Barcelona will seek to reinforce their lead at the top of the Primera Division on Saturday by overcoming Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou.
Barca suffered a 1-0 loss to Girona in the Supercopa de Catalunya on Wednesday but used a fringe side after successive Clasico victories put them into a healthy position to claim the domestic double.
Against opponents fighting against the drop and on a five-match losing sequence, they will expect three more points.
|Game||Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano|
|Date||Saturday, March 9|
|Time||5:30pm GMT / 12:30pm ET|
|Stream (US only)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|beIN Sports / beIN Sports en Espanol||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on Premier Sports 1 and can be streamed on Eleven Sports 1.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports 1||Eleven Sports 1|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Pena|
|Defenders||Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Miranda, Gonzalez, Chumi, Umtiti, Murillo, Vermaelen|
|Midfielders||Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal, Boateng, Alena|
|Forwards||Messi, Suarez, Coutinho, Malcom, Dembele|
Barcelona’s only serious injury problem is Rafinha, although Thomas Vermaelan is regarded as a doubt.
Clement Lenglet is suspended in the middle of the defence, giving Samuel Umtiti the welcome opportunity of more game time ahead of a potential reunion with Lyon on Wednesday.
They will be at full strength after resting half their squad – and all their stars – for the Girona match in midweek.
Barcelona starting XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, Arthur, Coutinho; Messi, Suarez.
|Position||Rayo Vallecano squad|
|Goalkeepers||Dimitrievski, Alberto Garcia|
|Defenders||Amat, Velazquez, Galvez, Catena, Moreno, Akieme, Advincula, Titot|
|Midfielders||Imbula, Agbo, Suarez, Comesana, Medran, Pozo, Trejo|
|Forwards||Alvaro Garcia, Kakuta, Bebe, Embarba, Raul, Di Santo, Guerra|
Rayo Vallecano are without the suspended Abdoulaye Ba for this encounter while Gorka Elustondo is injured and misses the match.
Rayo Vallecano starting XI: Dmitrievski, Advincula, Velazquez, Amat, Galvez, Moreno, Imbula, Comesaña, Bebé, Álvaro, Raul de Tomas.
Betting & Match Odds
Barcelona can be backed at a price of 1/6 at Bet365 . Rayo Vallecano's test is highlighted by their 14/1 price, while the draw is offered at 7/1.
Nevertheless, Ivan Rakitic’s goal in a 1-0 Clasico success over Real Madrid last weekend has put them in a strong position to claim the title. With the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash against Lyon, which is delicately poised at 0-0, to come in midweek, it is breathing space that is most welcome.
Gerard Pique, however, has urged his team-mates to continue in a positive manner this weekend.
“We’ve made a statement beating Madrid but it’s not definitive by any means,” he said.
“It allows us a certain amount of calm for the final games of the season, but it won’t mean anything if we mess up against Rayo Vallecano next week.”
And the centre-back’s calls for vigilance deserves to be heeded as this has been a far from flawless season for Ernesto Valverde’s men, who have tripped up surprisingly on multiple occasions.
Indeed, before sweeping Sevilla aside 4-2 on February 23, which triggered a fine burst of form, Barca had won only one of their previous five fixtures, albeit four were drawn.
“They went there with nothing to lose, and that’s how we are going to Camp Nou,” he said.
“The last two games are the ones that have hurt us the most. The three promoted teams are the in the fight to go down, but our initial aim this season was to survive and we’re still in a position to achieve it.”
If Rayo were to claim anything from Saturday’s fixture, it would provide the squad with a massive boost after a tricky run – and raise fresh questions over Barca’s form ahead of the season’s climax.