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La Liga | Gameweek 1
Aug 11, 2023 at 6.30pm UK
Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos
Rayo Vallecano logo

0 - 2
Rayo Vallecano

Ramazani (65')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Isi (20' pen.), Nteka (28' pen.)
Lopez (40'), Garcia (51'), Valentin (65')

Preview: Almeria vs. Rayo Vallecano - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's La Liga clash between Almeria and Rayo Vallecano, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The opening match of the 2023-24 La Liga campaign will take place at Power Horse Stadium on Friday evening, with Almeria welcoming Rayo Vallecano.

Almeria only just survived relegation from Spain's top flight last term, finishing 17th in the table, one point above the bottom three, while Rayo were 11th, collecting 49 points during a successful campaign.

Match preview

Almeria players during the warm up before the second half on April 16, 2023© Reuters

Having secured a return to La Liga for the first time since 2015, Almeria's main focus for last season was to avoid relegation, and although there were plenty of difficult moments, the team managed to secure back-to-back campaigns in the top flight for just the fourth time in their history.

There has been a pattern for Almeria, as they have never spent more than two straight seasons in the top flight of Spanish football, so the Andalusian side will be aiming to create history this term.

La Union were 17th in La Liga last season, finishing just one point clear of 18th-placed Real Valladolid, with their survival going to the final matchday of the campaign, finishing with a 3-3 draw against Espanyol.

Vicente Moreno is now in charge of UDA, returning to Spain after a spell with Saudi outfit Al Shabab, and the 48-year-old will be bidding to make the perfect start to his time at the helm on Friday.

Almeria, who have won two of their five friendlies this summer, have brought in Luis Suarez, Dion Lopy and Edgar Gonzalez during the current transfer window, while a number of players have departed, with El Bilal Toure the most high-profile of those, moving to Atalanta BC in a big-money deal.

Rayo Vallecano's Santi Comesana celebrates scoring against Real Madrid on November 7, 2022© Reuters

Rayo, meanwhile, also have a new manager in place, with Francisco replacing Andoni Iraola following his move to Premier League outfit Bournemouth.

Francisco left Elche last October and has also been in charge of Almeria, Cordoba, Huesca and Girona, so it would be fair to say that he is familiar when it comes to the coaching circuit in Spain.

Rayo are in their third straight season in La Liga, finishing 12th and 11th in their last two campaigns, picking up 49 points during a successful 2022-23 campaign, which left them just four points off seventh position.

Los Franjirrojos have won just one of their five pre-season friendlies, but they would have gained encouragement from draws against the likes of Porto and Brighton & Hove Albion as part of their preparations for the new campaign.

Rayo have also made three signings this summer, bringing in Florian Lejeune, Alfonso Espino and Aridane Hernandez, while there have been a number of departures, with the biggest of those being Fran Garcia, who has returned to Real Madrid.

Almeria friendly form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W

Rayo Vallecano friendly form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D

Team News

Rayo Vallecano's Raul de Tomas celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on May 24, 2023© Reuters

Almeria will be without the services of two first-team players through injury, with Leo Baptistao and Martin Svidersky both missing for the home side.

There are expected to be starts for all three of the new arrivals, with Suarez, who was on loan at the club from Marseille last season, set to lead the line.

Lopy is expected to feature in central midfield, with Gonzalez at the back, while there are also likely to be positions in the XI for Adri Embarba and Lazaro on the opening matchday of the season.

Rayo have not reported any injury problems ahead of this match, so new head coach Francisco could have a full squad to choose from against Almeria.

There is a strong chance that all three new signings will be included in the first XI, with Lejeune, Espino and Hernandez set to feature at the back for the visitors.

Raul de Tomas is expected to get the nod at centre-forward with support from Salvi and Isi Palazon, while Radamel Falcao, Bebe and Andres Martin should all be on the bench.

Almeria possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Pozo, Babic, Gonzalez, Centelles; Robertone, Melero, Lopy; Lazaro, L Suarez, Embarba

Rayo Vallecano possible starting lineup:
Dimitrievski; Balliu, Lejeune, Aridane, Espino; Ciss, U Lopez, Trejo; Salvi, De Tomas, Palazon

SM words green background

We say: Almeria 1-1 Rayo Vallecano

Almeria actually won 3-1 in the corresponding match last season, while Rayo recorded a 2-0 victory in their clash in Madrid. We are expecting this to be a cagey affair on the opening night of the new campaign and have therefore had to settle on a low-scoring draw at Power Horse Stadium.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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