The Liga champions suffered a surprising 1-0 loss at the weekend but have an almost full strength squad to choose from as they seek a return to winning ways
Dani Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal
Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas
Pedro, Messi, Villa
Tito, Labaka, Jordi, Casado
Lass, Michu, Piti
Carles Puyol is expected to partner Gerard Pique in the centre of defence after being rested during the 1-0 defeat to Getafe on Saturday, so Eric Abidal is likely to start at left-back.
Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta have both returned to training and are in contention for starts against Rayo. Expect the former to be given the nod ahead of Thiago in midfield with Iniesta due to start the game on the substitutes bench.
After Alexis Sanchez struggled to impress over the weekend, Pep Guardiola could rotate his attack with Pedro given a start alongside Lionel Messi and David Villa, after returning from a knee problem.
For the visitors, Raul Tamudo could be given the lone frontman role in place of Andrija Delibasic who struggled in the 2-1 defeat to Valencia over the weekend. Elsewhere, Michel Labaka is expected to return to the centre of defence in place of Javi Arribas.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Barcelona are currently six points behind fierce rivals Real Madrid and will be desperate for victory against Rayo.
- The fixture has been brought forward as Pep Guardiola's men will be heading to Japan in December to take part in the Club World Cup.
- Lionel Messi has grabbed 15 Liga goals this season, the same amount as the entire Rayo team combined.
- Rayo Vallecano have had a successful return to La Liga so far, with Jose Ramon Sandoval's men currently ninth in the table.
- The last time the two teams met in May 2003, Barcelona ran out 3-0 winners at Camp Nou.
- The average age of Rayo's squad is 26.6 years old, compared to Barcelona's which is 24.5.
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