La Liga leaders Barcelona will look to continue their impressive run when they travel to Rayo Vallecano for their midweek fixture.
The Catalan giants ended their brief drought with an emphatic victory over Atletico Madrid on Sunday, extending their unbeaten run in the Spanish top-flight to eight games.
The victory also saw them take another step closer to the league title as they maintain an 11-point lead over arch-rivals Real Madrid with only eight games remaining.
Rayo Vallecano suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Real Sociedad over the weekend – their tenth loss in La Liga this season.
The setback characterised a fluctuating campaign, where they have gone from potential European contenders to scrambling around in mid-table.
However, European qualification is still in sight for Vallecano if they recover quickly and embark on a winning run.
Barca are running away with their first league title in four years, with the Catalan club comfortably clear of rivals Madrid.
Having overcome Atletico Madrid on the run-in, Xavi’s side can dream about lifting the title.
However, the Spanish manager knows they should keep their feet on the ground and approach the remaining games cautiously.
One of the biggest takeaways during the weekend’s win over Atletico was the return of Frenkie de Jong and Pedri, who played a huge role in the win.
The difference was palpable as Barca looked like a more dominant side with the presence of the midfield duo.
The attack remains a concern, with Robert Lewandowski, La Liga’s top scorer, experiencing a slump in form.
Ferran Torres’ decisive strike would have handed him loads of confidence, while Raphinha showed why he is the best player in the attack with a man-of-the-match display against Los Rojiblancos.
Andreas Christensen has returned to training, but reports suggest he will be available only for this weekend’s game against Real Betis.
Ousmane Dembele and Sergi Roberto remain sidelined, while Sergio Busquets will miss the game through suspension.
De Jong is expected to replace the Blaugrana skipper, while Xavi could partner the Dutchman with Pedri and Gavi.
Vallecano will miss the services of Radamel Falcao, who has been ruled out with an injury.
Raul de Tomas has endured a disappointing season, failing to capitalise on his opportunities. He could be replaced by Sergio Camella in the starting XI.
Potential Rayo Vallecano starting line-up
Stole Dimitrievski; Ivan Balliu, Florian Lejeune, Alejandro Catena, Fran Garcia; Pathe Ciss, Oscar Valentin; Isi Palazon, Oscar Trejo, Alvaro Garcia; Sergio Camello.
Potential Barcelona starting line-up
Marc Andre-ter Stegen, Ronald Araujo, Marcos Alonso, Alejandro Balde, Jules Kounde, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Gavi, Ferran Torres, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha.
We Say: Rayo Vallecano 0-1 Barcelona
Barca’s struggles up front are there to be seen, but their impressive form coupled with a sturdy defence should see them edge out the hosts.
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