Rayo Vallecano vs Athletic Club predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for expert analysis, the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as Athletic travel to the capital.
|Date||Sunday 23rd January 2022|
|Kick-Off||18:30 (local time)|
Rayo Vallecano vs Athletic Club Preview
Rayo Vallecano host Athletic Club in a meeting of two teams who might just have their eyes on the final European places in LaLiga this season. That would be a remarkable achievement for Rayo as an unfancied newly promoted side but they’ve been so impressive in Vallecas so far this season, that you wouldn’t completely rule it out.
They do occupy 7th place heading into this weekend and that position is almost entirely down to their outstanding home record. They’ve taken 26 points from their 10 league games in front of their own fans, the joint best home record in LaLiga. That could have been even better given they really were relentless in putting pressure on the Betis goal in the Second Half of their most recent home game but couldn’t find a winning goal in the 1-1 draw against the Andalusian side.
Rayo have since secured Copa del Rey progress too with a victory in Girona but despite all the positives, Andoni Iraola does have a few decisions to make. A mixture of injuries and a huge Covid outbreak has given chances to other players in recent weeks and the Rayo boss must decide whether any have done enough to keep their places now some of the more established starters are available again.
Right now, you’d have to say there’s a very decent chance that Iraola will one day get the top job in Bilbao given his long association with the club. Marcelino looks pretty secure in that position for now though and will also be eyeing up cup glory after his side won a thrilling Copa del Rey tie against Barcelona on Thursday with a 3-2 Extra Time victory. Iker Muniain’s brilliant goal set them on their way and the Athletic playmaker sealed the win from the penalty spot in Extra Time.
This is an important game too though as Rayo are one of the teams they are chasing down in their bid for European qualification via the league. Athletic have been really tough to beat away, losing just one of their 11 road games in LaLiga this term and they really should have got something from that defeat too when they unfortunate to lose at the Bernabeu.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 4 Athletic Wins, 1 Rayo Win, 1 Draw.
- Rayo surprisingly won 2-1 at San Mames earlier this term.
- They’d lost 4 of their previous 5 meetings with Athletic though.
- Athletic have have only lost on 1 of their last 6 trips to Vallecas.
Óscar Valentín is suspended for Rayo. They have some key players fit again and the likes of Alvaro Garcia and Stole Dimitrievski may return to the starting eleven.
Oihan Sancet and Yeray are injury doubts for the visitors. Marcelino may also choose to rotate a bit after a busy fortnight of cup action.
Rayo Vallecano vs Athletic Club Predictions
Score Prediction: Rayo Vallecano 1-1 Athletic Club
Rayo have been brilliant at home but they are now heading into a much tougher series of fixtures in Vallecas in the second half of the season. It seems inevitable their home form will eventually dip and a draw looks the most likely outcome here given 8 of Athletic’s 11 away games this term in LaLiga have ended in draws.
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