Antoine Griezmann: Barcelona's injury problem could be his golden opportunity
FC Barcelona, the champions of Spain, kick-started the 2019/20 season with a defeat to Athletic Bilbao. However, the loss isn't necessarily a serious issue and could be teething trouble.
The matter that requires more serious attention is their injury list. A majority of Barca's world-class attackers are currently in the treatment room, including superstar Lionel Messi.
Here's the list of players who are injured
- Lionel Messi - Calf
- Ousmane Dembele - Hamstring
- Luis Suarez - Calf
- Neto - Hand
Any club needs to start their season with consistent wins and solid performances, to generate a platform upon which they can further build on. However, Ernesto Valverde's men could be heading towards a series of negative results due to the lack of options up front.
It is a known fact that Barcelona's prime creator is Messi, and in his absence, Luis Suarez has delivered. However, it is unlikely that Valverde would take a risk by starting the star duo immediately on their return. Messi may play some part against Real Betis but Suarez seems likely to sit it out.
On the other hand, the Real Betis match could be the perfect opportunity for Antoine Griezmann to step up and demonstrate that he can play a pivotal role in Messi's absence. The 28-year-old Frenchman was a prolific goalscorer at Atleti's who joined the Catalans for a fee of $120million. However, he is still adapting to Barcelona's possession-based style of play.
Possible attacking combinations
- Carles Perez - Griezmann - Rafinha (4-3-3)
- Griezmann-Rafinha (4-4-2)
Griezmann will have to take up the role of a central striker, with Perez and Rafinha supporting him upfront. He must have his shooting boots on, as he is the best finisher currently available at Valverde's disposal. On the contrary, Rafinha should make the most of his opportunities, and give his best.
Many fans haven't appreciated Griezmann's move to Barca and believe that he isn't the right player profile they needed. There is no need, though, of validating the Frenchman's abilities, as he has proven his extraordinary qualities for France and Atletico Madrid over the years.
Griezmann has a perfect chance to put all the doubts to rest by pitching-in a commanding performance against Real Betis on matchday two. Barcelona will be looking for an immediate response to their surprise defeat against Bilbao. He should look to make the most of these unforeseen circumstances and win over those Barca fans who aren't happy with his move.