FC Barcelona’s Gavi looks dejected after losing.
Alvaro Garcia opened the scoring early on in the game. The Spaniard scored in the 7th minute to stun the Camp Nou. Isi Palazon skipped past Jordi Alba before slipping in a perfect pass for Garcia. The 29-year-old after receiving a pass from Palazon, moved ahead of Sergino Dest and smacked one past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
For the rest of the game, the Blaugrana tried to look for an equalizing goal but it never came. Rayo Vallecano defended with everything they had to stop the hosts.
Gavi even hit the woodwork close to the half-time mark but the visitors prevailed. Stole Dimitrievski and the defenders guarding him did a brilliant job in maintaining a clean sheet and thus secured a hard fought victory.
On that note, here’s a look at the five biggest talking points from the game:
#5 Second position in danger
Nico Gonzalez in action against Rayo Vallecano.
Barcelona risk their chances of securing second position in La Liga as their recent performances have allowed Sevilla and Atletico Madrid to close the gap.
After beating Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, it looked as if they could challenge for the title as well. But their recent displays have put second place in jeopardy.
The Catalonian side are second in the points table with 63 points after 33 games.
Sevilla have the same number of points after 33 games but are third due to the head-to-head count. Following them closely in fourth position is Atletico Madrid with 61 points after 33 games. The two sides will be looking to surpass the Blaugrana into second place, which is now a realistic target for them.
#4 Disastrous run at Camp Nou
FC Barcelona players applaud the fans.
Barcelona have lost three games in a row at Camp Nou in all competitions. They lost the return leg of the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals at Camp Nou against Eintracht Frankfurt which saw them bow out of the competition.
Following that, they lost to Cadiz at home last weekend. Xavi’s men have now lost another league game at Camp Nou, this time against Rayo Vallecano.
The last time Barca won at home was against Sevilla as they won the game 1-0. Camp Nou was once a fortress and it is a shame to see the Catalans struggle so hard to win their home games.
#3 Rayo Vallecano too hot for Barcelona
FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano – La Liga Santander
Rayo Vallecano has now beaten Barca twice over the course of the season. They beat the Catalans 1-0 on matchday 11 at the Estadio de Vallecas and did it again on matchday 21 at the Camp Nou.
The last time Rayo Vallecano won against Barcelona, Ronald Koeman lost his job.
The visitors had just one shot on target throughout the game and that turned out to be the difference. Alvaro Garcia’s strike sealed all three points for his side.
Rayo Vallecano has won just two games in 2022 so far. Both have come in the city of Barcelona, one against Espanyol and the other against the Blaugrana.
#2 Barcelona look lost for ideas
Xavi is in a tough spot right now.
This Barca side does not look like the same side that beat Real Madrid 4-0 a month ago. The defenders look clueless, while the attackers look lost for ideas. Their slow pace of transitioning and ball rotation allowed Rayo Vallecano to regroup and recollect themselves.
Xavi’s side had no clear attacking plans while moving forward. It looked as if it was all left for Ousmane Dembele to create or for the wing-backs to pour in numerous crosses. The French winger played two key passes but without any outcome.
The Catalonians created numerous chances but lacked the finishing touch whereas the visitors buried them with their clinical finesse.
#1 Real Madrid have one hand on the trophy
Real Madrid can win the league in their next game.
Real Madrid need just one point out of the five remaining games to be crowned champions of Spain.
Barcelona’s tumultuous run has allowed Los Blancos to break free. Carlo Ancelotti’s men sit at the top of the table with 78 points. The gap between Real Madrid and Barcelona is 15 points now.
Real Madrid could win the league against Barca’s bitter rivals Espanyol, whom they meet next week at the Santiago Bernabeu.
It will be a bit hard for Barca to swallow the fact that they are not even competing for the league with five games yet to be played.