Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano: Predicted line-up

Date:

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 24: Ilkay Gundogan of FC Barcelona looks on during the LaLiga EA Sports match between FC Barcelona and Getafe CF at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on February 24, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

The season is still not over for FC Barcelona, and they need to make every game count. With a clear objective being to finish second in La Liga, the Catalan giants can not afford to slip up. Up next for Barcelona is a clash against Rayo Vallecano, and it is a must-win.

Girona remain hot on their trails, and with just two games left to go in the season, Barcelona must not let themselves sleep just yet. A victory against Rayo would confirm a second place for them, so this match truly acts as their version of a final hurdle to close off this rather underwhelming La Liga campaign.

Here is how Xavi’s Barcelona could line up against Rayo.

Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen

The undisputed number one for Barcelona should be back between the sticks again, but he will need to be at his best to ensure a third consecutive clean sheet in order to help his team overcome Rayo at the Montjuic Stadium.

Right-back: Jules Kounde

Few players can match the versatility of Jules Kounde, and even fewer can do so with his quality. The French defender, still being used as a fullback, continues to provide both defensive cover and offensive support as the team’s right-back, something that often ends up being very important for Barcelona.

Centre-back: Pau Cubarsi

The youngster continues to amaze with his skill and maturity for a player of his age, and he has unmistakably overtaken all previous expectations of him. In this crucial game, however, he could be of massive assistance to Barcelona.

Centre-back: Inigo Martinez

With Ronald Araujo still feeling discomfort, it feels unlikely that he would start this game. Instead, Inigo Martinez should be available at Xavi’s disposal to start after playing in the last two games as a starter and keeping clean sheets in both outings.

Left-back: Joao Cancelo

Hector Fort did a solid job of covering for Joao Cancelo in his absence during the previous game against Almeria, but it would be reasonable to think that Xavi will bring the Portuguese star back into the lineup for this game with the hopes of making the most of his creative capabilities.

CDM: Andreas Christensen

The team looks a lot more balanced when Andreas Christensen plays as the pivot, so his presence in the starting eleven would not come as a surprise for FC Barcelona.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan

After being suspended for the previous outing against Almeria, Ilkay Gundogan should make a return to the starting eleven. One of the three Barcelona players to make the La Liga Team of the Season, it is clear to see that he remains an integral part of Xavi’s team.

CM: Fermin Lopez

While Pedri could easily be the player to start alongside Gundogan, other reasons point towards Fermin Lopez. The free-scoring Spaniard is in the form of his life, and to give Pedri all the additional rest that can be given, it may be in Xavi’s best interests to give Lopez the start instead.

Right-winger: Lamine Yamal

The young 16-year-old winger, despite having his first breakout season, is already a guarantee in Xavi’s team. In terms of impact, the Barcelona youngster is second to none at the Blaugrana club, and he could be of vital importance against Rayo Vallecano.

Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski

While Robert Lewandowski has not found the net since the last time he scored against Girona in a 4-2 defeat, the Polish striker remains Barça’s best bet in the number nine role. In this game, he will definitely look to have a more significant impact to help the team compared to his recent outings.

Left-winger: Raphinha

The Brazilian winger continues to play with motivation and retains his good form. Given his recent performances, it would be unlikely that Xavi decides to rest him during a game that could decide the season’s current objectives for Barcelona.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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