League leaders Barcelona will look to consolidate on their huge lead once more when they take on Rayo Vallecano in La Liga this weekend.
La Blaugrana will be the overwhelming favorites at home to record another domestic win, given their depth of talent and ability—as well as the incredible form that they showed during the week to keep their Champions League dream alive against AC Milan.
However, the away side are certainly no slouches in the competition this season, with Rayo Vallecano coming into this one just two wins away from fourth spot. They'll be looking to close that gap and keep their European dream alive as well—making this a fascinating fixture indeed.
With both teams desperately wanting the three points on offer, this one is shaping as a must-watch match this weekend that could have profound impacts for the league. Read on for a full preview of the match including all the important details, live stream info and more.
Date: Sunday, March 17, 2013
Start time: 4:00 p.m. ET (8:00 p.m. British time)
Location: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Live Stream and TV Information
Coverage of this match is available via beIN SPORT and beIN Sport en Español throughout the United States. Sky Sports 1 Ireland, Sky Go and Sky Sports 1/HD will show coverage throughout the United Kingdom, according to Live Soccer TV.
Having gone most of the season without defeat, Barcelona have dropped points in three of their last eight domestic fixtures—as often happens with multiple ongoing tournaments. That said, they are still well clear on top of the table and should clinch the title in 2013.
La Blaugrana have not been beaten at the Nou Camp this season and will be looking for their 10th win in a row when they take on Vallecano.
Their opponents, by comparison, have not won in their last four away matches and have just four away wins for the season. Those wins, however, came against strong opposition, and they'll likely still prove to be a threat to the Spanish giants in this one.
Latest Team News
Leo Baptistao will miss this match for the away side due to suspension—as will Javi Fuego and Jose Manuel Casado—with the striker's absence no doubt a huge blow for Vallecano here (per goal.com).
Carles Puyol and Xavi will both likely sit this match out following various knocks and injury concerns for Barcelona, whilst Victor Valdes' suspension means that Jose Manuel Pinto will start in goal once more for the Catalan club. Goal.com also reports that Cesc Fabregas and winger Alexis Sanchez could return to the starting team for Barcelona after starting on the bench during the week.
Three Numbers to Consider
13: Rayo Vallecano have won just 13 points away from home this season in their 13 league matches. They have chalked up a staggering 37 points at home, however.
16: The last three matches between these two teams have produced 16 goals.
16: Barcelona have scored all 16 of those goals.
Rayo Vallecano will certainly have a lot to play for in this one, given their desire for a Champions League berth at the end of the season. However, given their injury toll and Barcelona's form, it's hard to see anything but a Barca win here.
At Camp Nou, the Catalan club are just incredibly strong this season and can be a truly devastating force in attack—as we saw during the week against Milan.
If they can even come close to replicating that form, it's hard to see anything other than a huge win for La Blaugrana, which will extend their lead in La Liga once more—seemingly counting down the weeks until they are crowned Spanish champions once again.
Prediction: Barcelona 4, Rayo Vallecano 0
How do you see Barcelona vs. Rayo Vallecano unfolding?
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