With their city rivals in disarray, Levante have their eyes set on being the top team in Valencia for the first time in their history this season. Paco Lopez’s side will be hoping to build on a solid 12th place finish last term. Read on for our Levante season preview.
Last Season – 12th
A final finishing position of 12th represented Levante’s best season since returning to LaLiga in 2017. They achieved some excellent results against the stronger teams last term, winning 6 matches against teams that finished in the top eight, including home victories over both Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Given that, there may be some frustration that Levante didn’t manage to finish higher than 12th with inconsistency plaguing them throughout the campaign. Strong home form was key to their success with Atletico Madrid the only member of the top eight to defeat them on their own ground, and that loss came late in the season when Levante were playing their home games in La Nucia due to the redevelopment of the Estadi Ciutat de València.
Levante Summer Transfers
Son | from Ponferradina | FREE
Mickaël Malsa | from Mirandes | FREE
Jorge de Frutos | from Real Madrid | €2.5m
Dani Gómez | from Real Madrid | €2.5m
Moses Simon | to Nantes | €5m
Raphael Dwamena | to Vejle | FREE
(Transfers up to 5th September 2020.)
Coach – Paco Lopez
Paco Lopez isn’t one of the bigger name or more widely discussed coaches in LaLiga but he has done a really good job at Levante. First appointed after a series of B and even C team coaching roles, Lopez guided Levante to safety at the back-end of the 2017/18 season and he has gone on to truly establish this club in the top flight again.
The earlier part of his time at the helm of Levante saw him frequently utilise a counter-attacking approach, often to great effect, with the pace of José Luis Morales a major weapon on the break. However that style has evolved slightly with time and his teams are keener to spend more time in possession now with some talented ball-players in the middle of the park playing influential roles.
Possible Levante Line Up 2020/21
Levante did quite a bit of business early on with all their arrivals completing deals before the transfer window officially opened. However with no major players departing, their starting XI is likely to be a familiar one when the new season does commence.
There were slight defensive improvements last term although they are still a team that at times is prone to a mistake at the back. Goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez is a key player for them while Ruben Vezo has also largely impressed at centre-back but there does tend to be quite a bit of chopping and changing in the other defensive positions.
The midfield is perhaps the strongest part of Levante’s team and there is some genuine quality in there with José Campaña the chief playmaker while the likes of Ruben Rochina and Enis Bardhi have proven themselves at this level and regularly chip in with goals to ease the burden on the forward players. New signing Jorge de Frutos provides an exciting new option in the wide areas but may have to be patient to get his chance.
Up top, José Luis Morales and Roger Marti are likely to be the first-choice pairing, initially at least. Borja Mayoral’s loan has ended but Levante have added another young forward from Real Madrid with Spain U21 international Dani Gomez arriving following a solid season on loan at Tenerife in the Segunda.
Key Man – Jose Campaña
It’s a little bit surprising that there hasn’t been greater interest in Jose Campaña from clubs higher up LaLiga or indeed abroad. He has been the main creative force in the Levante midfield for a few years now and at 27 should be heading into the absolute peak years of his career.
He chipped in with 2 goals and 7 assists last season, a slight drop from the figures he set the previous year but the former Sevilla man was operating in a slightly deeper role as Levante looked to find a cure for the defensive problems of previous years.
One to Watch – Jorge De Frutos
Jorge de Frutos is perhaps the most intriguing signing that Levante have made this summer. The tricky winger featured prominently for Real Madrid’s reserve team and then on loan at Rayo Vallecano last term. He never got an opportunity at the Bernabeu and the writing was largely on the wall for his Madrid career when he failed to even get close to breaking into the Real Valladolid first team in a loan spell in the first half of the 2019/20 season.
Levante should in theory be a better fit for his talents with Paco Lopez a coach who is more willing to place his faith in technically gifted players over those that cope well with the physical demands of the game. A five-year contract shows that Levante really do believe in De Frutos and he should get plenty of opportunities to showcase his talents this season, even if it is more likely to be off the bench.
Levante 2020/21 Targets
Levante, who start the season with the derby against their city rivals, will privately think they have a real chance of being the top side in the city of Valencia for the first time this season. They only finished 4 points behind Los Che last term and with Valencia’s squad having been depleted this summer, a stable Levante side ought to be in a position to take advantage.
Local pride aside, Levante will certainly expect to steer well clear of the relegation zone but their summer additions have been more with an eye on the future and it’s hard to see any of the players that have arrived making a sufficient enough immediate impact to propel them into the top half.
LLE Prediction: 13th
On the road in Valencia today via @marksoc1.
Mini-tour (with a football twist) coming up with the sights and sounds of late August in Spain’s 3rd largest city. Will be dropping by Mestalla, the Nou Mestalla & Levante’s Estadi Ciutat de València.
Thread to Follow ⤵️⤵️ pic.twitter.com/fipdHkKEA8
— LaLiga Expert (@LigaExpert) August 30, 2020
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