Barcelona will be looking to taken another step towards the La Liga glory when they host a struggling Rayo Vallecano in the league match at Camp Nou, in Catalonia, Spain, on Saturday night (IST).
What competition it is? La Liga
Teams: Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano
Kick Off: Saturday 09 March
Match Timing: 11:00 PM (IST)
Where the game is played? Camp Nou (99,354)
TV Info: Ten Sports Network has the rights to stream select La Liga matches in India. While live streaming can also be enjoyed on Facebook.
It’s hard to see how a team can stop Barcelona from winning their second consecutive La Liga title. As things stand, they are leading the chart with a seven points advantage over 2nd placed Atletico Madrid, while eternal rivals Real Madrid are a huge 12 points behind on the table.
Having said that, the picture at the top of the table could have been all different had Madrid managed to take home advantage in a six-pointer last weekend.
Ivan Rakitic’s perfectly chipped goal separated the rivals and Barcelona won their second El Clasico in a matter of few days.
However, Barca haven’t been dominant this season, failing to win 8 of their 26 matches. But Madrid’s torrid season and Atletico Madrid’s inconsistency means they didn’t have to shift gears in the title race.
Still, this season could become a historic one for Barca as they are fighting on three fronts. Ernesto Valverde’s men have an imperious position at the top of the table, while they are also in the final of Copa del Rey, and alive in the Champions League.
Rayo Vallecano, on the other hand, are in the middle of a very intense relegation fight. With 23 points from 26 games, they are 2nd from bottom. However, only two points separate them from safety, which we think will be stretched as they are away at Camp Nou for their next match. The next weekend could prove to be decisive as they will be at home against direct rivals Villarreal.
Míchel’s men are in a very bad form having lost their last five matches. They also have the 2nd worst defensive record in La Liga, and they must improve in every department to secure their top flight status.
Barcelona – W D W W W L
Rayo Vallecano – W L L L L L
Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano Team News:
Injured – Rafinha remains a long-term absentee for the hosts.
Suspended – Centre-back Clement Lenglet received his fifth booking in the last match and will be serving a one-game ban.
Questionable – Thomas Vermaelen is far from being 100% and he will be evaluated before the match.
Note: Samuel Umtiti will be partnering Gerard Pique at the back. Midfielder Arthur has been declared full fit and could feature here.
Key Players – Messi, Suarez
Injured – Gorka Elustondo is the only confirmed injury absentee for the visitors.
Suspended – Centre-back Abdoulaye Ba was sent off last weekend and is suspended for the match.
Questionable – None.
Note: Alex Galvez is expected to feature at the back. Mario Suarez, Santi Comesana and Giannelli Imbula all will be eyeing a place in the midfield.
Key Players – Raul de Tomas, Oscar Trejo
Barcelona– Stegen (GK), Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Arthur, Rakitic, Vidal, Messi, Coutinho, Suarez
Rayo Vallecano– Stole Dimitrievski (GK), Amat, Galvez, Velaquez, Moreno, Suarez, Comesana, Advincula, Embarba, Trejo, Tomas
Barcelona are heavy favorites and we back them to win the match.
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