- Deolu Akingbade
Levante UD 2021 Analysis
What's Happened to Levante in 2021?
It’s been a stale season for fans of Levante UD. With a paltry seven points in the highly-competitive LaLiga, the Granotes are the dregs of the league. Why is Levante struggling? Levante did fine in the 20/21 season, finishing 14th with 41 points and even finishing in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.
It’s not that Levante has an inadequate roster. They are average in terms of quality, meaning that Levante’s problem lies elsewhere. What could explain this sudden shift in success?
In goal, Levante has two keepers splitting time. Aitor Fernandez, the more experienced of the two, has gotten the most playing time. Fernandez has made nine appearances out of fourteen games. The 30-year-old has conceded a whopping nineteen goals and has a 67% save percentage. The former U20 starter might not be the best choice to start the majority of LaLiga matches,
By contrast, Dani Cardenas has only played in five games but has conceded just six goals. Cardenas, a 24-year-old, hasn’t seen many minutes between the two posts. Yet Cardenas has not been amateurish when he steps out onto the pitch. He helped keep a clean sheet in their clash with Athletic Club. Goalkeepers are playing a big part in Levante’s 2021/22 La Liga campaign.
Players like Ruben Vezo, Mickael Malsa, Carlos Clerc, and Jorge Miramon help with defense, but it simply isn’t enough.
The Granotes are bottom of the league in goals allowed, with an eye-opening 25 goals in 12 games. Something will need to change if they want to get out of last place.
Attacking-wise, Levante isn’t bad. Players like Enis Bardhi, Jorge de Frutos, Jose Campana, and Roger Marti have helped Levante score 12 goals. Their contributions have eased the pain for the Valencia-based side.
Levante has always been a chaotic, dysfunctional team. As Managing Madrid put it, they prioritize disordering and attacking the opponent even if it comes at the expense of disordering themselves.
They have an explosive attack and confuse opposing defenses. The cons of their attack are their keepers, Aitor Fernandez and Dani Cardenas, getting under immense pressure when their counter-attack attempts break down. That crazy, unusual mindset leads to crazy, atypical results. You never know what to expect from the Levante side.
However, this crazy tactic has resulted in a winless season so far for a miserable Levante side. Levante will need to turn it around to get out of the relegation zone.
Around a month ago, Levante faced Sevilla away from home. Sevilla dominated the match, scoring five goals to Levante’s three. The Seville-based club started the scoring with Oliver Torres’ stunning goal and Rafa Mir’s classy strike. Jose Luis Morales’ 33rd-minute score cut Sevilla’s lead, but Sevilla kept scoring. Morales’ brace and a goal from Gonzalo Melero were not enough to beat Los Nervionenses.
The next game, a home match against reigning champions Atletico Madrid, went slightly better. Although Levante still conceded two against Los Colchoneros, they forced a tie in front of a raucous home crowd. Enis Bardhi’s two penalty goals led Levante to a draw in the face of Antoine Griezmann and Matheus Cunha’s goals.
Levante followed up a surprise win with a resounding loss against now-seventeenth-place Granada. Levante mustered a measly three shots on target and lost to a trio of Granada goals that rendered the Granotes stunned. Slow to react and a little clumsy at times, the Granotes showed why they were the worst team in LaLiga that game.
Away from home and tasked with taking three points from a struggling side, Levante traveled to Vitoria-Gasteiz in the hopes of moving up a place or two in the table. However, that did not come to fruition. Despite Jorge de Frutos scoring an early goal, a pair of late Joselu goals eliminated any hopes of Levante getting their first win. The loss at Mendizorrotza was Levante’s seventh of the season.
These things bring us to their most recent game. Levante UD faced a middle-of-the-pack Athletic Club last Friday and did surprisingly well. Levante held Athletic Club to a 0-0 stalemate while logging a whopping 15 shots.
For fans of Levante, it might be time to get a little bit worried. We are nearing the halfway mark of LaLiga. Being in last place when December rolls around will be unnerving. However, as I discussed before, Levante is an unpredictable side. With first-class players and an avant-garde tactic that puts opponents on edge, Levante could stage an unlikely comeback.
But I would not put my money on it. Expect Levante to face relegation come May.
Deolu Akingbade is profiling all 20 La Liga squads weekly exclusively for ThePyrrhic.com
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