Three days since our last game in La Liga, Barça are back in action tonight against Rayo Vallecano. Live at 10pm local time. It’s a late one. After such a vital win on the weekend against the most inform team in the league, it’s so important that we can carry on this momentum against Rayo. It’s going to be very tricky though. Rayo have had a fantastic season with Iraola. At one point this season, they were fighting for the top 4. Which for them is a remarkable achievement. They’ve slowly slipped away since then, but they’re still an incredibly difficult team to beat. We’re going to have be at our very best. So, we’ll be having a brief look at our opponents, before jumping into the lineup predictions.
A quick look at our opponents:
Like I’ve mentioned previously, Rayo are an incredible difficult team to beat for Barça. Especially at home. The pitch is very tight and the crowd are close to the action, so the atmosphere is usually quite intense. I’ve thought this for a while, but this is one of the most difficult games of the season. Without a doubt. They’ve got some very technically gifted players like Izi Palazon in the midfield. As well as people like Dimitrievski. A goalkeeper who is not only very hard to beat, but he’s also a master at wasting time. They are 10th place in the table. Safe from the relegation zone. But of course that was never in doubt. They are an equally balanced team in terms of goals scored and conceded. With the total being 36 scored. And 36 conceded. And they have recorded a total 1 win, 2 losses and 2 draw in their last 5 games. With their most recent result coming as a 2-1 loss to Real sociedad.
In terms of the lineup, I think we’ll see a couple changes from the starting team that played against Atleti. I think things in defence have to change. Kounde and Araujo have to play in the centre together. Or someone like Chadi, who has been called up by Xavi for the game, should play alongside Araujo. With Kounde at Right back. Alonso weakens us, and although I think he’s a better defender, Eric had a very nervous cameo on Sunday. None of them deserve to start against Rayo. I’d also love to see someone like Casado start at right back. To possibly give the chance of finally seeing Araujo and ounce play alongside each other. That’s what we want long term.
In midfield, I think we have to see Pedri start this one. He came on against Atleti for the final 30 minutes, and his influence was stanly felt. He is our most important player, alongside Frenkie. Who also had a wonderful return on Sunday. With those two in the midfield, we can play the way we want to. Maybe Pedri will only play 70 minutes tonight. Of course we have to be careful. But starting him against Rayo is a must. I think that Eric will play as the pivot, in place of the suspended Busquets. But of course, Xavi also is considering playing Casado there. Or we could see a midfield three of Pedri, Frenkie and Gavi with three upfront.
In attack, Raphinha had an incredible game on Sunday. So hell be looking to carry that on. Lewandowski has been struggling inform of goal, but all that will come back soon. I’ve got no doubt. Ferran of course scored the important winning goal on Sunday. So he may also start if we decide to play three up top. It all depends on the formation.
My starting lineup:
Kounde- Araujo- Chadi- Balde
Pedri- Eric- Frenkie- Gavi