Rayo Vallecano will look to end their five-match winless run in the league when they host league leaders Real Madrid on Sunday.

Thanks to their win over second-placed Girona, Carlo Ancelotti’s team now have a five-point lead at the top of the table. And, Real Madrid will now head into the away fixture against Rayo Vallecano with the aim of strengthening their position at the summit.

The home team have been winless in their last five league games, losing four of those fixtures. Things have not really gone according to plan for them, and they now have a tough challenge in Real Madrid. Rayo Vallecano are seven points clear of the drop zone. But if they do not return to winning ways in the near future, it won’t be long before we find them in the relegation zone.

As far as Los Blancos are concerned, they are comfortably sitting at the top having won four out of their last five league games. They have only lost twice this season and will look to ensure they continue their dominance.

While they do have a few injury concerns, the Spanish giants have still managed to get the desired results. They smashed second-placed Girona 4-0 and then secured a 1-0 win in the Round of 16 of the Champions League against RB Leipzig.

The team in white will be confident of their chances while the home team will look to create an upset. Meanwhile, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could put to use.

Team News & Tactics

Rayo Vallecano

Late fitness tests ahead of the fixture will decide the availability of Pep Chavarria and Diego Mendez. Apart from the duo, they do not really have any fresh issues. Despite the loss in their last outing, they will most likely stick to the same tactics and personnel.

The home team will go ahead with the 4-2-3-1 formation, where Stole Dimitrievski will be in goal. Alfonso Espino and Ivan Balliu will be the full-back duo, while Abdul Mumin and Florian Lejeune will feature in the heart of the defence. The back four will look to keep a clean sheet against one of the best attacks in the division.

They will have the support of Oscar Valentin and Pathe Ciss who will be the two holding midfielders in the centre of the park. They will form a double pivot that will provide defensive support and look to control the tempo of the game.

Isi Palazon and Alvaro Garcia will feature on the flanks and will provide the width to their attack. Kike Perez will be the attacking midfielder, he will look to create chances for those around him. Meanwhile, Sergio Camello will be leading the line for the home team.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Dimitrievski; Balliu, Mumin, Lejeune, Espino; Valentin, Ciss; Palazon, K Perez, A Garcia; Camello

Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid Predicted XI

Real Madrid

Los Blancos will be without the services of Antonio Rudiger, Jude Bellingham, David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois. While there has been a lot of speculation about Brahim Diaz’s availability, he is expected to be fit to feature in this fixture. Ferland Mendy is suspended for this fixture, and Fran Garcia will replace him in the XI.

Luka Modric has been on the bench for the last few fixtures, and there is talk of him getting a start in this one. But, that seems unlikely as Real Madrid are unlikely to make any major changes to their XI that started in the last outing.

It will be the 4-4-2 formation, with Andriy Lunin in goal. French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni will continue in the heart of the defence alongside Nacho Fernandez. Meanwhile, Dani Carvajal and Fran Garcia will be the full-backs.

The back four will have the support of the midfielders as they look for another clean sheet. Toni Kroos will be in a holding role while Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga will provide support to the former German international.

Diaz will most likely be the attacking midfielder. If he is not available, Rodrygo will take his place and Joselu will come into the XI. With Diaz available, Rodrygo and Vinicius will be the two forwards.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Lunin; Carvajal, Tchouameni, Nacho, Fran Garcia; Valverde, Kroos, Camavinga; Diaz; Rodrygo, Vinicius

Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Real Madrid’s last league defeat came back in September last year.
  • Rayo Vallecano have been winless in their last five matches.
  • Los Blancos are the joint highest-scoring team in the division with 52 goals in 24 outings.
  • The home team are the joint second-lowest-scoring team in the division. (21 goals in 24 matches)
  • Carlo Ancelotti’s team have the best defence in the league with only 15 goals conceded so far.

Player to Watch

Vinicius Junior

Embed from Getty Images

The Brazil international did struggle in the initial few fixtures because of injuries, but he has slowly picked up the pace and has been doing a great job of late. With the business end of the season now underway, Carlo Ancelotti will expect his star forward to get the job on most occasions.

Vinicius Junior has scored 12 goals and has bagged seven assists in his 22 outings this season. With Jude Bellingham unavailable, all eyes will be on the 23-year-old winger.


Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid have been on a dominant run in the league while Rayo have been struggling of late. While Los Blancos will be without a few of their key players, they still have a lot of quality in their ranks to ease past the home team.

The Merenges‘ formidable form and defensive solidity are likely to overpower Rayo Vallecano’s struggling attack, securing a comfortable victory for the league leaders. And, that is why The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 win for the visitors.

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