It’s turned out to be a very happy new year for Barcelona as they register their first victory of 2011 with a 2-1 win over Levante. A brace from Pedro Rodriguez ensured no Christmas hangover and created a five point gap between themselves and Real Madrid at the Spanish summit.
The champions had to construct a makeshift back-four due to the absences of Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol who were both out due to suspension and injury respectively. Anchorman Sergio Busquets was inserted into a central defensive partnership with Eric Abidal with Maxwell operating down the left and Dani Alves as always on the opposite side. Lionel Messi was given the night off to recover from his trip back from his native Argentina.