Levante UD: Loss Perfectly Sets Up El Clasico Between Barcelona and Real Madrid
While Levante will be recognized as the club who occupied La Liga's top spot earlier this season, they're also going to be recognized as the club who restored the status quo.
Following last Saturday's 5-0 loss to Barcelona, La Liga has once again become a two-team league. While Barcelona and Real Madrid prepare to square off in Saturday's El Clasico, Valencia will remain in third place for another week, and Levante may barely hold onto their fourth place spot.
Following their 1-0 loss to Getafe, Barcelona throttled both Rayo Vallecano and Levante by a combined score of 9-0 at the Nou Camp.
Against Barcelona, Levante, for the first time this season, played like a club who's early inspirational run is coming to an end. The oldest team in La Liga was simply no match for Barcelona. Statistically, they were outmatched and outmaneuvered within the first 37 minutes of the first half when Barcelona went on a 3-0 tear.
Cesc Fabregas' two goals in the first 33 minutes, complemented by Isaac Cuenca's goal in the 37th minute, clearly demonstrated that Barcelona wasn't overlooking Levante for their showdown against Real Madrid next Saturday.
Two more goals by Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez in the second half gave Barcelona a 5-0 advantage with almost 30 minutes left to play.
While the 5-0 drubbing was enough to shell-shock Levante, they also dazzled them as they maintained a 74 percent to 26 percent possession of the ball. In addition, Barcelona had a 10-4 corner kick advantage to complement their 18-6 shot superiority over Levante.
A week after defeating Sporting Gijon 4-0, Levante simply didn't have the firepower to match Barcelona's talented squad. For a club who, earlier in the season, defeated Real Madrid, Levante squandered their opportunity to be the only club to have defeated both powerhouses in the early going of the season.
Following Saturday's massacre, Levante returns home to face Sevilla on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Estadi Ciutat de València. While their loss to Barcelona may be difficult to digest, Levante will have the opportunity to regain their winning form and earn an additional three points.
Other La Liga Results from the Weekend
Racing Santander won 1-0 over Villarreal.
Real Madrid won 3-0 over Sporting Gijon.
Valencia won 2-1 over Espanyol.
Atletico Madrid won 3-1 over Rayo Vallecano.
Real Sociedad won 3-2 over Malaga.
Osasuna won 2-1 over Real Betis.
Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao played to a 1-1 draw.
La Liga Standings as of Monday, Dec. 5, 2011
1. Real Madrid (12-1-1, 37 pts)
2. Barcelona (10-4-1, 34 pts)
3. Valencia (9-3-2, 30 pts)
4. Levante (8-2-4, 26 pts)
5. Malaga (7-2-5, 23 pts)
6. Sevilla FC (5-6-2, 21 pts)
7. Osasuna (5-6-3, 21 pts)
8. Atletico Madrid (5-4-5, 19 pts)
9. Athletic Bilbao (4-6-4, 18 pts)
10. Espanyol (5-2-7, 17 pts)
11. Rayo Vallecano (4-4-7, 16 pts)
12. Granada (4-3-6, 15 pts)
13. Real Sociedad (4-3-7, 15 pts)
14. Mallorca (3-5-5, 14 pts)
15. Villarreal (3-5-6, 14 pts)
16. Getafe (3-4-6, 13 pts)
17. Real Betis (4-1-9, 13 pts)
18. Racing Santander (2-6-6, 12 pts)
19. Sporting Gijon (3-3-8, 12 pts)
20. Real Zaragoza (2-4-8, 10 pts)
Cesar Diaz is a freelance copywriter & journalist who specializes in soccer coverage. If there's a soccer topic you believe that needs to be written about, please feel free to contact him. Easily accessible, you may contact him at CoveringSoccer@gmail.com and @CoveringSoccer.
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