La Liga action resumes as Barcelona look to continue their winning run in the league when they square up against Rayo Vallecano away from home.

Rayo Vallecano have had a decent start to the new season, and they will look to return to winning ways when they host Barcelona. The Catalan giants might not be dominating the proceedings like they did last term. But, they are still in the race for the league title and will close the gap at the top this weekend.

Vallecano have accumulated 18 points in their 13 outings with four wins and six draws. They have only lost three matches so far but having played out quite a few draws, they will hope for all three points against the Catalan giants.

In their last league outing against Girona, they suffered a 2-1 defeat. Rayo Vallecano created more chances than the opposition but still could not end up on the right side of the result. They have been winless in their last three outings and will look to return to winning ways when they face Barcelona. But, it won’t be easy given the strength of the opposition.

The Catalan giants have only suffered one defeat so far this season. They have accumulated 30 points out of their 13 matches, with nine wins and three draws. It has been a great start, and they will look to build on it this weekend.

They are heading into this fixture on the back of a 2-1 win over Alaves. Xavi’s team dominated the proceedings and came out on top as expected. They have won each of their last three outings in all competitions and will look to make it four in a row against Rayo Vallecano. Meanwhile, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could deploy.

Team News & Tactics

Rayo Vallecano

The home team will be without the services of Oscar Trejo, who is out with a knee injury. Even Alvaro Garcia is suspended for this fixture. As a result, the home team will have to make two changes to the XI that started in their last outing.

Rayo Vallecano will stick with the 4-4-2 formation, where Stole Dimitrievski will be in goal. He will have the support of Abdul Mumin and Florian Lejeune, who will start in the heart of the defence. Meanwhile, Andrei Ratiu and Alfonso Espino will be the full-backs for the home team. They will have a tough time as the duo will have to keep up with Barcelona’s star wingers.

In the centre of the park, Isi Palazon and Jorge de Frutos will provide the width. While the duo will focus on joining the attack, they might double up with their full-backs to keep the opposition’s wide players under control.

Oscar Valentín and Unai Lopez will feature in a more central role. The duo will look to ensure the Catalan giants do not end up dominating the proceeding. They will also look to initiate counter-attacks. Up top, Randy Nteka will pair up with Sergio Camello.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Dimitrievski; Ratiu, Mumin, Lejeune, Espino; Palazon, Valentin, Unai Lopez, De Frutos; Nteka, Camello

Rayo Vallecano vs Barcelona Predicted XI


The visitors suffered a huge blow during the international break as Gavi picked up an injury that has ruled him out for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Marc-Andre ter Stegen is doubtful for this fixture, and we could see Inaki Pena in goal.

Barcelona will be hopeful that both Frankie de Jong and Sergi Roberto are back in the mix following their struggles with injuries. Xavi switched back to a 4-3-3 from a 3-4-3 last time out and he is expected to continue with the 4-3-3, where Pena will be in goal.

Joao Cancelo and Alejandro Balde will be the full-backs. In the heart of the defence, Ronald Araujo will pair up with Jules Kounde. The back four will look to help out their backup keeper in keeping a clean sheet.

Ilkay Gundogan will continue in the centre of the park alongside Pedri and Fermin Lopez. The trio will look to control the tempo of this game and ensure Barcelona dominate the proceedings.

16-year-old sensation Lamine Yamal will feature on the right flank, while summer signing Joao Felix will look to build on his excellent start on the left flank. The duo will look to create opportunities for their star striker Robert Lewandowski.

Probable Lineup (4–3-3): Pena; Cancelo, Araujo, Kounde, Balde; Gundogan, Pedri, Fermin Lopez; Yamal, Lewandowski, Felix

Rayo Vallecano vs Barcelona Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Barcelona have won 13 out of their last 17 fixture against Rayo Vallecano.
  • Rayo Vallecano are unbeaten in their last three league outings against the Catalan giants after enduring a run of 13 consecutive defeats.
  • Xavi’s team have lost their last two away matches against Vallecano in La Liga.
  • The Catalan giants have only won two out of their last 13 away league games against teams from Madrid.

Player to Watch

Joao Felix

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Felix got off to a great start after joining Barcelona on loan in the summer. But, in recent weeks, his form has dipped a bit. The Portuguese international will look to return to his best when he takes the field against Rayo Vallecano in this away fixture.

The 24-year-old winger has six goal contributions in 14 outings this season. And, he will be eager to add to his tally. Felix could end up being the difference between the two teams given the kind of quality he has.


Rayo Vallecano 0-3 Barcelona

The Catalan giants have been in fine form in the ongoing season. They have only lost once in the league and will look to ensure they claim another three points on Saturday. Xavi’s men have won their last three outings in all competitions since the defeat to Real Madrid and will go all out to make it four in a row.

The home team might have had a decent start to the new season, but they played way too many draws already. They will look for a positive result against Barcelona, but that seems unlikely. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-0 win for the visitors.

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