A different forward line will take the pitch for Barcelona today against Slavia Prague. With Luis Suárez out through injury, Antoine Griezmann will take the centerforward spot, allowing Ousmane Dembélé the left wing spot. Lionel Messi will, of course, take the right wing.
Barcelona played like this for some of the 3-1 loss to Levante over the weekend, which was, as evidenced from the result, not as effective as some had hoped.
On the other hand, it’s early days for the system right now and surely they will improve as they play together in these roles.
Griezmann does not have the physical presence Suárez does, nor his inventive finishing. However, Griezmann adds workrate, agility, and better passing than the Uruguayan.
Dembélé should be fit enough to start and offers his pace, dribbling ability, and chance creation. However, he is not as good in defense as Griezmann, and he’s more inconsistent.
We could also see Ansu Fati instead of Dembélé, or perhaps as a second half substitute. The youngster had a relatively quiet match over the weekend, but it’s to be expected, especially as he had been out of action for a few games. He’ll only get better as he plays more.
There’s also Carles Pérez, another young attacker who has shone at times but was not at his best against Levante. He could get a few minutes today as well, and once again, the more time he gets, the more likely he is to improve.
Will Barça improve without el pistolero? Or is he irreplaceable in the XI?