Antoine Griezmann’s positivity felt more solitary than ever yesterday, but such celebrations, and basically his goals, were the main and only positives for Barcelona last night. It has been a week of intense and extreme emotions, with those against Athletic Club heavily contrasting those versus Real Sociedad. But while yesterday’s was an almost tragic encounter, Griezmann was a bit of a bright light.
This doesn’t change anyone’s opinion on his signing one bit. However, at least, he finally showed he can do what we bought him for: step up and decide big games. He felt our most active player in all phases. Very involved in defence, he constantly helped his side’s full-back and showed he reads spaces very well to intercept passes.
In attack, he always appeared in the right zones too. He gave continuity to his good recent form also in the penalty box, scoring twice at one touch to take his tally to 4 goals and 3 assists in his past 4 appearances. The problem for Barça, less by Griezmann’s fault, was that in the end that brace was for nothing, again highlighting the tragic destiny the Frenchman always seems to be reminded of as a blaugrana.
And the issue with him always is his nature. He needs the team to generate football before he can be the final point, or the point right before the final one. In this team he is more of a facilitator or finisher, where he has plenty of quality, than a generator. Furthermore, he is not a winger who provides depth with runs into space, like Martin Braithwaite or, ideally, Ansu Fati could do. And Barça possibly needs that more.