Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano 13.08.2022 PREVIEW | SPAIN: LALIGA – ROUND 1
After a tumultuous trophyless 2021/22 season that extended their wait for the La Liga (LL) title to three seasons, Barcelona went for statement signings like Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Koundé in a bid to reclaim supremacy.
Question marks remain over their timely registration for the season opener though, as manager Xavi looks to continue the rebuild that started last season with a 15-match unbeaten league run between December and April, which eventually helped the side finish second.
A positive start will be top of his agenda as Barça look to extend their record of 12 wins in season openers across the last 13 LL campaigns. The debut of the newly named Spotify Camp Nou will be watched with great interest especially since Barcelona crumbled to five home LL defeats last season, only losing more in 1986/87.
One of those home defeats was a 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano and another win ‘to nil’ would make them the first team since Real Madrid in 1958 to defeat Barcelona in three consecutive LL games without conceding.
Any winning result would be a welcome bonus for visiting manager Andoni Iraola who could become only the sixth coach to win his first three top-flight games against Barcelona.
Despite a H2H double, the last league campaign was a disappointment overall for Rayo who picked up 18 defeats, the joint-fourth most by any side. Rayo ended last season with three straight losses and passing the first hurdle could prove tricky as the visitors haven’t won in any of their last four top-flight season openers (D2, L2), losing the last two.
Players to watch: Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé was the top assist provider in the league last season (13) and was in fine form during pre-season with five goals. Meanwhile, Rayo’s Radamel Falcao will be primed for an impact having scored in each of his last four LL matches against Barcelona.
Hot stat: A penalty has been awarded in five of the last seven LL H2Hs.
TV / LIVE STREAMING
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REFEREE:Hernandez A. (Esp)
VENUE:Camp Nou (Barcelona)