Denis Doyle/Getty ImagesLuis Enrique has two enforced changes to contend with after Neymar's booking at Granada last week ruled him out of this one, and Sergio Busquets was the victim of a nasty tackle at Villarreal. Pedro Rodriguez should be a simple replacement alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. If the latter plays as well against Rayo as he did against Granada, he shouldn't expect to be unceremoniously subbed off again. Xavi is likely to keep his place with Andres Iniesta rested for bigger fish to fry later in the month.
Javier Mascherano will slot into the midfield in place of Busquets. Jordi Alba is walking a disciplinary tightrope and is just one booking away from missing the next game. Xavi should retain his place for this one. Denis Doyle/Getty ImagesWe could even see a deliberate yellow to rule him out of the Eibar fixture but allowing him to be available for El Clasico. Ivan Rakitic has played himself into something approaching his Sevilla form and is an easy pick.
Gerard Pique will resume his defensive duties alongside Marc Bartra, while Dani Alves may be given the week off to recharge the batteries. Martin Montoya will deputise. Claudio Bravo of course takes up his usual position between the posts. Player to watchRoberto Trashorras is the man that makes Rayo tick. David Ramos/Getty ImagesAt 34 years old, Roberto Trashorras is fast approaching the autumn of his career but age has not wearied him. Quite the opposite in fact.
Barcelona vs. Rayo Vallecano: Team News, Preview, Live Stream and TV InfoBarcelona need three points to keep the pressure on Real Madrid. Andres Kudacki/Associated PressBarcelona have the earliest of kick-offs when they entertain Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou. A midday (local time) start will shake off the cobwebs and could be a leveller in this game. After all, Barca have struggled with earlier starts for a while now. Paco Jemez's side will, as usual, give absolutely everything for their manager, and one of the most enchanting things about Jemez is that he refuses to deviate to another way of playing despite possibly garnering more success from it. When you consider that the Catalans have put 31 goals past Rayo in the last seven meetings, per Fussball Wettpoint, and Jemez's side have managed just one in response, arguably the manager needs to review his policy.
MalagaL 0-2 vs ElcheW 5-0 vs. LevanteL 1-2 vs Deportivo La CorunaW 3-1 vs. VillarrealL 1-3 vs. Atletico MadridWhoScored. comPredicted FormationsBarcelona line up against Rayo Vallecano. B/R Formation Builder. Alberto Bueno can't have had too many better weekends than the one against Levante last time out. Four goals in 15 first-half minutes, including a perfect hat-trick, will have the striker high on confidence when the lightning face the Blaugrana. Manucho did well alongside and may well keep Leo Baptistao on the substitutes' bench for the visit to Catalonia.
After a run of only one victory in four games against Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, Villarreal have won their last three games against the away side in the competition. Villarreal have won each of their last seven home games against Rayo Vallecano in La Liga - their longest such run against a single opponent in the competition. Villarreal are unbeaten in their last four matches played on Mondays in La Liga and have kept clean sheets in all these games. After a run of four defeats in six matches in La Liga, Villarreal are unbeaten in their last five matches in the competition. After an unbeaten run of seven games in La Liga, Rayo Vallecano have lost two of their last three games in the competition. Villarreal vs Rayo Vallecano Prediction Villarreal have been in impressive form in recent weeks and will need to work hard to push their way into the top four.
The likes of Gerard Moreno and Dani Parejo have stepped up this season and will look to make their mark in this fixture. Rayo Vallecano are in the midst of a slump at the moment and will need to address their issues ahead of this game. Villarreal are the better team at the moment and should be able to win this game. Prediction: Villarreal 2-1 Rayo VallecanoVillarreal vs Rayo Vallecano Betting TipsTip 1: Result - VillarrealTip 2: Game to have over 2. 5 goals - YesTip 3: Rayo Vallecano to score first - YesTip 4: Gerard Moreno to score - Yes PSG at only 5th! Paul Merson ranks his 5 favorites for the Champions League this season.
Rayo Vallecano - Villarreal Live Streaming and TV Listings