PREVIEW | FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano

PREVIEW | FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano

After two home defeats, it's time get back to that winning feeling Camp Nou

La Liga is taking the weekend off for the Copa del Rey Final, but FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano are using the free Sunday to play a game that was originally scheduled to play in January. Kick-off is at 9.00pm CEST (TICKETS HERE), and this guide will help you work out when and where you can watch where you are.

The original game was postponed to make room the for the Catalans’ cup match with Athletic Club, which couldn’t be played the week before because both sides were in Saudi Arabia for the Super Cup.

This is Barça’s third league fixture in just six days, the first of which ended in a highly disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Cádiz, while the second was a far more satisfying 1-0 win at Real Sociedad.

Those results, coupled with others elsewhere, mean that although it is now practically impossible for Barça to prevent Real Madrid from winning the championship, they are now extremely well positioned to ensure a spot in next season’s Champions League.

A win against Rayo would put nine points between Barça and fifth placed Betis with five points to go – and would also boost Barça's chances of finishing second and hence qualifying for the 2023 Super Cup.

The Opposition

Rayo Vallecano were having a fabulous season, and after 18 games were in the Champions League places. They immediately nose-dived after that, failing to win any of their next 13 games, finally putting an end to their negative run with a 1-0 win at Espanyol on last Thursday.

But they also managed to get as far as the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.

They won the reverse fixture at Vallecas 1-0, Radamel Falcao scoring the winner in Ronald Koeman’s last game in charge.


Team news

Pedri, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti and Ansu Fati are all still out with fitness issues. However, despite concerns that Ronald Araujo had injured his knee against Real Sociedad, it proved to be a false alarm and the Uruguayan is in the squad.

Did you know?

Rayo Vallecano have one of the poorest away records in la Liga, with just nine points collected when not playing at Vallecas.

Barça may have lost at Vallecas earlier this season, but they have won all seven games against Rayo at Camp Nou since 2003.

The last ten games between Barça and Rayo Vallecano have produced an average of 4.5 goals a game. Most of those have been for the Catalans, but in six of those ten games, both sides managed to score at least once. In fact, there has NEVER been a 0-0 draw between the two teams in the league.

This game pits two of the best assisters in the competition against each other. Ousmane Dembélé leads La Liga in that category with 11, tied with Karim Benzema, but Rayo’s Argentinian Óscar Trejo is just two behind the frontrunners with nine.

Xavi says

"I’m not as optimistic as the president, in my opinion, it’s practically impossible for us to win the league. And the last few games have not felt too good. However, this is a golden opportunity to consolidate ourselves in second place. But they’re a difficult opponent and we need to be a lot more effective.”

“There have been moments of science fiction, like the 4-0 win at the Bernabéu, but some horror moments too, especially when we were missing so many players and in such a poor position in November. But this is the post-Messi era and we need patience. We weren’t in a situation to win titles. A lot of teams struggle to get back to the top, look at Manchester United. So, there’s still a lot of strengthening to be done but we should be back fighting for trophies next year.


“Against Eintracht and Cádiz we didn’t feel the support of the fans. We need their support and when they’re not fully behind us, we feel it. Tomorrow, things should be back to normal.”

"We do seem to be scoring a lot from headers. A lot of them have come from set pieces, and having Luuk de Jong in the team obviously makes a difference. It’s a different idea of football but it’s another consequence of doing our job right.”

“It is a pity that Piqué is struggling with pain. He’s been like that for two or three month so we’ll have to see how he’s feeling. As for Ansu Fati, he should be ready for the Mallorca game.”

Força Barça
Força Barça

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