Friday, February 15, 2013

Real Madrid vs. Rayo Vallecano - A Match Preview


From a European Derby with one of the Club Football’s biggest teams then back down to a local derby with Madrid’s scrappiest and most unapologetically ragtag club.
.
With the memories from last Wednesday’s big Champions League match with Manchester United still fresh on everyone’s minds – The Bernabeu now looks set to receive the 2012-2013 La Liga Cinderella team: Rayo Vallecano. A team whose club members, fans and players all relish the fact that they are the absolute polar opposite of Madrid: the David to Madrid's perennial Goliath reputation, rugged, scruffy and unglamorous - and the comparison if true of course. 
.
.
Rayo Vallecano - La Liga's Ray of Light this Season
Much like how lowly Levante (who went on to qualify for the Europa League) last season - capturing the hearts and minds of many La Liga followers, Rayo are blazing a trail in La Liga this season that is catching everyone's attention. They're surprisingly at 6th place this season and having just beaten 2nd-placed Atletico Madrid, would love nothing more than to move down to the 3rd placed team and successfully run the gauntlet against their 2nd consecutive Madrid team.
.
Rayo's chief goal threat for the match will be Piti (10 goals). The man to watch however is the 20-year old Leo Baptistao. Starting his career as a 16-year old alongside Neymar at Sao Paolo, the young Brazilian instead chose a path to Europe early on, ending up in Valladolid, where illness and injuries hampered his progress. Now at Rayo, the young Brazilian seems to be finding his feet finally and is currently one of the bright spots behind Rayo's success for the season. In 20 appearances for Rayo this season, the youngster has managed an impressive 7 goals and 5 assists thus far.
.
.
Real Madrid - Asleep in La Liga
Jose Mourinho has already openly admitted that his team has no more hopes to winning La Liga this season. Fresh off their Champions League draw against Manchester United, it is largely believed that he will field a team featuring a combination of his backup or second choice players (Modric, Albiol, Essien, Higuain) and possibly injury recoverees (Pepe, Marcelo). A 'second-choice' Madrid with Ronaldo (who will surely play) with nevertheless remain a world-class XI capable of flattening most teams. A tired, uninterested, unmotivated and unfocused side however, will surely be still vulnerable. 
.
.
Advantage: Madrid
La Liga form / focus aside, the odds will remain greatly in Madrid's favor (1.15) with Rayo the clear underdogs (14.00). Those who fancy an online wager can check out: https://sports.bwin.com/en/sports/4/betting/football. Though it is true that Rayo have been over achieving this season, we must not discount the fact that they've only managed a paltry 12 points in 11 away matches (they got 25 in 12 matches at home - the 4th best home record in La Liga). Real Madrid, with a superior squad and heavy firepower are heavy favorites. 
.
But If there's one thing we can tell about Real Madrid this season however - is that if there was ever a 'Goliath' for a 'David' to slay in La Liga this season: it's them.

No comments:

Post a Comment