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Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, La Liga: Team News, Match Preview

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The champions look to stay strong on their road to the title against one of the worst teams in the league

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

FC Barcelona (1st, 60pts) vs Rayo Vallecano (19th, 23pts)


Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 27

Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Clément Lenglet, Thomas Vermaelen, Rafinha, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jean-Clair Todibo (out)

Rayo Outs & Doubts: Gorka Elustondo, Abdoulaye Ba (out)

Date/Time: Saturday, March 9, 2019, 6.30pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 5.30pm GMT (UK), 12.30pm ET, 9.30am PT (USA), 11pm IST (India)

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Referee: Mario Melero López

How to Watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA, Canada, Spain), Eleven Sports 1 (UK), SONY TEN 2 (India), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), others

How to Stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA, Canada, Spain), others


Following a pretty much meaningless loss to Girona in the Catalan Super Cup in midweek (seriously, did anyone really care about the trophy? I was just really happy to see the kids playing), a full-strength and rested Barcelona return to real action on Saturday when they welcome Rayo Vallecano to Camp Nou for a big La Liga match for both sides.

Rayo really need some good news from this one: they’ve lost five in a row, are in the relegation zone and just don’t look good at all lately, although their defense has kept them in every game in the last month. The attack is the problem right now, but Rayo always play Barça really well and were actually up 2-1 with three minutes go the first time these two met this season. The Blaugrana came back and scored two goals in two and a half minutes to win that game, but Rayo can be at least a little confident they can cause similar problems at the Greatest Stadium on Earth.

Ernesto Valverde and his men certainly don’t want a repeat of that nail-biter last Novemeber, and the fact that Atlético Madrid play a relatively easy home game against Leganés before Barça this weekend will give the leaders extra motivation to win and stay seven points clear at the top of the table.

Let’s do this, boys. You’re too good to suffer against Rayo again.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Murillo, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé

Rayo (5-4-1): Dimitrievski; Advíncula, Amat, Gálvez, Velázquez, Moreno; Embarba, Comesana, Suárez, Trejo; De Tomás


PREDICTION

I’m slightly nervous about this game just because we took the first game against Rayo for granted and almost lost, but I don’t think it’ll happen again: 3-0 Barça.