Griezmann lights up the Camp Nou
Antoine Griezmann’s Barcelona career kicked into gear at the Camp Nou on Sunday, as the French forward produced a fine display to help the hosts to a first La Liga win.
The Frenchman had never scored at the Camp Nou in 14 previous visits as an opposition player but grabbed two and an assist in his first appearance at the club in Barca colours.
There was pressure on the 28-year-old too going into the match with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele all out injured but he certainly came up with the goods.
Ernesto Valverde had called on Griezmann to be more involved after a quiet first outing against San Mames and could hardly have asked for more from his new signing.
Griezmann was heavily involved throughout the 90 minutes, dropping deep when needed, and showing he has what it takes to be a key player for this team.
Carles Perez stakes his claim
Barcelona’s injury situation meant that Carles Perez was given a chance to impress in the starting XI and the 21-year-old did not waste the opportunity.
The youngster had a bright pre-season with the club and showed again he can make an impact for the first team with a lively showing and a debut goal.
Carles Pérez vs Betis— FootballTalentScout (@FTalentScout) August 25, 2019
78% pass accuracy
2 key passes
2 dribbles won
3 tackles won
21 years of age. What a game by La Masia graduate! pic.twitter.com/dgzjdvxTbF
Ernesto Valverde said after the match that Perez had enjoyed a “great game” which suggests he certainly did enough to impress his manager against Betis.
The injuries to Dembele, Suarez and Messi plus the departures of Malcom and Philippe Coutinho mean that we should see plenty more of Perez this season.
Ansu Fati makes Barcelona history
Ernesto Valverde did surprise most by including 16-year-old Ansu Fati in his matchday squad and then made the youngster’s dreams come true by sending him on with 12 minutes to go.
His arrival on the pitch made him the club’s second youngster debutant ever (Albert Almasque holds the record after debuting at the age of 13 years, 11 months and 6 days in 1902):
The teenager is so young that Barcelona reportedly had to ask his parents for permission to play due to La Liga’s restrictions on under-age players in night games.
He was rewarded post-match with a hug from a beaming Lionel Messi and spoke of his gratitude after making his debut.
There has been plenty of talk in recent seasons about the lack of La Masia talents coming through at the club, but the appearance of Ansu Fati and Carles Perez provides optimism for the future.