Rayo Vallecano vs Barcelona Prediction: This won’t be a regulation away win

 | November 24 | 

5 mins read

La Liga gets back into full swing this weekend after the international break and Mark Sochon is here to preview Rayo Vallecano vs Barcelona, which is live on Viaplay Sports 1 in the UK, with a 13:00 kick-off time...

Rayo Vallecano vs Barcelona Betting Tips:

  • Back Rayo Vallecano +1 Handicap @ 5/4
  • Back  Under 2.5 Goals @ 11/10

Barcelona face their bogey team this weekend in La Liga. Since winning promotion in 2021, Rayo Vallecano have an incredible record against the Catalan giants, taking ten points from the four meetings and conceding just one goal in the process.

The defending champions will be hoping Vallecas is a happier hunting ground this weekend as they make the trip to Madrid for a 13:00 kick-off with the game live on Viaplay.

Punters will need to weigh up whether Rayo will be able to be awkward opponents for their illustrious rivals again, despite a managerial change over the summer.

Andoni Iraola left for Bournemouth having won his two home league games against Barcelona as Rayo boss. There was a suspicion in Spain that his old team would struggle this season without him, particularly following the departures of some key players, but that hasn’t been the case.

Francisco has come in and steadied the ship nicely, with the exception of one absolute horror-show in August when his side were hammered 7-0 at home by city rivals Atletico Madrid.

Since then though, Rayo Vallecano have recovered well and were unbeaten in eight league games, before a narrow defeat against surprise table toppers Girona last time out.

There’ll be a bit of trepidation in the visiting camp as Barcelona get set for another trip to one of La Liga’s smallest but most atmospheric stadiums. Xavi’s team have not been convincing over the past couple of months and they needed two Second Half Robert Lewandowski goals to spare their blushes at home against newly promoted Alaves last time out.

Barca were behind after just 17 seconds in that game and their tendency to start slow but finish strongly has been a real feature of their matches this season and is something that anyone betting on their games should be aware of.

69% of Barcelona’s goals in La Liga have come in the Second Half while 46% have come after the 75th minute including Lewandowski’s decisive penalty just before the international break. Their most recent away game was also settled very late on with Ronald Araujo’s Stoppage Time goal sealing a scarcely deserved 1-0 victory at Real Sociedad.

Team News:

The international break in Spain has been overshadowed by an injury to young Barcelona star Gavi who tore his ACL while playing for his country. The 19 year old started both games for Spain, who had already qualified Euro 2024, with his injury in the latter match sparking criticism of national team boss Luis de la Fuente and leaving Barca without a key player for most likely the remainder of the season.

Barcelona have one other significant absentee here and that’s goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Inexperienced back-up Iñaki Peña will come in for his first ever start in La Liga.

Xavi has Frenkie de Jong available again after injury, although the Dutchman may not be ready to start. The visitors may also leave Ronald Araujo out of their eleven after the Uruguayan played every minute for his country in World Cup qualifying in South America.

As for Rayo Vallecano, they are not dealing with any significant injuries, but they are missing one key player. Winger Alvaro Garcia is suspended and that’s a real blow given the 31 year old is not only their top scorer, but biggest danger on the break given his pace on the left flank.

Rayo Vallecano vs Barcelona Odds:

Despite their very poor recent record against this opposition, Barcelona are the clear favourites to win at 8/13. Rayo Vallecano are 4/1 to record a third straight home win over Barca while you can back the draw at 3/1.

Robert Lewandowski seems to be enjoying playing with the likes of Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo this season and you can back the Polish striker to score first at 3/1 and score anytime at 10/11.

If you fancy Rayo Vallecano’’s good run of results against Barcelona to continue, you can back the home team to win either half at 7/4. Meanwhile they are 5/1 to keep a clean sheet, something Rayo have managed to do in three of their last four games against Barcelona.

Bet 1 - Rayo Vallecano +1 Handicap @ 5/4

When you consider Rayo Vallecano’s fine recent record against Barcelona and the overall unconvincing form of the Catalans, there’s definitely reason to fancy the home team to at least get a result from this game.

The absence of Gavi will force the visitors into a midfield reshuffle while their defence hasn’t been as convincing this season with a more attacking right-back and regular changes at centre-back.

Rayo have been tough to beat this term, losing just one of their last nine in La Liga and I’m backing Rayo Vallecano +1 Handicap at 5/4 here.

Bet 2 - Under 2.5 Goals @ 11/10

It feels like Rayo boss Francisco may have learned a fair bit from that early season thrashing against Atletico and I can’t see the home team throwing too much caution to the wind here.

They’re likely to set up with their usual back four and two defensive minded midfielders and as we saw in their 0-0 draw away to Real Madrid earlier this month, they are capable of frustrating the better teams.

The absence of Alvaro Garcia is also a limiting factor on the home team’s attacking options and with Barcelona not at their free-flowing best, I’m backing Under 2.5 Goals at 11/10.

You can read all of our previews and Football Betting Tips on our Football home page...

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