Antoine Griezmann has come under scrutiny during his first season at Barcelona, particularly regarding his connection with captain Lionel Messi.
The Frenchman put in another underwhelming performance on Tuesday during Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Leganes and an interesting stat has emerged following the game at the Camp Nou.
La Liga commentator Andy West noted how Messi did not manage a single pass to Griezmann during the 90 minutes, while the Frenchman only found his captain once with the ball:
Barcelona ran out 2-0 winners against relegation-threatened Leganes. Ansu Fati opened the scoring before Messi added the second from the penalty spot. Griezmann did put the ball in the back of the net but saw his effort ruled for offside.
Setien Gives Griezmann His Backing
Although Griezmann is yet to live up to his €120 million price tag at the Camp Nou he does continue to receive the backing of manager Quique Setien. The Barca coach defended the World Cup winner before the game in his pre-match press conference.
“Griezmann is unquestionable. He has played since I have been here. Griezmann is a great footballer and he will continue to have protagonism because he is an important player for this club.”
Setien continued to back Griezmann after the match too, according to Marca’s Ramiro Aldunante.
“It’s not easy to play on the inside. When so many people are around, you have to do very well to find the space. Griezmann does a commendable job for us. He scored today but it was ruled out, and he’s very important for us all.”
Yet Griezmann’s form at Barcelona is under scrutiny. His work-rate and willingness to help out defensively can not be questioned but is not why he was brought to the club. There also appears to be no clear idea of what is his best position in the Barcelona frontline.
Griezmann on the Bench?
Indeed Griezmann could find himself on the bench during the run-in if his performances do not improve. Ansu Fati’s goal against Leganes will increase his claims for a starting spot, while Martin Braithwaite scored against Real Mallorca.
Luis Suarez is fit again after knee surgery and is likely to regain his place as an automatic starter alongside Messi when he is back to full match fitness, leaving just one spot up for grabs in the Barcelona attack.
Barcelona head to Sevilla next on Friday for a tricky clash against La Liga’s third-placed team. There will be plenty of scrutiny on Setien’s starting XI for the match and no guarantee it will feature Griezmann.