A lethal partnership for the leaders


Leo Messi and Jordi Alba lead Barça to a 3-0 win over a feisty Levante side

The Leo Messi-Jordi Alba partnership proved once again to be lethal and helped the leaders earn another three points against Levante, opponents who have lost few games away from home and who made it difficult for Barcelona.

Barcelona came out cold, perhaps affected by the desolate sight of a half-empty stadium, despite the fact that the team are runaway leaders. Levante were able to take advantage of this chilly atmosphere to make some approaches to Ter Stegen’s territory. The visitors did not create any clear chances, but they did force a couple of corners which served as a wake-up call for the hosts.

Barcelona produced only ten minutes of unexciting play before one of the best partnerships the team have got sprang into action. A ball to Jordi Alba far down the left wing, he cut the ball back for the oncoming Leo Messi to open the scoring. The Levante manager had surely studied and warned against this move, which has been used so many times before, but there was the ball, once again, in the back of the net.

After this goal, Barcelona let their hair down and the play was all in one direction, reaching the goal defended by Oier time and time again. Chance after chance was created, and eventually Luis Suárez made it 2-0 when the clock was approaching the 45-minute mark. There was still time for Paulinho to add another before the break, but the ‘keeper did well to block his effort.

After the break, the Azulgranas came out looking rather sleepy, anaesthetised perhaps by the comfortable scoreline, and Ter Stegen was called upon to make two timely and meritorious interventions. These serious warnings woke Barcelona from their slumbers and they got back into gear, coming close to adding to the scoreline on several occasions. Eventually it was Paulinho who put the result beyond any doubt, finishing off another excellent move by Leo Messi.