Roberto, Alves, Mathieu, Sandro, Munir.
In their second away game of the season, FC Barcelona will travel to Valencia to face Levante UD as they aim to keep the momentum going. Barcelona currently sit on top of the league, and a win today would increase the gap between Luis Enrique’s men and Atlético Madrid to 4 points, and will retain the 6-point gap between them and Real Madrid. The team will be looking for a fifth consecutive win in all competitions, and hopefully a fifth consecutive clean sheet.
“Always stay focused on the next game,” that was Luis Enrique’s message to his players on Saturdays’s pre match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Levante UD. The coach insisted that all people should be focusing on the next game, and that “general evaluations can be left until the end of the season.” Lucho continued, “The idea is to beat them. And depending on how we do, we’ll see where we stand. I haven’t been worrying about having to play seven games in 21 days. There’s only one game that we can control at the moment, and that’s the next one. My message to the players is to always stay focused on the next game.” More from the Asturian after the jump.
September 20, 2014