Griezmann eases Barcelona’s No. 9 worries
Barcelona have spent the last week of the transfer window getting themselves into a tangle trying to bring in a No. 9. The club were linked with dozens of players, saw a reported deal for Rodrigo fall through and then admitted before kick-off they had given up.
Meanwhile, Quique Setien named Griezmann as his No.9 and saw the Frenchman open the scoring inside four minutes with his fourth goal in his last five games for the Spanish champions.
Griezmann had another goal ruled out for offside, saw another effort deflected just wide and put in a typically hard-working display that saw him willing to track back to help out his side defensively.
The World Cup winner said after the game he’s happy to play out wide or in the middle, while Setien said he was “calm” about the lack of a striker signing before also talking up the forthcoming return of Ousmane Dembele.
Setien’s taking the Copa del Rey seriously
Setien needed a late goal to secure a nervy 2-1 win over UD Ibiza in the last round but was taking no chances against Leganes, naming a strong starting XI at the Camp Nou to face a team currently 19th in the table.
Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets all missed the trip to Ibiza but all played 90 minutes on Thursday. This time around Riqui Puig did not even make the squad, while Alex Collado was an unused substitute.
Setien’s team selection may have been influenced by Sunday’s demoralising 2-0 defeat to Valencia but also showed he was in no mood to mess about and wanted his team to secure their quarter-final spot.
Barcelona went on to do precisely that, scoring five goals at the Camp Nou for the fifth time this season to book their place in Friday’s last eight draw.
Still question marks over Barcelona’s defence
Setien has favoured a back three in his first few games in charge of Barcelona but reverted to a back four against Leganes of Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba.
Semedo put in a good shift at right-back and picked up his third assist of the season which may convince Setien to keep him there for the next few games.
Clement Lenglet came in for Samuel Umtiti and may keep his place too after scoring Barca’s second, while Jordi Alba came within a whisker of getting on the scoresheet too.
Yet defensively Barcelona continued to look vulnerable, giving up opportunities to Leganes who managed seven shots in the first half alone and 11 throughout the match. Setien will know that more clinical teams than Javier Aguirre’s will punish Barcelona if they don’t tighten up.
The new Barcelona boss acknowledged as match after the game saying he was unhappy with the way his side lost control of the game and admitting Leganes “could have hurt us.”