Barcelona’s second fiasco of the season

T​hey only had one more away day to get through before the first unbeaten season in a 20-team LaLiga was virtually theirs and yet Barcelona produced a very untimely poor performance at Levante on Sunday.

With their total streak up to 43 games without defeat, this trip east was a dangerous one given how Paco Lopez had got his side firing since taking over midway through a struggling season.

And surprisingly, Ernesto Valverde picked that match to rotate out Lionel Messi completely from the squad. The Argentine’s impact was keenly missed, as it probably would have been even if Barcelona had won.

Not for 15 years had the Catalans conceded five, in a 5-1 defeat to Malaga, and questions over the defence cover the entire backline.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jordi Alba were far from the stars Los Cules have become accustomed to this campaign and Nelson Semedo was also below average, whereas Yerry Mina hardly registered a positive moment all night .

Their lack of rapport suggested Valverde hadn’t done his organisational work on the training ground, which is another odd feature to notice given their resilience under the Spaniard.

Perhaps most worrying of all is how Barcelona’s collapse at Levante wasn’t their first of the season. It echoed their Champions League exit at the hands of Roma in many ways and underlines how this team is certainly penetrable when on an off day. It can certainly no longer call itself invincible.

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