Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Should Barcelona be concerned by Griezmann’s relatively slow start?

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Veteran Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez produced a masterclass in predatory finishing in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Italian side Inter in Group F of the Champions League. Suarez and the returning Lionel Messi were involved in both goals. However, it was another quiet night for summer signing Antoine Griezmann. In fact, the Catalan giants seem to improve once the French international exited the pitch.

Needs time to get accustomed to playing with Messi and Suarez

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have both missed games at the start of the campaign due to injury. In fact, last night’s match was only Messi’s second start of the campaign.

No doubt the pair have an unbelievable understanding, having nurtured the relationship in recent years. They seem to know by instinct where the other will be, with the winning goal last night displaying that perfectly. Unfortunately for Griezmann, the pairs absences through injury have prevented him from spending much playing time on the pitch with the pair.

Accustomed to being the main man

One of the problems with Griezmann is that he is accustomed to being the main man at Atletico Madrid. It’s the big fish in a relatively small pond syndrome. Atletico are not a small club by any stretch of the imagination, but Barcelona dwarfs them in relative stature.

At Atletico, he was used to doing things his self and winning games by producing a piece of individual brilliance. He is a good team player, but maybe the big move to Barcelona has led to him almost try too hard to impress.

His best performance of the season for Barcelona was against Real Betis in a 5-2 victory. There is no coincidence that neither Messi or Suarez started that game. He seemed to thrive on the freedom and responsibility of being the main attacking threat for the Catalan giants.

When Messi and Suarez are on the pitch, he either tries too hard or is just invisible. Last night’s game was one were nothing went right for the striker and when his team needed a goal, boss Ernesto Valverde sacrificed Griezmann for unpredictable compatriot Ousmane Dembele.

Many players have gone to Barcelona and failed to make the grade. Some are just not the right fit. It is still early in Griezmann’s career in Catalan to write him off. However, he has not exactly pulled up any trees in his first months as a Blaugrana player.

We have seen the sort of quality he possesses throughout his Atletico Madrid days. It is how he fits into the team’s structure and how he can develop a good relationship with his new strike partners that will determine how successful he is at the Nou Camp.

Barcelona need to improve to win the Champions League

At this moment in time, Barcelona are the joint-second favourites to win the Champions League at odds of 6/1. The first half display against a very well-drilled Inter team was simply not good enough.

On another day, Antonio Conte’s team could have gone in at half-time three goals up. However, they missed a few golden opportunities. Barcelona’s domestic displays this season have been concerning too. The return to the fold of both Suarez and Messi should help improve displays. It will be interesting to see how Griezmann’s understanding with the South American pair grows.

It must improve for the sake of the team. He still has a lot to do to convince the fans and the media alike. If the French forward can reach the peak performances of his Atletico career at Barcelona, then everybody at the Catalan club will obviously be happy.

Should Barcelona be concerned by Griezmann’s slow start?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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