Real Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano – LIVE Reddit Soccer 26/02/2022
Real Madrid will be bidding to move nine points clear at the top of the La Liga table when they make the trip to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday evening. Los Blancos are currently six points clear of second-placed Sevilla in the battle for the title, while Rayo occupy 11th position, 11 points clear of the relegation zone ahead of the next set of fixtures. Rayo enjoyed a brilliant first half of the 2021-22 La Liga campaign, which led to suggestions that they could potentially challenge for a top-six finish this season, but their form has been disappointing in recent weeks.
Indeed, Los Franjirrojos are without a win in the league since December 18, picking up just one point from their last six matches, losing their last four against Athletic Bilbao, Celta Vigo, Osasuna and Elche. It has still been a successful season for the capital outfit, though, as they only secured a return to La Liga through last term’s Segunda Division playoffs, therefore consolidating at this level was always going to be the priority, and as mentioned, they are 11 points clear of the relegation zone. Andoni Iraola’s side have been excellent at home this season, picking up 26 points from 12 matches, which is the third-best record in the division behind Real Madrid (31) and Sevilla (30).
Rayo are also in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey but face a battle to reach the final of the competition, having suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Real Betis in the first leg of their last-four affair on February 9. Real Madrid, meanwhile, recorded a 3-0 victory over Alaves in the league last weekend, with Marco Asensio, Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema on the scoresheet at Bernabeu. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are currently top of the table, six points clear of second-placed Sevilla, who are not in action until Sunday against Real Betis, so they will have the chance to move nine points clear here.
Barcelona have shown improvement under Xavi but are too far behind to launch a challenge, while Atletico Madrid will not be defending their title unless something extraordinary happens, with Real Madrid’s competition this season coming from Sevilla, who are desperately trying to stay in touch with Los Blancos. Real Madrid lost 1-0 at Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash but are unbeaten in the league since the start of January, winning three of their last five against Valencia, Granada and Alaves to place themselves in a strong position at the summit.
Real Madrid are comfortably at the top of the table, having opened up a six-point lead over second-placed Sevilla. However, their recent form has been patchy at best, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side picking up just two wins in their last six games across all competitions. But they did manage to secure a convincing 3-0 win over Deportivo Alaves last time out and will be hoping to build on that on Saturday.
Rayo Vallecano find themselves in the comforts of the mid-table, sitting in the 11th spot with 31 points from 24 matches – eleven points clear of the drop zone. However, recent form does not bode well for Andoni Iraola’s side, considering that they have lost five of their last six games in all competitions (W1), including each of their previous four, with the latest fixture ending in a 2-1 defeat to Elche.
Rayo Vallecano will be without Martin Merquelanz for the game against Real Madrid, while Unai Lopez is also a major doubt. Other than that, Andoni Iraola does not have any other injury concerns heading into Saturday’s contest. The manager is unlikely to make many changes despite the recent run of results.
The hosts are expected to stick with their usual 4-2-3-1 formation in front of goalkeeper Luca Zidane. Ivan Balliu, Esteban Saveljich, Alejandro Catena, and Fran Garcia ought to form the four-man backline shielding the shot-stopper. Garcia, who is a transfer target for Real Madrid, will be aiming to make a solid impression.
Santi Comesana and Oscar Valentin should form the double-pivot in the middle of the park and screen the backline while aiming to disrupt Real Madrid’s rhythm on the day. The playmaking responsibilities will fall onto the shoulders of Oscar Trejo, who will also fall into deeper positions in midfield during the defensive phases.
Los Blancos also have the best away record in La Liga this term, collecting 26 points from their 12 matches, but they suffered a 1-0 defeat when they last travelled to Rayo in the league back in April 2019. Rayo will again be without the services of Martin Merquelanz due to a knee problem, while Unai Lopez (hip) and Jose Pozo (COVID-19) remain doubts for the home side ahead of the contest.
The capital side did not pick up any fresh concerns in the defeat to Elche, but head coach Iraola is likely to resist the temptation to make wholesale changes, with Sergi Guardiola again expected to lead the line, leaving Radamel Falcao on the bench once again. There are also unlikely to be any surprises when it comes to Rayo’s formation, with a 4-2-3-1 formation set to include Oscar Trejo in the number 10 spot, and Isi Palazon and Alvaro Garcia out wide.
As for Real Madrid, Mariano Diaz should overcome a pelvic problem, while Federico Valverde is expected to recover in time, with the midfielder suffering with a stomach virus earlier this week. The visitors will be without two players, though, with David Alaba and Gareth Bale suffering with muscular overload, so Nacho could come into the back four.
The Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid duel is one of the most anticipated ones in the upcoming round of. With that in mind, we have prepared an in-depth preview of this match for you, along with some free betting tips. While Rayo Vallecano has done very well this season considering they are a newly-promoted team, they have been in a bit of a crisis lately and they are without a win in the last six games in the league.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid is sitting at the top of the standings, with six points more than the next team. So, our prediction is for Real Madrid to win this game, just like they did in four of the last five h2h duels between them and Rayo Vallecano. It’s been a tough week for Real Madrid since they first failed to beat Villarreal in the last round of La Liga and then they lost in the first leg of Top 16 stage in Champions League to PSG after conceding a goal at the end of the game. Still, a 1-0 loss in Paris is not that bad ahead of the rematch, but overall, it’s clear that Real Madrid isn’t at their best lately.
The team that was in the battle for a spot in European competitions just a few weeks ago now dropped down the standings to the 11th place after losing four of their last five games. Still, Rayo Vallecano can be pleased with their season so far since they are, after all, a newly-promoted team. On top of that, the team also reached the semi-final of Copa del Rey and while they did lose the first leg against Real Betis, they still have a chance to reach the final.