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The odds for Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid are brought to you from the DraftKings Sportsbook, where a deposit bonus of up to $1000 is available right now.
The champions should come out on top but they will have to work hard for three points against Rayo Vallecano.
Back Real Madrid to win and over 2.5 goals on Monday (+135)
Real Madrid are top of La Liga after 12 rounds of fixtures. They remain unbeaten domestically and are also through to the knockout stage of the Champions League, where they will be looking to lift the trophy for the second year on the bounce and the 15th time overall. In short, Carlo Ancelotti’s side have enjoyed a strong start to the 2022/23 campaign.
Madrid have not quite been flawless, though, and despite the fact they have won 10 of their first 12 matches, they head into the weekend just one point clear at the summit of the standings. In fact, by the time they take to the field against Rayo Vallecano on Monday, los Blancos may well have dropped down to second: Barcelona host Almeria on Saturday.
Madrid dropped points unexpectedly last time out. A 1-1 home draw with Girona made for a frustrating weekend for the reigning Spanish and European champions, who had previously been held to a draw at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu by Osasuna.
Madrid have beaten both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona this term, which will only heighten their disappointment at dropping points against opponents they would have expected to overcome with a minimum of fuss.
Ancelotti’s team were frustrated by Girona, who struck the right balance between keeping things tight at the back but also offering a threat going the other way. Madrid had chances to win the game but were unable to find a way through, and Girona will have left the capital believing they fully deserved their point.
In a low-scoring sport like soccer, these blips are bound to happen from time to time. The important thing is that Madrid bounce back quickly, and a 5-1 thumping of Celtic in Europe on Wednesday certainly bodes well ahead of Monday’s match. With just two league matches remaining before World Cup 2022, Madrid will be aiming for maximum points.
Rayo Vallecano are potentially dangerous opponent for Real Madrid. They sit eighth in the standings going into matchday 13, having lost only one of their last six outings. Just three points separate them from the Europa Conference League qualification spot.
Most notably, Rayo have caused problems for some of La Liga’s big guns before. They held Barcelona to a goalless draw at the Camp Nou on the opening weekend of the campaign. They beat Valencia 2-1 in September and drew 1-1 away to Atletico Madrid last month.
Rayo also beat Sevilla, although last season’s fourth-place finishers are struggling in the relegation zone right now.
Rayo finished 12th last term after winning a promotion in 2020/21. There were fears going into the current campaign that they could suffer from second season syndrome, but so far at least Andoni Iraola’s charges have succeeded in steering well clear of the drop zone.
Is qualification for European soccer a realistic aim? That remains to be seen. Rayo would have to overcome much more established La Liga forces, the likes of Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao, Valencia and Real Betis.
But they certainly have a lot going for them: Iraola is an excellent coach and his team has a well-defined identity. Rayo are also one of the division’s most potent attacking forces: only five sides have scored more goals up to now.
All of the above suggests that Madrid will not have everything their own way at the Estadio de Vallecas, which is located less than 10 kilometers away from the Bernabeu.
Rayo are a proactive, front-footed team that looks to play their usual style regardless of the opponent they are facing. Iraola’s side rank sixth in La Liga for average possession, while their last home game brought a 5-1 thrashing of Cadiz.
Madrid, however, might actually be happy to face opponents who come out and attack them. The Blancos will probably have more of the ball on Monday, but there will also be moments when they can break quickly in transition. That sort of mixed approach could serve the La Liga leaders well.
With Rayo’s attack-minded philosophy and Madrid’s proven quality in forward areas (Karim Benzema could return to the starting XI after appearing as a substitute against Celtic), goals could be on the cards in this one. We also fancy Madrid to get the job done, so go for an away win and over 2.5 goals in the final fixture of matchday 13 in La Liga.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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