The Impressive Dani Alves Attempts an Overhead Kick
Barcelona entered this match devoid of most of their first-choice 11.
With Bayern Munich on the horizon in the UEFA Champions League, this was the perfect opportunity for manager Tito Vilanova to rest his star names and for some fringe players to stake their claim for a more regular starting berth.
To say this performance was far removed from the Barcelona we have come to expect is to state the obvious.
Apart from one or two bright spots in this game, it was painful to watch, and Levante can count themselves unlucky that the linesman's flag wrongly disallowed Acquafresca's fine second half finish.
Let's take a look at the Barcelona player ratings for this match.
Victor Valdes 5/10
This was probably one of the Barca keeper's quietest nights. With virtually nothing to do all game, concentration was imperative. He was smartly out to sweep up a dangerous centre on 63, and with every Levante player up for a 93rd minute corner, he did well to punch clear as the referee blew for full time.
Dani Alves 9/10
This was vintage Alves. He was everywhere. Constantly available in attack, his crosses were on point, and he patrolled the right hand side well. His superior fitness levels were on show as usual, and he worked hard on the defensive part of his game, tracking back when necessary. His long range effort on 33 almost wrong-footed Levante keeper Navas.
Adriano Correia 5/10
On this showing, Adriano cannot be considered as partner to Gerard Pique for Tuesday's match up against Bayern Munich. Positionally susceptible, he relied on his turn of pace to get himself out of trouble, and he will need much more than that if selected on Tuesday.
Eric Abidal 10/10
He's my man of the match. Assured and composed, he passed the ball simply and intelligently and was a calming presence in the back line. It was as if Eric Abidal had never been away. Nothing fancy, but he did what he had to do, including an important 93rd-minute block.
A whole year out of football, a weight loss of 50kg and the associated stress that a liver transplant would have on his body...This wonderful postscript to the Frenchman's career just keeps being rewritten.
Martin Montoya 5/10
I didn't like him playing as a right-footed defender on the left side. He looked uncomfortable there and wasn't able to affect the game in an attacking sense in the way that say Alves was on the other flank.
With Montoya always looking to turn inside, the effect to Barca's play was that it became very "stop/start" rather than flowing whilst he was in possession of the ball. Furthermore, he was knocked off of the ball far too easily by more industrious opponents.
Andres Iniesta had one of his worst games for La Blaugrana
Andres Iniesta 5/10
Have you ever seen Andres Iniesta play as poorly? You would never have believed it possible, but one of Barca's "go to" players was not at the races tonight. Whilst his movement was reasonable, he probably misplaced more passes tonight than he has during the rest of the season combined. Off colour.
Alex Song 7/10
A big performance was required from Song. The vultures have been circling this season, saying that President Rosell spent well over the odds for Song's acquisition.
With Sergio Busquets nowhere in sight, this was a chance for Song to claim the defensive holding role as his own, and whilst he didn't exactly set the Camp Nou alight, the Cameroonian played OK. A little lightweight at times, his passing was good, with 116 of 121 attempted passed completed (via Opta).
Thiago Alcantara 6/10
Here's another who had a great chance to further enhance his credentials but who didn't really grasp the opportunity with both hands. Needing to be involved in the build up play more, Thiago often found himself in the wrong areas and getting in the way of his team mates.
Some great vision set up Cristian Tello on 32, but some sloppy play on 64 minutes saw Alex Song booked for a late challenge whilst trying to reach his wayward pass. I saw a few sparks of quality from the youngster, but he needs to step it up.
Cesc Dedicates His Goal to His Newborn Daughter
David Villa 6/10
A lack of sharpness, and perhaps a lack of motivation, appeared to be the problem for Villa. He didn't seem particularly confident when taking the penalty awarded for the foul on Andres Iniesta on 37 minutes, and his shooting was not as accurate as normal, evidenced by his wild half volley that blazed way over the bar in the second half.
Cesc Fabregas 8/10
This was a good game in the main for Cesc. His movement was generally good, albeit he was drawn into unnecessary challenges a little too often. He worked hard at retaining possession, recycling play whenever possible.
He took his goal well with a fine low strike and was unlucky not to add a second with a long ranger that Navas pushed wide. He can be happy with his night's work.
Cristian Tello 3/10
It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to say that Cristian Tello was the worst player on the park. He may have even played himself out of the starting lineup for Tuesday on that performance.
His first touch was incredibly sloppy, and his general demeanour was far too casual. It took until the 52nd minute for him to play a decent pass, with virtually all before then going astray or straight to the opposition. It was a relief for everyone when he was taken off on 76 to be replaced by Alexis Sanchez.
Substitute Alexis Sanchez Celebrates After His Pass Set Up Barcelona's Winner
Xavi Hernandez 7/10
In the little time Xavi was on the pitch, we saw his value to this team. Prompting, probing, constantly on the move and ready to receive the ball at all times, Xavi really does make the Barcelona midfield tick, and his presence began to turn this game in Barcelona's favour.
Alexis Sanchez 8/10
He came on in the 76th minute for Cristian Tello and did more in the last quarter hour than Tello had done in the entire time he was on the pitch. He showed great tenacity when setting up Cesc's equaliser and hunted the ball down well at every opportunity. If there are prizes given for effort, Sanchez would get one for his contribution. Great impact on this game.
Pedro Rodriguez 5/10
A late entrant to the party, Pedro almost scored on 87 minutes when his shot flashed over as Barca exerted some late pressure. He had minimal influence on the game but did what was asked when required.
Agree with my ratings? Who was your man of the match? Have certain players done enough for inclusion into the starting 11 against Bayern Munich?
Please leave any comments below and here: Jason Pettigrove