LaLiga enters its final stretch and Rayo —once saved with 41 points— sees new challenges on the horizon. The franjirrojos still have to visit the fiefdoms of two teams that are playing for permanence, Getafe and Mallorca, and receive Villarreal and Levante in Vallecas. Four games to meet five objectives, individual and collective, sporting and non-sporting, that add a little spice to what remains…
1. Finish in the top ten
El Rayo is eleventh, so it is at the gates of this first challenge. Only two points separate him from Valencia and Iraola’s men still have to face each other with another of the teams in that ‘top ten’, Villarreal. Getting in there would also have an economic impact on the club’s coffers, which could have a larger budget for 22-23. It would be more difficult to achieve the best historical classification, eighth place in the 12-13, now ten points.
2. Win in Vallecas
The red-haired team had a spectacular first round, based on their great numbers at home. Rayo chained nine victories and one draw, which led them to be crowned the best local team in Europe, even ahead of PSG. However, everything changed with the new year. Those of Iraola have not won before their public in 2022, in which they have harvested four draws and four losses. His worst streak of First in Vallecas.
3. See the best Falcao
The ‘Tiger’ is one of the great attractions for rayistas. Injuries have prevented him from having continuity, but against Real Sociedad he showed that his goalscoring instinct is still intact. He scored on the first ball he touched, after two months without playing and almost half a year without dipping. Falcao has once again hunted down Sergi Guardiola and Álvaro as top scorer for La Franja and aspires to recover his best version to the delight of a hobby that will be able to continue seeing him next season.
4. Crown Trejo as top assistant
The ‘Chocota’ currently has nine assists, three to Álvaro (Mallorca, Betis and Granada) and Nteka (Betis, Elche and Granada) and one to Balliu (Betis), Catena (Alavés) and Falcao (Barça). At the moment, Trejo is tied with Vinicius (Real Madrid), Muniain (Athletic) and Jordi Alba (Barça) sharing goals. And they are only surpassed, with eleven, by Madridista Benzema and Blaugrana Dembéléso he has the crown of best First assistant within reach.
5. Tie Iraola renewal
Rayo’s challenges in the last throes of the season will not only be on the pitch, Also in offices. The priority there is the renewal of Iraola. The Usurbil coach ends his contract this summer and the intention of the Vallecan entity is for him to continue on the bench. As soon as the salvation was certified, the coach opened the door to this idea and admitted his predisposition to listen to the club. From then on, the maxim will be to maintain the bulk of a team with highly valued players, such as Fran García, Comesaña, Dimitrievski…