Watch Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano LIVE!

A nervous 1-0 win over Real Sociedad halted a two-game losing streak for Barcelona on Thursday night, prompting manager Xavi to brand the victory “three golden points”. They now hold a six-point lead over Real Betis in fifth and a top-four finish should be all but assured, but Barça will need 17 points from a possible 18 in these closing weeks to better last season’s tally which was their worst since 2007/08 (79).
Barcelona’s last two home league losses both finished 1-0, as did the reverse in favour of Rayo Vallecano! They’ve not lost to the visitors at home though in the top-flight since May 2000, and with seven straight H2H home league wins on their side, each by at least a two-goal margin, it’s easy to see why Barça come into the clash as heavy favourites.
If Rayo can break that long-standing record, it would mark their first-ever top-flight H2H double, but perhaps more importantly it would hand them just their second league win this calendar year! They went into the winter break in fourth spot, but as a consequence of that poor run ‘Los Franjirrojos’ are now only seven points above the relegation zone with this being their game in hand, meaning manager Andoni Iraola will still be a little nervous about a potential immediate return to the second tier.
There are signs of improvement though and their 1-0 win in this city against Espanyol last time out meant Rayo have avoided defeat in four of their last six LL games (W1, D3, L2). That winning strike against Espanyol was their third consecutive away league goal scored before half-time, and another quick start could help spring a surprise on the Catalans.
Players to watch: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been Barcelona’s first scorer in five of his six LL scoring appearances, each time ending up in wins. Unsavoury tweets led to Sergi Guardiola’s contract termination at Barcelona B in 2015, but he can get revenge and be a hero for Rayo if he can score another match-winning goal like he did at Espanyol.
Hot stat: There has been a penalty awarded in six of the last nine LL H2Hs.

Read more

Watch Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid LIVE!

Real Madrid travel to Rayo Vallecano this evening with the opportunity to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to nine points. They’re six clear of second-placed Sevilla, who take on city rivals Real Betis tomorrow afternoon. Rayo have hit a poor run of form after a superb start to the season and sit eleventh.

Read more