There was a period during the game against Alaves where the visitors could’ve quite conceivably got back into the game, and that shouldn’t be forgotten despite the eventual comfortable victory.
At 2-1, the next goal was crucial and Asier Garitano’s side were a whisker away from getting it. Close but no cigar.
A Lionel Messi special took the wind out of their sails just at the right time, with a fortuitous Luis Suarez penalty sealing the win.
Leo #Messi has scored at least 5️⃣0️⃣ goals (club & country) in 9 of the last 10 calendar years!— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 21, 2019
Arturo Vidal’s joy at his blockbuster was obvious, as was Antoine Griezmann’s after opening the scoring.
The Frenchman again put in a solid performance on the left side of Barca’s front three, and the desire to ingratiate with his colleagues is starting to bear fruit now.
Prior to his arrival at the club, and regardless of whether it was felt he was required or not, the general opinion from culers was that Griezmann inhabited too many of the areas that Messi positioned himself in.
There were many suggesting that the two couldn’t play together with any great degree of success, with Ousmane Dembele, when available, a better fit in the wide left position.
Antoine Griezmann vs Alaves— Mido Gawwad 10 (@10Gawwad) December 21, 2019
100% shot accuracy
77% pass accuracy
3/3 long passes
1 key pass
Won all aerial duals
In 51 touches
8.0 match rating pic.twitter.com/K0i4uMgpaf
During the early part of this season, and with no sign of a real connection between the Argentinian and the Frenchman, it was difficult to make a case for the club having added Griezmann to the roster.
However, the World Cup winner had made it quite clear that he would work hard and do whatever it took to make things work.
True to his word, here we are at virtually the halfway point of the season, and the pair look like they’ve played together for years.
Messi continues to do Messi things, whilst Griezmann has been excellent at interpreting those movements and where to be on the pitch at any given point. Plus he’s scoring goals regularly too.
Added to that, his work rate makes it anything but a foregone conclusion that Dembele will just walk back into the starting XI when he returns from injury.
Look at what Alena is doing by just being there in midfield. Messi is not dropping back. Theres another creative source who can put through passes to the forwards. His positioning between the lines is better than even de Jong.— Jonathan Harris (@JonathanHarisFC) December 21, 2019
This guy should be a starter at Barcelona. Period.
Another player who impressed against Alaves was Carles Alena.
Rumours persist that he ‘is all but certain to leave Barca on loan in January,’ but in his favoured role, the youngster again showed how well suited he is to this team.
Maybe game time elsewhere will be beneficial to both club and player in the longer term, but Barca cannot countenance letting him leave permanently.
Not because it would be another La Masia graduate fleeing the nest, but because he’s clearly good enough to add something to a future Barcelona XI.