12/1/2011 3:31:00 PM
You don't have to
speak fluent Spanish to know that when second place Barcelona host fourth place
Levante, you should be in for a juego muy
bueno! With Real Madrid running rampant the reigning champs will be keen to take all three points.
Saturday in La
Liga sees Barcelona host Levante, in a game that the home side can ill afford
to lose if they want to keep pace with the all-conquering Real Madrid.
Thankfully for Barca fans, a home victory shouldn’t be too difficult.
currently three points behind Real Madrid having played one additional game,
Levante are in fourth place in La Liga on 26 points. Theoretically, Levante
could consider this game a six pointer, because if they manage to beat
Barcelona and take all three points from their game in hand they could leapfrog
Saturday's opponents and go second. But with the form Barca are showing,
especially at Camp Nou, you’d be foolish to bet on anything other than a home
win. Barcelona may be favourites for this game but don't expect Levante to
field a disinterested side as Malaga are just three points behind them and
third placed Valencia are just one point ahead. However, I doubt that will
change the outcome.
Barca (as well)
Looking at the
last five head-to-head meetings, Barcelona have won four and drawn one. If those
results sound one-sided, it’s because they are. You should know that Barcelona
have clocked up 13 goals against Levante and have conceded just four in their
last five meetings. It'll probably be no surprise to hear Barcelona are the
clear favourites to win this game, but it's worth noting that both sides have
managed to get on the scoreboard each time they’ve met since April 2007 (that
game ended 1-0 to Barcelona). Levante
have not managed to score more than a single goal against Barcelona in their
last five meetings and Barcelona have also put five and four goals past Levante
in two of their recent encounters. Barcelona are quite simply the better side
but soccer betting on the home side to win will
hardly make you rich, while betting on an away win at 20/1 might give you a fat
return, but is highly unlikely.
A Barca man’s
home is a fortress!
not lost a league game at home so far this season and have only recorded one
draw on home turf (only Real Madrid have done better, with a 100% home
record), but the big news is their inability to concede goals at home, they
have not let a single league goal in all season! Levante are no stranger to
away defeats having lost two of their seven away games this season. Looking at
the last five games Barcelona have played there is an ugly blot on their
record as two games ago lowly Getafe beat them 1-0. This result does look like
a misnomer as in their two league games either side of that result, Barcelona (playing
at home) ran out resounding 4-0 winners both times. You can pick up that score
for this game at just 7/1.
You might think
that Levante are due a draw, as in their last five games they've recorded three
losses and two wins, but then again I can still find no reason to bet against
Barcelona. A draw is unlikely at 8/1, still if you’re feeling lucky (or drunk)
stick a couple of quid on 0-0 at 25/1 and 1-1 at 17/1. Neither score is likely
but they’re good odds. Plus the bookies have the shortest odds on a Levante win
(1-0 and 2-1) at 90/1, talk about longshots. This match should be “just another
day at the office” for Barca. Barca winning both halves is at 4/11, while a
halftime draw followed by a Levante win is at a whopping 55/1, and Levante
winning both halves is at a laughable 80/1.
The shortest odds
on the correct score are on Barca winning 2-0 or 3/0 at 11/2, but I do think
Levante will find the net at least once. Barcelona have to concede a goal at
home sooner or later, and if they’re 3-0 up, then what better time to let a
consolation goal slip. Everything points towards a home win, so much so that the
only thing that could undo Barcelona is complacency. Barca Midfielder Andres
Iniesta is overjoyed with the Catalans' good results at Camp Nou, but knows
that they cannot afford to slip up with Real Madrid clear atop La Liga and on
such scintillating form. “They are significant numbers. We’re on good form at
Camp Nou," the Spain international said, "There is very little margin
for error in La Liga," he admitted.
don’t expect to see ANY errors on Saturday, but I’ll give Levante a goal.
to Barca at 10/1.