With a win against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday afternoon, Barcelona can solidify its strong standing atop the table. With a loss, however, teams like Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid may feel there is at least the slightest chance of catching the Catalans.
Of course, Barca is going to win on Sunday afternoon. Quite easily, more than likely.
It's not that Rayo Vallecano is a bad team or anything. They aren't. Rayo is currently ninth on La Liga's table, after all.
But Rayo hasn't exactly had much luck when facing Barca of late. When these teams last met in October, Barca won 5-0. In fact, Barca has won the past three meetings between these teams by a total score of 16-0.
And Barcelona isn't exactly a team you want to be facing right now.
After losing the first leg of its Champions League draw against AC Milan, 2-0, and losing to Real Madrid twice, all in the span of three weeks, there were whispers that the mighty Catalans might be vulnerable this season.
Boy, was that talk premature.
Barcelona responded by absolutely spanking AC Milan this week, 4-0, putting La Liga—and the rest of Europe for that matter—on notice that they were not to be taken lightly.
Barca has steamrolled its way through the La Liga season, winning 23 of 27 games and drawing twice. The only surprising loss came against Real Sociedad, and Sociedad is fourth on La Liga's table. It was an upset, yes, but hardly against a weak opponent.
Basically, Barca has handled La Liga's middle-of-the-road and inferior teams with ease. There's no reason to expect anything different today.
Rayo won't have any answers for the talented Barcelona roster. Lionel Messi leads La Liga with 40 goals. Andres Iniesta leads the league with 13 assists and Cesc Fábregas and Messi are tied for second in the league with nine.
I know it's hardly going out on a limb predicting an easy Barcelona win, but it's generally better to be correct than bold. And I don't think anyone will be putting any money on Rayo today unless they're getting some seriously amazing odds.
Look for the Catalans to cruise and put 13 points between them and Real Madrid. Barcelona wins, 4-0.
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