Rayo Vallecano v Barcelona - Preview and possible lineups
Rayo Vallecano: Gorka Elustondo and Tito will again miss out with hamstring and knee problems respectively for manager Michel's side, but on-loan Stoke City midfielder Giannelli Imbula will start for the home side. Adri Embarba is also expected to feature in the final third, although Alex Alegria was on the scoresheet against Leganes on Tuesday night, and the Spaniard is pushing for a spot in the XI.
Barcelona: Lionel Messi has returned to training following a fractured arm, but the Argentine is not in the squad for this match. Samuel Umtiti has also stepped up his recovery from a knee problem, although the Frenchman is still unavailable. Thomas Vermaelen remains on the sidelines with a hamstring problem, meanwhile, meaning that Clement Lenglet will again start alongside Gerard Pique at centre-back.
Rayo Vallecano manager Michel on his side's chances as the underdogs:
"When the game kicks off, we will have a 50/50 chance of winning. 90% of Spain thinks we're going to lose, and the other 10% are vallecanos - we're going to play for them."
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde on the importance of this game:
"The three points that are on offer in Vallecas are the same amount as you get for beating Madrid. Our previous defeat against Leganes can be a message for us, without a doubt.
"The fact that we lost that game gives us a lesson to learn from and we will do that."
Did you know?
Barcelona have scored 24 goals in their last five games against Rayo.
The Blaugrana have scored five times on each of their last two games against Vallecano.
Rayo Vallecano: Garcia; Advincula, Galvez, Amat, Moreno; Imbula, Comesana, Trejo; Kakuta, De Thomas, Embarba
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Arthur, Busquets, Rakitic; Coutinho, L Suarez, Rafinha
BeSoccer prediction: 0-4