Rayo Vallecano (7th, 16pts) vs FC Barcelona (9th, 15pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Tuesday
Competition/Round: 2021-22 La Liga, Matchday 11
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Frenkie De Jong, Pedri, Ronald Araujo, Ousmane Dembélé, Martin Braithwaite (out), Ansu Fati (doubt)
Rayo Outs & Doubts: Martín Merquelanz (out)
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 7pm CET (Barcelona), 6pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 1pm ET, 10am PT (USA), 10.30pm IST (India)
Venue: Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas, Madrid, Spain
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
VAR: Juan Martínez Munuera
How to watch on TV: Not Available (USA), TSN 1 (Canada), LaLigaTV (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), MTV (India), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), others
Following a painful defeat to Real Madrid in El Clásico on Sunday, Barcelona are back on the road for a midweek La Liga trip to the Spanish capital as they face Rayo Vallecano at the Campo de Vallecas.
Barça played as well as they could on Sunday but still weren’t good enough to defeat a poor Madrid team, which shows that things really are not going well for the Blaugrana. Even though he coached a good game in the Clásico, Ronald Koeman continues to inspire very little confidence and the team is struggling to score and create.
The defense has been suspect as well, which is not good news coming into a game against one of the league’s most entertaining teams. If you haven’t been paying attention, Rayo have taken La Liga by storm since their return to the first division, and although they are not as insane and fun as they were under the legendary Paco Jémez back in the day they remain focused on attacking and giving their fans plenty of enjoyment under Andoni Iraola.
Rayo have scored 17 goals in 10 games so far, two more than Barça, and although they’ve done most of their damage against teams in the lower half of the table, they are winning the games they’re supposed to in order to stay in the division. They’re also doing with style and a commitment to attacking no matter who they face, which is something no fan will ever complain about.
They can be too open against more talented teams and Barça will have more opportunities to score than they did against Real Madrid, and the hope is that the forward players will have their scoring boots on this time. This was a very tough tie in the Copa del Rey last season, and this time around the stadium will be filled with great fans who will be looking for another famous result in what’s been a brilliant start to the campaign for Rayo.
Barça must return to winning ways quickly to rebound from the weekend loss, and beating a good Rayo side on the road will be an important boost of confidence.
Barcelona (4-2-3-1): Ter Stegen; Dest, García, Piqué, Alba; Roberto, Busquets; Gavi, Coutinho, Memphis; Agüero
Rayo (4-2-3-1): Dimitrievski; Balliu, Saveljich, Catena, García; Valentin, Comesana; Palajón, Trejo, García; Falcao
Rayo will attack and try to score, and they’ll leave spaces for Barça to exploit: 3-1 to the visitors in a fun, entertaining game.