Barcelona face ‘tricky’ Rayo test
Barcelona is set to travel away from home as they face Rayo Vallecano. On a bright afternoon at the Estadio de Vallecas, Xavi’s men will have eyes on nothing but all three points from this vital fixture.
Based on recent performances, fans eagerly await 90 minutes of good football – something the team has yet to play this season. Their last fixture against Alaves – a game that was marginally won by Barca – was a prime example of not-so-perfect football played by the Blaugrana outfit.
Nonetheless, a solid performance is what Barcelona need at this crucial juncture of the season. Their opponents, Rayo Vallecano, are far better than an average mid-table side. Notably, their recent exploits include frustrating a power-packed Real Madrid side to a 0-0 draw at the Bernabeu.
Xavi will have his task cut out ahead of the game having already received bitter news in the recently concluded international break — a season-ending injury to youngster Gavi.
Apart from Gavi, the Catalans are also sweating over the fitness of their No.1 keeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen. The German international is currently nursing a back injury and will probably miss out against Rayo on Saturday. Ter Stegen’s omission from the XI will see Iñaki Peña take over the reigns between the sticks. A massive responsibility ahead for the Spaniard as he faces an immense task to marshal the Barça defense which has often shown vulnerability in their own half.
On the attacking front, Xavi will have to rely on his prime center forward – Lewandowski, who singlehandedly put up an assuring performance upfront against Alaves. The former Bayern man will have to step up if Barça are to pile up a score against this resilient Rayo defense.
A predictable result at the Estadio de Vallecas would be an easy 2-0 win for Barcelona. However, in an ever-so-competitive league where Girona are currently sitting first in the table, this away fixture for the Catalans could well be a tricky test away from home.