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Barcelona will be looking to make amends this year, as it starts La Liga 2022-23 by hosting Rayo Vallecano this weekend.
Coping with the departure of Lionel Messi, Barcelona had a disastrous start to the last season. They were knocked out from the group stages of the Champions League and were forced to play in the Europa League for the first time since the 2003-04 season, from which they were eliminated in the quarterfinals.
At one point, they were ranked 9th on the points table in the domestic league. However, the mid-season appointment of Xavi as the full-time coach saw a reversal of fortunes, and the team finished at a respectable 2nd spot. Xavi is leaving no stone unturned to get his team back to its former glory and has brought in some quality players during the transfer window.
These include Raphinha, Andreas Christensen, Jules Kounde, and the star Polish striker Robert Lewandowski. Barcelona remained undefeated in the club friendlies and trounced Pumas UNAM 6-0 to win the Joan Gamper Trophy.
Rayo Vallecano finished 12th on the points table last year, saving itself from relegation by just 4 points. Andoni Iraola, who had led his team to promotion from the Segunda Division in the 2020-21 season, will be hoping that his team breaks into the top 10 this time around. He has made 5 new signings so far in the summer transfer window, which include Diego Lopez, Florian Lejeune, Unai Lopez, Sergio Camello, and Salvi Sanchez. Vallecano has shown good form in the pre-season friendlies and has lost just once in 6 matches.
Match prediction and football betting tips for F. C. Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano La Liga 2022-23. The match is going to be played at Camp Nou, Barcelona, on 13th August 2022.
The hosts have a fully fit squad at its disposal, with the only absentee likely to be Ferran Torres, who is battling an injury. Xavi is expected to give his new signings a chance in this game, and we might see the likes of Kounde, Lewandowski, and Raphinha in the starting eleven if the club is able to register them on time.
Rayo Vallecano also has a fully fit squad available for selection. Stole Dimitrievski is expected to keep his place between the sticks, while Radamel Falcao will lead the attack.
Despite the shortcomings of the last season, we expect Barcelona to pick up the full set of points in this opening game.
Bet on Barcelona to win.
6 of the last 8 games between the two teams across competitions have produced at least 3 goals in them. 4 of the last 7 games for Barcelona, and 3 of the last 6 matches for Vallecano too have seen a score higher than 2.5. We are therefore predicting a high-scoring game.
Despite joining the club more than halfway into the season, Aubameyang emerged as the top scorer for Barcelona across competitions, with 13 goals. He will definitely play an important role if Barcelona wants to put up a better performance this season. We are therefore backing him to score at least once in this match.