Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid: Match preview

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Real Madrid will play their second consecutive fixture away from home as they take on 15th-placed Rayo Vallecano, in hopes of asserting their dominance on the league table.

Match details

Date: Sunday, 18th February 2024
Competition: La Liga
Matchday: 25
Time: 15:00 CEST
Venue: Estadio de Vallecas

Match preview

The win against Girona clearly established Real Madrid’s authority on top of the league table, as the difference between both sides is now of 5 points and the Merengues would look to increase this and get a stronger grip at the top of La Liga this weekend.

Los Blancos also continued their winning streak in the UEFA Champions League against Leipzig. But the German side was more solid in defense as compared to Girona and did not let the Spanish giants get many chances at goal.

Real Madrid would hope that their forward line is at their best in the absence of Jude Bellingham as Rayo Vallecano, despite being 15th in the table, have conceded just 15 goals – which means they can keep a low block when needed.

Offensively, Rayo have been weak, scoring just 21 goals in 24 games this season. It would be a Herculean task for them to get past Tchouamèni who has been solid and has been comfortable in his new position.

Andriy Lunin equaled the record of the most saves made by a Real Madrid goalkeeper in a Champions League knockout match – 9, by Thibaut Courtois. The Ukrainian has undoubtedly cemented his place as a starter in the Belgian’s absence.

Real Madrid have only five defensive options for the game, with Mendy and Rüdiger ruled out. Carlo Ancelotti may consider giving Dani Carvajal a rest, as the Spaniard has had a rigorous schedule so far, playing the entire 90 minutes in the previous fixtures. Lucas Vazquez would start in that scenario.

Aurelien Tchouaméni has seamlessly transitioned from a defensive midfielder to a centre-back as he has proven to be solid and kept a clean sheet in that position. The Merengues still remain unbeaten whenever he starts, this season.

Nacho would captain the side in Carvajal’s absence. Fran García would automatically slot into the lineup with Ferland Mendy not being there.

Brahim Díaz has proven to be a great signing so far, scoring 8 goals along with 3 assists in 28 matches. Ancelotti has counted on him, especially in Bellingham’s absence and the Spaniard has repaid his manager’s faith.

Vinícius would look to continue his league form following one of his best games in a Real Madrid shirt against Girona, being involved in 3 of the 4 goals scored. His partner in attack may be Joselu as the Spaniard has been effective against low-block sides mainly due to his aerial ability and ability to find spaces inside the box.

A victory here would further assert their dominance in La Liga because as every match goes on, it will get harder for Girona to have a chance to clinch the title. The Mernegues would hope to extend their winning streak as well against Rayo Vallecano.

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