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Barcelona logo
La Liga | Gameweek 37
May 19, 2024 at 6pm UK
Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys
Rayo Vallecano logo

3 - 0
Rayo Vallecano

Lewandowski (3'), Pedri (72', 75')
Yamal (10'), Raphinha (31'), Cubarsi (37'), Cancelo (90+2')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Mumin (23'), Valentin (50')

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

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

Barcelona will be aiming to secure second spot in the La Liga table when they welcome Rayo Vallecano to Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys in their penultimate match of the season on Sunday night.

Xavi's side are currently second, four points ahead of third-placed Girona, while Rayo sit 15th, six points clear of 18th-placed Cadiz and with a vastly superior goal difference.

Match preview

FC Barcelona coach Xavi looks on on May 16, 2024© Reuters

Barcelona made it back-to-back wins in Spain's top flight on Thursday courtesy of a two-goal success over basement side Almeria, with Fermin Lopez registering both goals for the Catalan team.

The result moved Xavi's team onto 79 points from their 36 league matches this season, with their record standing at 24 wins, seven draws and five defeats, and they have a four-point lead over third-placed Girona heading into the final two gameweeks of the campaign.

Barcelona would secure second with a win on Sunday, but a draw or indeed a defeat could also be enough depending on Girona's result against Valencia on the same evening.

The runners-up spot in Spain's top flight will never be considered a successful campaign for the Catalan giants, but they also managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and there have been a number of positives this season.

There is again speculation surrounding the future of Xavi, though, despite the club only recently convincing him to reverse his decision to stand down as head coach this summer.

The players can only focus on matters on the field, and they will be aiming to secure a third straight league success for Barcelona ahead of their final game of the season away to Sevilla.

Rayo Vallecano's Alvaro Garcia celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 31, 2024© Reuters

Rayo, meanwhile, will enter this match off the back of a huge 2-1 victory over Granada, with Florian Lejeune and Jorge de Frutos on the scoresheet for the capital outfit.

Inigo Perez's side, who had Oscar Trejo sent off in the fifth minute of their clash with Granada, sit in 15th position in the table, six points ahead of 18th-placed Cadiz with two games left.

Rayo's head-to-head record with Cadiz this season is identical, also in terms of goal difference, but the Madrid-based team have a vastly superior overall goal difference, so it is very difficult to imagine them being relegated from their current spot, but it is not impossible at this stage.

Incredibly, Rayo are unbeaten in their last five league matches with Barcelona, recording three wins in the process, while the points were shared in a 1-1 draw earlier this season.

Los Franjirrojos have certainly enjoyed their recent meetings with the Catalan outfit, while they have a relatively solid record of 18 points from their 18 league matches on their travels during the 2023-24 campaign.

Barcelona La Liga form:

Barcelona form (all competitions):

Rayo Vallecano La Liga form:

Team News

Barcelona centre-back Ronald Araujo on March 17, 2024© Reuters

Barcelona will again definitely be without the services of Gavi, Alejandro Balde and Frenkie de Jong this weekend, with all three missing until the 2024-25 campaign.

Ronald Araujo is also currently struggling with pain in his knee, and it has been claimed that the Uruguay international could miss the end of the season.

Fermin's brace against Almeria should mean that the Spaniard keeps his spot in the midfield here, but there are likely to be changes to the side that started on Thursday night.

Indeed, Andreas Christensen, Joao Cancelo, Ilkay Gundogan and Raphinha should all come back in, with Hector Fort, Sergi Roberto, Pedri and Ferran Torres expected to be the four players to drop out against Rayo.

The visitors, meanwhile, will be without the services of Trejo following his red card in the early stages of the victory over Granada last time out.

Diego Mendez is out for the season with a ligament injury, but the capital side are otherwise in strong shape, with head coach Perez having a number of options all across the pitch.

De Frutos's goal off the bench against Granada could lead to him being introduced into the side, but Sergio Camello should again lead the line for Rayo, with Kike Perez, Randy Nteka and Radamel Falcao likely to continue on the bench.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Kounde, Cubarsi, I Martinez, Cancelo; Fermin, Christensen, Gundogan; Yamal, Lewandowski, Raphinha

Rayo Vallecano possible starting lineup:
Dimitrievski; Balliu, Mumin, Lejeune, Espino; U Lopez, Valentin; Palazon, A Garcia, De Frutos; Camello

SM words green background

We say: Barcelona 2-1 Rayo Vallecano

Rayo's recent record against Barcelona is very impressive, and it would not be a surprise to see them claim another positive result this weekend. Rayo should have enough to stay in the division regardless of their final two results, though, and we are expecting Barcelona to navigate their way to all three points on Sunday.

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

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Barcelona's Andreas Christensen celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on April 21, 2024
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Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain22006
2 Italy Italy21013
3 Albania national flag Albania20111
4 Croatia Croatia20111

Group C

1 England flag England21104
2 Denmark Denmark20202
3 Slovenia Slovenia20202
4 Serbia Serbia20111

Group D

1 Netherlands Netherlands21104
2 France France21104
3 Austria Austria21013
4 Poland Poland20020

Group E

1 Romania Romania21013
2 Belgium Belgium21013
3 Slovakia Slovakia21013
4 Ukraine Ukraine21013

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal22006
2 Turkey Turkey21013
3 Czech Republic Czech Republic20111
4 Georgia Georgia20111

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