11 January 2019
Levante and Barcelona will face-off at the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia in the first leg of the Copa del Rey Round of 16 in contrasting circumstances. While the visitors racked up a nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions (W7, D2), the hosts have failed to secure all three points in their last four competitive outings (D2, L2).
The two met each other at the same venue in La Liga back in December, with Barcelona picking up a commanding 5-0 victory.
Levante’s poor haul of just two points in their last four LL outings is closely related to their weak defensive outputs. Not only the Granotas conceded over 1.5 goals in each of the past four matches, but they’ve allowed over 3.5 goals per game twice in the run. However, a promising fact for Paco Lopez is that his men have hit the back of the net in 15 of the previous 16 encounters in all competitions, scoring over 1.5 goals per match five times in their last seven meetings. Still, Levante’s indifferent home form have seen them won just two of their previous five home clashes, suffering two defeats in the run.
Meanwhile, the Catalans have won three LL races in a row, scoring over 1.5 goals per game in the process. What’s more, the reigning La Liga holders are unbeaten on their last ten road trips in all competitions (W7, D3), as they come into this meeting after securing four straight road triumphs. Furthermore, the Blaugrana have scored in each of their 13 away encounters this season, scoring over 1.5 goals per match seven times in the run. However, Ernesto Valverde’s main problem concerns his team’s shaky defensive displays that have seen Barcelona failing to keep a clean sheet in nine out of 13 road games so far, conceding over 1.5 goals per match just three times though.
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