Barcelona (FCB).- Barça’s performance at the Camp Nou vs Levante suggests that they will be going to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium next week full of confidence and enjoying some great form to play against Real Madrid. Guardiola’s men needed just 36 minutes of the first half to put the game beyond this season’s Spanish League’s surprise package with two goals from an incisive Cesc Fàbregas rounding off some high class football. At two up, FC Barcelona didn’t sit back and start thinking about next weekend though, they simply pushed on and after a third from Cuenca, they continued to dominate in the second half with two more goals.
The best of starts
With Levante coming into the game looking to shut up shop, Barça made the best of starts when Iniesta cleverly back heeled to put Cesc through on the edge of the box and the Catalan fired home on just three minutes with a perfectly placed shot wide of the Levante keeper. FC Barcelona looked sharp and their pace was just too much for Levante, as Guardiola countered Juan Ignacio Martinez’s defensive set up with three at the back and two wide men (Cuenca and Alexis) to open up the flanks, whilst Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc and Messi worked their magic through the middle.
3-0 at the break
Messi had the 79,000 fans who had braved the wind and cold on their feet on 17 minutes when he surged forward on a typical mazy run, but his final shot was deflected away for a corner. That was a flash of genius at a time when Barça were looking in total control, but lacking some punch up front. Things got back on the right track just past the half hour though, when Cesc headed home from a Xavi free kick out wide and soon after Cuenca made it three with a well placed shot from the left after more good work from Iniesta and Messi. Between the two goals, Puyol had been substituted after a clash of heads.
Before the break, Víctor Valdés ensured his great unbeaten record at the Camp Nou continued when he made a fine stop from Koné, who was on his own with just the keeper to beat at the end of a quick counter, and the home fans showed their appreciation by chanting his name around the ground.
Messi and Alexis on target
With the game looking safe, Guardiola took off Busquets at half time, but Barça continued to pressure Levante and although Valdes was again on top form with a great stop from Del Horno, Messi made it four soon after with a similar strike to the one he got against Rayo Vallecano. The visitors tried to respond, but Alexis made it five on the hour mark as he finished off a textbook counter attack.
FC Barcelona kept their focus and continued to threaten Munúa’s goal – principally via Messi- and the game finished on a note of controversy as an Iniesta strike was inexplicably ruled out. This time, the Barça whirlwind was limited to just five goals!