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Primera División

  • 27 October 2012
  • • 21:00
  • • Estadio del Rayo Vallecano (de Vallecas Teresa Rivero), Madrid
  • Referee: Miguel Pérez Lasa
  • • Attendance: 15500
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Rayo Vallecano - Barcelona Preview: Catalan giants aiming to tighten defence ahead of Vallecas visit

Rayo Vallecano - Barcelona Preview: Catalan giants aiming to tighten defence ahead of Vallecas visit

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The Blaugrana have conceded eight goals in their last three Liga matches and will be hoping to shed their defensive frailties when they take on Paco Jemez's side

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

RAYO VALLECANO

Ruben
Tito, Galvez, Amat, Casado
Fuego, Trashorras
Carlos, Baptistao, Piti
Dominguez
BARCELONA

Valdes
Adriano, Pique, Song, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Fabregas, Messi, Pedro


Rayo Vallecano could be without Piti and David Cobeno for Saturday's Primera Division clash with Barcelona at Vallecas due to illness.

Jordi Amat and Nicki Bille return from injury, but centre-back Mikel Labaka is suspended after his red card in the defeat at Espanyol.

Barcelona are waiting to find out if they will have Javier Mascherano available after launching a second appeal against the Argentine's sending off during the 5-4 win over Deportivo La Coruna.

Defenders Dani Alves (hamstring) and Gerard Pique (ankle) have returned to training and may feature, but captain Carles Puyol (elbow) and midfielder Thiago Alcantara (knee) are still out.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Rayo Vallecano have lost four of their last five matches in La Liga.
  • The Vallecas outfit got thrashed 7-0 in this corresponding fixture last season.
  • Rayo's last home win over Barcelona was a 1-0 success in December 2002.
  • Barcelona have won eight of their last nine matches in all competitions.
  • The Catalan side have managed to keep just three clean sheets in their 13 competitive matches to date this term.
  • Barcelona have never lost a match in which Andres Iniesta (pictured, right) has scored.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
25RubénGoalkeeper
2TitoDefender
-CasadoDefender
-RodriDefender
2Jordi AmatDefender
-José CarlosMidfielder
10PitiStriker
15Javi FuegoMidfielder
25Alejandro DomínguezStriker
-Andrija DelibasicStriker
21Léo BaptistãoStriker
-DaniGoalkeeper
4Alejandro GálvezDefender
23Adrián GonzálezMidfielder
17TrashorrasMidfielder
20Franco VázquezMidfielder
22Nicki BilleStriker
27LassStriker
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
18Jordi AlbaDefender
2MontoyaDefender
21AdrianoDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
6XaviMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
7David VillaStriker
10Lionel MessiStriker
7PedroStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
15BartraDefender
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
12Jonathan Dos SantosMidfielder
9Alexis SánchezStriker
20TelloStriker
Players to Watch
Jordi Amat
Jordi Amat
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 2
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The on-loan defender is a promising Spain Under-21 international who knows all about facing Barcelona, having been involved in numerous Catalan derbies with Espanyol. Rayo will hope Amat's return can help shore up a defence that has conceded 16 times in the last five matches.
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
31 28 2 0
The Argentine had a quiet game against Celtic by his own high standards as he was frustrated time and again by the Scottish champions' dogged defensive display. The 25-year-old should have an easier time of it on Saturday against a side not particularly renowned for their defensive resilience, and he will be looking to build on the hat-trick he scored against Deportivo last weekend.
Prediction
Despite all the talk of a defensive crisis, it would not come as a surprise if Barcelona kept a clean sheet and coasted to a comfortable win at Vallecas. Rayo have plateaued after a promising start to the season and will need a fair amount of luck on their side to get a result.
Editor's Prediction

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