After just four matches, Lionel Messi has scored more La Liga goals than the entire Rayo Vallecano team -- a fact that's even more impressive when you consider that that Messi was actually sidelined for the Blaugrana's clash with Malaga. That's the magnitude of the task awaiting Rayo Vallecano today; not only do they need to improve their own level of performance, but they need to stop the Barcelona juggernaut -- which likely means keeping Messi scoreless for the first time this league season. And not only do they have to stop Messi, but they also have to keep an eye on Neymar, who has been utterly sensational in his past few appearances (and is due a goal or three) as well as Cesc Fabregas, provided that the Catalan midfielder retains his place in the starting line-up.
Even the two Barca full-backs are dangerous: Dani Alves has scored as many goals as Pedro this season while Adriano boasts a similar record to Real Madrid's world record signing Gareth Bale. Well, that statistic might be misleading, but you get the picture.
Everywhere on the field, everyone is a threat for the Blaugrana -- Rayo don't stand much of a hope of competing with that. Their budget is tiny, minuscule in comparison to Barcelona's and one of their best players is a former Real Madrid reject who struggled to make an impact in the second tier of English football. This shouldn't even be a contest -- yet with the Vallecas crowd behind them, you never quite know what to expect from Rayo.
Predict the score of tonight's match by commenting below -- all correct predictions are logged and the community member with the greatest number of predictions at the season's end will win themselves a brand-new Barcelona jersey of their choice. Best of luck!
More from Barca Blaugranes:
- La Liga: Rayo Vallecano vs FC Barcelona: Match Preview
- FC Barcelona News: 20 September 2013; Lionel Messi on Verge of Milestone, Neymar Makes 300th Pro Appearance
- UEFA Champions League: FC Barcelona 4-0 AFC Ajax: Player Ratings
- From The Mind of Xoel: Messi's Hat Trick Leads Barça to 4-0 Beating of Ajax
- FC Barcelona News: 19 September 2013; Barça Start Champions League Season With Win, Lionel Messi Sets New Milestone