For a first season, Antoine Griezmann hasn’t done too badly at Barcelona.
Playing in a position that he wasn’t used to under Ernesto Valverde, in a system that was almost the total opposite of what he’d learned under Diego Simeone, it’s perfectly understandable that it would take the Frenchman time to settle in.
However, with Luis Suarez’s injury and Quique Setien’s subsequent appointment, things have changed for the World Cup winner again, and he has to step up to the plate. Quickly.
His goal against Getafe was an exquisite finish, but only made possible by Lionel Messi’s divine assist.
It was the third game in a row that the Argentinian had assisted one of his team-mates, but also the third game in succession where he hadn’t scored, something that hasn’t happened for years.
Messi magic...the vision on the pass to Griezmann was sublime.— EiF (@EiFSoccer) February 15, 2020
Everyone in the stands could see Griezmann’s run, but not many players in the world can perfectly weigh that ball with one touch.
Messi most certainly can.
That’s as much to do with the role that it appears Setien sees for him as anything else.
It looks likely that a playmaking No.10 is what the new coach sees his captain as, with Leo dropping as deep as we’ve ever seen him in parts of that game, and only moving closer to goal in occasional pincer-like movements.
Though many will surely bemoan the fact that Messi isn’t banging in the goals himself, as age and injuries begin to weary him the playmaker role is a natural progression for someone with his skill set, vision and the ability to pull off passes that no one else can see.
What that means, however, is that Griezmann, in Suarez’s continued absence, has to start finding the back of the net with increased regularity.
That swipe of the ball with his right foot late in the second half, which would’ve surely put the game to bed as a contest, was amateurish. Another shot was dragged woefully wide of the upright.
He could’ve had a hat-trick, and maybe on another day he would’ve got one. But he didn’t. And he’s wasting far too many chances when the team are looking at him to provide match-winning contributions.
All the while we are seeing out games, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s heroics ultimately being the difference on Saturday afternoon, Griezmann can hide behind the results.
But with things so tight at the top of La Liga and Barca still having dreams of lifting the Champions League in Istanbul, he has to prove he has what it takes in the position he favours most.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man... we hope.