Karim Benzema in the fitness and ball work at Real Madrid City
The squad came together at Real Madrid City for the second training session of the week as the preparations for Saturday’s LaLiga Matchday 26 encounter against Rayo Vallecano.
Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid: Line-ups
Well-Rested Madrid to Prevail
Rayo enjoyed a brilliant first half of the 2021-22 La Liga campaign, which led to suggestions that they could potentially challenge for a top-six finish this season, but their form has been disappointing in recent weeks. Indeed, Los Franjirrojos are without a win in the league since December 18, picking up just one point from their last six matches, losing their last four against Athletic Bilbao, Celta Vigo, Osasuna and Elche.
It has still been a successful season for the capital outfit, though, as they only secured a return to La Liga through last term’s Segunda Division playoffs, therefore consolidating at this level was always going to be the priority, and as mentioned, they are 11 points clear of the relegation zone.
Andoni Iraola’s side have been excellent at home this season, picking up 26 points from 12 matches, which is the third-best record in the division behind Real Madrid (31) and Sevilla (30). Rayo are also in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey but face a battle to reach the final of the competition, having suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Real Betis in the first leg of their last-four affair on February 9.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, recorded a 3-0 victory over Alaves in the league last weekend, with Marco Asensio, Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema on the scoresheet at Bernabeu. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are currently top of the table, six points clear of second-placed Sevilla, who are not in action until Sunday against Real Betis, so they will have the chance to move nine points clear here.
Real Madrid lost 1-0 at Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash but are unbeaten in the league since the start of January, winning three of their last five against Valencia, Granada and Alaves to place themselves in a strong position at the summit. Los Blancos also have the best away record in La Liga this term, collecting 26 points from their 12 matches, but they suffered a 1-0 defeat when they last travelled to Rayo in the league back in April 2019.
Rayo will not enter this match in the best of form, but their home record this season has been so impressive, and they beat Real Madrid when the two sides last locked horns in this stadium. We are finding it tough to back against Los Blancos, though, as Ancelotti’s team have had a free week to prepare for this match, so the league leaders should pick up all three points.