Five talking points from Levante 2-3 Barcelona

Barcelona’s winning streak continued at Levante, although Xavi’s team gave up three penalties and came up against a home team that was willing to throw pretty much everything after the Catalans.

Three penalty kicks in a match is pretty unheard of, but it happened in Levante, just over a week after Real Madrid were awarded a hat-trick with a spot kick against Celta Vigo in La Liga. Conspiracy theorists want a field day with it.

Barca may not really have too many complaints about both spot kicks, but did brilliantly well to still take all three points on a terrain where they have struggled in the past. Again Xavi’s men had to come from behind, dig in and show some real fighting spirit, and again they came across trump.

Of course, it was not Barca’s most beautiful performance, but after such a roller coaster match, these three points will feel even more special. Barca are now 15 unbeaten matches and according to Mister Chip the first team to win a match in La Liga after conceding three spot kicks.

Xavi chose to give Pedri and Gavi a break for this one and started both teenagers on the bench at Levante. It was an understandable decision given Barca’s current workload, but the coach ended up calling for the duo early in the second half with his team behind.

Nico Gonzalez had got his first Barcelona start since January, but did not really take advantage of the opportunity. Barca’s play in the first half was too slow and heavy, and lacked the necessary intensity to even match a ferocious Levante.

Pedri and Gavi needed a few minutes to put Barca ahead for the first time in the match with a very special goal. Gavi’s run and pass were so good to watch and gave Pedri the opportunity to equalize with a flick from his right boot.

Barca still had work to do to continue and win the match, but there is no doubt that the introduction of the two young players was crucial. Xavi insisted after the match that Barca are not dependent on Pedri, but the statistics suggest otherwise.

choose highlighted before the kick-off how Barca have won 80% of their matches in La Liga this season when Pedri has been in start XI. When the midfielder is not on the team, this rate drops to only 42.1%. Narrator.

Photo by David S. Bustamante / Soccrates / Getty Images

One of the most important moments of the match was when Levante was awarded a second penalty, just five minutes after Levante had taken the lead with a spot kick from Jose Luis Morales.

Eric Garcia, who otherwise had an extremely impressive match once again, was the guilty party this time, and it looked like it was about to be good night to Barcelona, ​​where Levante should lead 2-0.

Still, Marc-Andre ter Stegen had other ideas and saved Roger Marti’s efforts, which seemed to breathe new life into Barca. Three minutes later Barca had equalized and suddenly the whole color of the game had changed again.

The Barca goalkeeper has had plenty of criticism this season, and rightly so at times, but he is certainly on the move at the moment and was definitely the key to Sunday’s victory.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele were also key to the victory as the duo reunited to bring Barca to level. The striker had been virtually anonymous at Levante until he headed a delicious ball from Dembele home.

It is now 10 out of 14 matches for the Gabonese national team since joining Barcelona on a free transfer in January. Aubameyang has already leveled Memphis Depay as the team’s top scorer in 2021-22 in 15 fewer games.

Aubameyang once again told Dembele to stay after the match and one can not help but wonder if the striker’s presence in the club could help the Frenchman further.

Dembele is fit and is already at the top of the assist lists in La Liga together with Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema on the 11th. We still have no idea what Dembele really thinks about his future, but his merry festivities when Luuk de Jong scored, the winner certainly did not give the appearance of a man who is not worried about the club.

De Jong came on the field again to secure Barcelona three points on his return to the squad after testing positive for Covid-19. The Dutchman is still a very useful option from the bench and proved once again why at Levante.

Barca looked set for a draw after Gonzalo Melero’s penalty kick pulled the match back to 2-2, leading Xavi to send De Jong on to find a winner. And that was exactly what he did with a header in the dying seconds.

De Jong now has six league goals for Barcelona, ​​only Memphis and Auba have scored more, and it is also worth highlighting how important his goals have been for the Catalans.

Xavi described De Jong as a “good opportunity” and “an example for everyone” after the match, but it was the goal scorer himself who probably put it best.

“Scoring goals is always a great feeling,” he said. “But scoring in the final minutes to win the three points is something very special. I’ve done it a few times in my career and it never gets normal this feeling. It’s great.”

Leave a Comment