Levante UD – FC Barcelona: bold Levante is demolished when attempting to trade punches with Messi (0-5)

Levante succeeded at enforcing a direct, high-tempo game, while Barcelona struggled due to the use of an improvised 3-5-2 shape that mirrored Levante’s own 3-5-2 formation. However, before the end of the first half, Messi turned the tides with the help of Vidal and Suárez, deciding the game with a grand total of three goals and two assists.

Tactical analysis by José Pérez.

Levante, coached by Paco López, might be the boldest team in LaLiga. While most LaLiga teams of a similar budget—Getafe, Girona, Leganés, Valladolid, Alavés—have opted for more conservative tactical schemes, Levante are going all-out in attack. They enforce high-tempo games and trade punches with opponents. Levante are thus very good at creating chances and goals, with the fourth most effective offense with 27 goals, only behind Barcelona, Sevilla and Celta de Vigo. However, this outstanding offense comes at the cost of having, per Expected Goal data - one of the worst defenses in the league.

Against Barcelona, Levante fielded their usual 3-5-2 shape and their strongest lineup, other than the absence of key goal scorer Roger Martí (eight goals in twelve starts). At the back, Oier Olazábal started at goal along with the central defender trio of Erick Cabaco, Sergio Postigo, and Rober Pier. Central midfield featured a trio of Enis Bardhi, José Campaña, and Rubén Rochina, flanked by Jason and Toño García as the wing-backs. Up front played captain José Luis Morales alongside Emmanuel Boateng.

After a rocky start to the season, Barcelona seem to have mostly . . .

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Jose Perez (27) writes and talks about anything football-related: players, tactics, advanced statistics and analytics, the relationship between football and society. Whenever he is not working on high-power lasers, his main focus is La Liga but he tries to keep up with all big five European leagues and Champions / Europa League. Outside of Between the Posts, you can find him arguing with people and reviewing matches on Twitter or answering questions on Quora. [ View all posts ]

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