Barcelona entered the new season under Ronald Koeman with renewed energy. The Dutch tactician wasted no time in making his impact felt at Camp Nou as they opened the Liga campaign with an impressive 4-0 victory over Villareal. But Antoine Griezmann's situation at the club is still a cause for concern.
The Frenchman has been a mere shadow of himself since he switched to Barcelona last year. This season, he appears to be going deeper in the mud.
Can Koeman find a place for Antoine Griezmann?
Koeman has deployed Antoine Griezmann on the right flank of the attack, with the freedom to drive into the centre and interchange positions with Lionel Messi, who leads the attack from the middle. The idea is that he'll be able to use his stronger foot (left), drive into his prefered central role occassionally, and also help with some defensive duties on the right wing.
Unfortunately, Antoine Griezmann has failed to capitalise on that opportunity. The former Atletico Madrid forward has clearly been behind everyone in terms of performances since the campaign kicked off. He is yet to contribute a goal or assist, and hasn't even laid a key pass. He cuts an isolated figure on the pitch. In the clash against Celta Vigo, Griezmann had just 21 touches on the ball. Even subbed-on Trincao had 26 touches in that game.
This means Koeman has a huge puzzle to solve with Antoine Griezmann. The club surely won't want their big signing to be on the bench, but the fans will not be satisfied if his performances do not improve -- especially as they look to win the Champions Leaague.
With Ansu Fati having nailed the spot on the left flank with three goals from three games so far - and Philippe Coutinho doing the same in the attacking midfielder spot with two assists and a goal from as many games - it looks like there's no space for Griezmann in his preferred positions.
The situation leaves Koeman with a difficult decision to make. The best thing that could happen is for Antoine Griezmann to find his feet in his new role. Otherwise, Koeman could be forced to axe him from the lineup, especially given that the likes of Francisco Trincao, Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele are all hungry for minutes.
Will Antoine Griezmann step up to the plate on time? Or will Ronald Koeman sideline him on the bench for the majority of the season? Only time will tell.Published 07 Oct 2020, 18:19 IST