Blaugrana win against Levante which did not give up
Important win for Barça away from home against a brave Levante team which did not give up until the last minute. Good start from the Blaugranas, challenging tactical scheme from Levante for Barça's defence and a mismatch in both boxes is how we interprete the game's development.
High rhythm and danger on the wings
Great start from Barça at Ciutat de València Stadium. They easily overcome Levante's initial pressure, quickly got close to the Granota box. Quick and accurate combinations to move Levante's two defensive lines (one of 4 defenders and another of 33 midfielders).
The play on the wings had a particular impact. While Rubi's team was blocking the inside, Lucho's made the most of the depth on the wings with the influence of Jordi Alba, who took advantage of Neymar's run inside to get to the crossline, like for the first goal.
Sergi Roberto counters Levante's transitions
Levante based their offensive threat on a formation similar to the one Deportivo displayed at Camp Nou (2-2, 12/12/15). They risked a 7v7 in their box, leaving Morales to face Sergi Roberto and Rossi and Deyverson fixating centre-backs Piqué and Mascherano. That, with a granota recovery of the ball, led to 2 situations of 2v2 between defenders and attackers. With just a few passes they tried to reach the attacking line. Until the 30th minute (7 recoveries from the Reus native), Sergi Roberto, yesterday playing as a midfielder, upset the intentions of the locals with a lot of recoveries taking shape of interceptions or because of his ability to beat Levante's players in quickness.
In the last fifteen minutes, Rubi's players transitions were even more direct, making the most of Alves' corner of which Morales took advantage thanks to his speed, hitting the post. Levante ended the first half with more shots than Barça.
Large possesions to try to anaesthetise Levante
The locals have tried to maintain the pattern of the last 15 minutes, giving balls to the two strikers to take Barça by surprise on transition play. To avoid a high number of breaks, Barça tried to keep hold of the ball with phases of possession larger than in the first half. Less rhythm y conservation phases further from Mariño's goal to make Levante run and wear them out. A tactic that was not the solution for the first 30 minutes of the second half. Luis Enrique wanted to augment control with Busquets' entrance and fix the breach on the right wing replacing Alves with Aleix Vidal.
Barça didn't suffer excessively but Levante contested them the game, with more and more life, getting close with the ball to Bravo's box. This is how Barça found themselves until the end of the match. While defending, with Levante settling in their half, Barça's counter-attack proved lethal: pass from Messi and excellent finishing from Suárez in a second half with few shots in both areas and in which Barça, once again, were more efficient than their opponent.