Real Madrid vs. Levante, La Liga 2013-2014: Scouting Levante

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

On the heels of their victory against Osasuna, Levante takes on Real Madrid at the Ciutat de València stadium this Saturday for the next round of La Liga 2013-2014.

Levante currently sit at ninth place in the table after two victories, four draws, and one defeat. With ten points to their name, Levante need to improve their goal-scoring if they hope to better their standing this league campaign considering they've scored six goals and have conceded eleven goals total since the start of the season.

PLAYING STYLE:

Real Madrid fans won't have to look far for examples of Levante's aggressive and physical playing style. Just last season, Cristiano Ronaldo received an elbow to his eye courtesy of Levante centre-back David Navarro, which required the Portuguese winger to receive stitches. While Levante's squad lacks the firepower of a Real Madrid, Ancelotti's men will need to be aggressive and keep their composure in order to avoid any surprises from a Levante side that is strong on the counter attack.

Manager Joaquín Caparrós typically lines up his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation capped off by former Real Madrid Castilla striker David Barral. While Levante are capable of creating scoring opportunities for themselves, they lack clinical finishing (Barral has yet to notch a goal this season) and are even more inconsistent on the defensive end. While they should not be underestimated, Levante suffered seven goals at the hands of Barcelona on August 18, so it's not unreasonable to think Real Madrid will net some goals this Saturday. Levante's defense struggles to defend through-ball attacks and set-pieces, something that Real Madrid could capitalize on. Levante's players are prone to fouling in risky areas and will need to remain sharp and disciplined to avoid gifting their opponents chances to score from dead ball situations, especially when their opponents count on one Cristiano Ronaldo.

Overall, Levante are not a team known for keeping possession or playing beautiful football. They are a team that likes to defend aggressively with all its players and looks to score either via a counter-attack or a set-piece opportunity.

Players to watch:

Twenty-year old attacking midfielder Rubén García is a dangerous player. García can dribble with pace and surprise the goalkeeper with shots from range, such as this goal scored against Sevilla. He also puts in defensive shifts and tries to recover the ball with feisty and persistent defending. Real Madrid's defensive midfielders and centre backs will need to account for Rubén at all times.

Levante's central defensive midfielder Pape Diop stands out amongst his peers as another quality player. Diop is strong on the ball and possesses a threatening right foot that can fire free kicks or even one-touch-volleys such as this recent goal against Almería. Diop is a physical player who frequently tackles and scraps in an attempt to recover the ball for his team. He is prone to committing lots of fouls so Ancelotti's attackers will need to keep their cool despite frequent challenges.

Real Madrid vs. Levante kicks-off Saturday, October 5th at 20:00 CET/ 2:00 PM EST/ 11:00 AM PST

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