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Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano: League leaders to rest players ahead of Lyon

Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano: League leaders to rest players ahead of Lyon

Barcelona face Rayo Vallecano on Saturday evening and they are expected to rest a couple of players ahead of next week’s Champions League clash with Lyon.

With Ernesto Valverde’s side in the Copa del Rey final after beating Real Madrid and sitting with a commanding lead over Atletico Madrid – it is safe to say the Spanish coach can afford to take a risk and rest a number of his more senior players on Saturday.

Lionel Messi could well sit this one out, whilst the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Malcom could be handed rare starts.

A win would keep Barca ahead of Atletico Madrid by seven points at least, but that could be ten if Atleti do not beat Leganes earlier in the day.

Rayo arrive at the Camp Nou in desperate form, sitting second from bottom and they know that nothing more than a shock win will only do.

Team News

Clement Lenglet is suspended for the home side, which will see Samuel Umtiti feature at centre-back after a long spell injured. Sergio Busquets could be rested ahead of the Champions League, which would see Ivan Rakitic anchor the midfield. Philippe Coutinho could come into the attack, as Ernesto Valverde tries to juggle all competitions.

Abdoulaye Ba is suspended for the away side, which should see Alex Galvez feature at centre-back. Luis Advincula is expected to retain his place at right wing-back ahead of Tito. Mario Suarez and Santi Comesana could get the nod in central midfield ahead of Giannelli Imbula.

Expected XI’s

Barca: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Rakitic, Arthur, Vidal, Coutinho, Boateng, Malcom

Rayo: Dimitrievski, Amat, Galvez, Velazquez, Advincula, Comesana, Suarez, Moreno, Embarba, Tomas, Trejo

Prediction

Barcelona 2-0 Rayo Vallecano