Levante vs Barcelona – Copa Del Rey
11th January, 02:00 IST
Estadi Ciutat de València Stadium, Valencia
Spanish champions FC Barcelona travel to the Estadi Ciutat de València Stadium in Valencia to take on Levante in the Round of 16 1st leg of the Copa Del Rey tonight.
Despite not being at their best for large swathes of the season, Barcelona are currently 5 points clear of their nearest rivals Atletico Madrid at the top of the La Liga table. A dodgy Blaugrana backline has time and time again been bailed out by the brilliance of Lionel Messi this season. They will be heavy favourites to progress to the next round at the expense of Levante.
Levante, on the other hand, have made a steady start to the campaign and are currently 10th in the La Liga table. In their previous round match-up, Levante overcame the challenge of lower league Lugo by a 3-1 aggregate scoreline. They will have to be at their absolute best against FC Barcelona over the two legs in order to progress to the next round.
Levante: Aitor; Coke, Postigo, Chema, Toño, Simon; Prcic, Douokuré, Rochina; Boateng, Mayoral.
Barcelona: Cilessen; Semedo, Murillo, Lenglet, Juan Miranda; Sergio Busquets, Aleñá, Arturo Vidal; Malcom, Dembele, Coutinho.
Combined XI for the game:
Dutch International Jasper Cillessen is perhaps the best “backup” goalkeeper in the world and will be getting his chance to shine against Levante tonight.
FC Barcelona are expected to rest several players for this match and give a chance to some of their fringe players for this contest. Semedo, Lenglet and new signing Murillo are expected to feature heavily tonight and find a place in our team. Barcelona, though, have not been defensively resolute this season and hence a clean sheet might come difficult to come by.
Alternate Pick: Tono in place of Murillo
Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been rumoured to be on his way out of the club in the summer but is expected to feature against Levante tonight.
His fellow Brazilian Malcom has not featured prominently for Barcelona this season and will be desperate to make a mark in the Copa Del Rey against Levante.
Levante’s defensive midfielder Doukoure is a cheap route into their midfield. Levante playmaker Rochina will one of the main danger men for Barcelona tonight and hence finds a place in our team.
With Messi and Suarez expected to be rested for this match, Ousmane Dembele will be expected to bear the goalscoring burden for Barcelona tonight.
Levante’s back-up strikers Boateng and Mayoral will be hopeful of breaching a makeshift Barcelona backline and are decent options for your side.
Captain Pick: Dembele
Vice-Captain Pick: Coutinho (Alternate: Malcom, Boateng)
Value Pick: Murillo, Lenglet
Must Avoid: Rafinha, Messi, Suarez, Munir, Umtiti