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Griezmann’s best is timely tonic for a tired Barcelona

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Superb game from the Frenchman

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann has been much maligned at times during his Barca career, but his brilliant individual performance was the difference in the win over Villarreal.

When Samu Chukwueze took advantage of Jordi Alba’s slip to open the scoring for the Yellow Submarine and Griezmann equalised a minute later, you had the feeling it could be another of those high-scoring games that these teams are renowned for.

As it turned out there was just the one further goal, with the Frenchman the Johnny-on-the-spot to pounce on Juan Foyth’s awful back pass.

It was enough for the three points, but probably not enough for culers who expect that bit more from the players.

Lest we forget just how long, hard and difficult this season has been for every team and, indeed, we only need look at some of the freakish results or under-par matches from some of the top teams in Europe recently.

The end of the campaign can’t come soon enough for some players and Pedri is just one who appears to be running on empty at present.

It’s perhaps the tiredness that will be the major factor in who has enough about them to get over the line and win this title.

You’d argue that, given where Barca were after 10 games, they more than deserve the trophy. It would be a magnificent way to bookend the season, but titles still aren’t given on sentiment alone.

There are enough matches collectively for the blaugranes, Atleti and Real Madrid to still slip up but also to make a title race of it to the final minute of the final match.

Sevilla can’t be counted out at this stage either.

How Ronald Koeman rotates his squad now will be of vital importance in the run-in.

Forgetting any injuries or players he prefers over others, both Leo Messi and Frenkie de Jong are still just a card away from suspension, and the Dutchman will surely not want to risk either missing the game against Atleti which is now just a fortnight away.

Equally, with Valencia following the Granada game on Thursday, before the Rojiblancos come to town, neither player can really afford to be absent for the match at Mestalla.

Being the hunter rather than the hunted also evidently still suits the squad and the motivation for most of the players is clear for all to see.

Taking the foot off the pedal, however, as the team did at times at the Estadio de la Ceramica, isn’t an option now.

Nothing is won yet and if Koeman does his homework, this is the time for tiredness to take a back seat.

The time to go all in, in every game.