Griezmann is getting in the Barcelona groove
Antoine Griezmann is taking his time to find his feet at Barcelona but another goal, his third in five games for the club, showed he is starting to get into the groove at his new club.
The Frenchman was released down the left by Luis Suarez, after Diego Llorente had horribly misjudged the flight of the ball, and then scooped another lovely finish over Alex Remiro.
It was a similar goal to the one he scored last weekend against Real Mallorca, but this time there was no celebration and he explained why after the match.
“I’m never going to celebrate here.” he said. “I scored goals at the old Anoeta. I have lots of respect for those that gave me everything.”
Griezmann was once again deployed out wide on the left and while it is not his favourite position he is starting to look more at home out there for Barca.
He also deserves credit for his attitude and work-rate, and he was Barca’s brightest player on Saturday along with Gerard Pique.
Next up for Barcelona is the Clasico at the Camp Nou, and Griezmann has a pretty good record against Los Blancos having scored eight times against them in his career.
Sociedad get Messi wish
Real Sociedad boss Imanol Alguacil talked before the game about hoping Messi had a bad day against his team because the GOAT is simply “unstoppable.”
And the 48-year-old was granted his wish because while Messi did return to the starting XI after missing out in midweek he put in arguably his quietest performance of the season.
Messi being Messi means that he still managed to come up with a crucial contribution, laying the ball off to Luis Suarez to put Barca 2-1 up with his sixth La Liga assist of the season.
5 - Lionel Messi has assisted five of the last six Luis Suárez goals for FC Barcelona in all competitions. Friends. pic.twitter.com/wJmUvyJvhL— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 14, 2019
However, other than that it was a quiet display from the GOAT. For once his dribbles did not quite come off, he was only involved in the play sporadically and just could not get going.
Of course Messi is allowed a rare off-day, but Barca will be hoping for a big improvement on Wednesday night against Real Madrid.
VAR in the spotlight after penalty controversy
Barcelona were left angered and perplexed by some of the refereeing decisions in Saturday’s match that saw them concede a penalty and have an appeal turned down.
There seemed a fair bit of bemusement early on when Sociedad were awarded a spot-kick when Sergio Busquets was penalised for a tug on Llorente.
It looked a soft decision at the time but the penalty was given, allowing Mikel Oyarzabal to fire the hosts ahead from the penalty spot after 12 minutes.
Yet there was more penalty controversy late on when Gerard Pique’s shirt was tugged in the penalty area in stoppage time and nothing was given and VAR did not intervene either.
11' - Real Sociedad were awarded a penalty— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 14, 2019
93' - Barcelona claim a penalty should've been awarded pic.twitter.com/UaQi58DLXJ
Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong both spoke afterwards and said they felt it should have been given, Ernesto Valverde reckoned it was a pull on Pique and even former referee Andujar Oliver agree with Barca.
Carles Puyol made his thoughts pretty clear on Twitter too:
♂️ #var— Carles Puyol (@Carles5puyol) December 14, 2019
Barcelona are reportedly set to launch a formal complaint to the RFEF about the use of VAR and to ask for an explanation. Meanwhile, they head back to the Camp Nou with just a point and feeling pretty hard done by after some inconsistent refereeing.