Barcelona desperately need a morale-boosting win after the defeat to Getafe, whereas Rayo Vallecano players can only hope to avoid an embarrassing defeat at Camp Nou.
Having won both La Liga and Champions League titles last term, the Catalans entered the new season hoping to continue winning major trophies.
While they easily progressed into the Champions League knockout stages, Barcelona have recorded some unexpected slip ups on domestic stage, with weekend’s defeat to Getafe leaving them six point adrift of leaders Real Madrid.
However, with exactly 25 games left in the league campaign, including two El Clasicos, the Catalans will get their chance to return to the title race, so this may be the right time to back Barca to win La Liga title at odds of 2.65 (33/20) offered by Betfair.
Pep Guardiola is looking for a response from his players following the defeat to Getafe and we can expect a pretty strong performance from the hosts, with Victor Chandler paying 1.57 (4/7) on Barcelona to win with -2 European handicap.
The talented coach has welcomed back Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta after the duo recovered from their respective injuries and they are both expected to start this clash.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Valdes – Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal – Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas – Iniesta, Messi, Villa.
Rayo Vallecano were seen as one of the main candidates for the drop before the season started, but the club from the suburb of Madrid have done really well to defy the odds at the start to the La Liga campaign.
After 13 league rounds, Jose Ramon Sandoval’s side sit in the top half of the table with 16 points, although they cannot be expected to continue the good run for much longer.
The 2:1 home defeat to Valencia proved that Rayo don’t have the required quality to match the best sides in the league, and they have every reason to fear the trip to Camp Nou.
Rayo conceded 6 goals at Santiago Bernabeu earlier this term, and nobody would be surprised if something similar happens at Camp Nou.
Right-back Tito is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, meaning that Brazilian Sueilton will be handed a debut.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Cobeno – Sueilton, Garrido, Jordi, Casado – Movilla, Fuego – Lass, Michu, Piti – Tamudo.