Real Madrid-Rayo Vallecano Preview: Los Merengues face tricky test against city rivals
The defending Liga champions have little time to mull over their midweek 1-1 draw with Manchester United as they prepare for the visit of Paco Jemez's free-flowing side on Sunday
By Karthick Arvinth
Ramos, Pepe, Varane, Coentrao
Callejon, Kaka, Ronaldo
Tito, Galvez, Amat, Casado
Bangoura, Dominguez, Piti
Real Madrid trio Alvaro Arbeloa, Luka Modric and Gonzalo Higuain will miss the Primera Division clash against Rayo Vallecano through suspension.
Xabi Alonso (groin) and Iker Casillas (hand) also miss out, while Pepe, Kaka and Jose Callejon could all be handed starts with the Blancos facing their third game in a week.
Rayo forward Leo Baptistao should play despite spraining his ankle during training on Thursday.
Defender Tito returns from suspension, while coach Paco Jemez begins a two-game touchline ban.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Real Madrid have only won two of their last six matches in all competitions (W2, D3, L1).
- The Castilian giants are unbeaten at home in La Liga this season (W9, D2).
- Jose Mourinho (pictured, right) will take charge of his 100th Liga match for Madrid on Sunday.
- Rayo Vallecano have won six of their last eight matches in La Liga.
- Los Franjirrojos have lost their last nine encounters against the Blancos.
- Rayo's last victory at the Santiago Bernabeu was a 2-1 success in January 1996.
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Top 3 Predictions
Real Madrid 4-0 Rayo Vallecano
- 15.6 %
Real Madrid 3-0 Rayo Vallecano
- 9.19 %
Real Madrid 3-1 Rayo Vallecano
- 8.15 %
|La Liga (LIGA)||2 Nov 2013||Rayo Vallecano 2 - Real Madrid 3|
|La Liga (LIGA)||17 Feb 2013||Real Madrid 2 - Rayo Vallecano 0|
|La Liga (LIGA)||24 Sep 2012||Rayo Vallecano 0 - Real Madrid 2|
|La Liga (LIGA)||26 Feb 2012||Rayo Vallecano 0 - Real Madrid 1|
|La Liga (LIGA)||24 Sep 2011||Real Madrid 6 - Rayo Vallecano 2|
|30 Nov 2013||Real Madrid 4 - Valladolid 0||LIGA|
|27 Nov 2013||Real Madrid 4 - Galatasaray 1||UCL|
|23 Nov 2013||UD Almería 0 - Real Madrid 5||LIGA|
|9 Nov 2013||Real Madrid 5 - Real Sociedad 1||LIGA|
|5 Nov 2013||Juventus 2 - Real Madrid 2||UCL|
|25||Diego López Rodríguez||Goalkeeper|
|22||Ángel Di María||Midfielder|
The 28-year-old scored a brilliant header against former club Manchester United in midweek and looked a threat everytime he received the ball. Ronaldo will be out to add to his record of five goals in three appearances against Rayo Vallecano.
The young Brazilian has been a key performer in cash-strapped Rayo's astonishing rise to sixth position in the Primera Division standings. With seven Liga goals under his belt, Baptistao has proved to be an excellent replacement for Michu, who departed to Swansea City in the summer.
Real are likely to make several changes on Sunday, so fatigue should not be a factor in this local derby. Rayo will be on a high after last weekend's win over Atletico Madrid, but they have struggled to replicate their form away from home.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed