Antoine Griezmann's anguish

Updated: Nov 27, 2019, 08:35 IST | AFP | Madrid

Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann's struggles at Camp Nou is a major concern as Spanish giants host Borussia Dortmund in must-win encounter tonight

Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann wears a dejected look during a La Liga match against Celta Vigo at Camp Nou recently. Pic/Getty Images
Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann wears a dejected look during a La Liga match against Celta Vigo at Camp Nou recently. Pic/Getty Images

Madrid: Barcelona fielded their fabulous four against Leganes on Saturday for the first time this season but it was only after Antoine Griezmann went off that his replacement scored the winner. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Griezmann all started but Griezmann departed in the 57th minute before Arturo Vidal poked home in the 79th, fortuitously placed as Messi's cross cannoned into his path.

When Barca signed Griezmann last summer for 120 million euros from Atletico Madrid, many wondered where the Frenchman would fit into their stacked front line, which would have swelled further had PSG come to terms over a deal for Neymar.  Many expected Griezmann to reinforce and eventually replace Suarez down the middle, but Ernesto Valverde has been curiously reluctant to field him in the position closest to the one he thrived in for Atletico last season.

With Messi indispensable on the right, Griezmann has been used most often on the left, taking the place of Dembele when he has struggled for fitness or form.  But Griezmann has not looked comfortable, despite the occasional glimpses of  excellence such as the two goals he scored against Real Betis in August, which looked set to give lift-off to his Barcelona career.

Instead, too many matches that have passed him by. "I am learning a different philosophy of playing and a different position," said Griezmann last month. Barcelona face Borussia Dortmund at Camp Nou tonight, on the back of a goalless draw at home to Slavia Prague earlier this month that means qualification from Group E is far from guaranteed. Anything other than a win is likely to leave them needing at least a point against Inter Milan at the San Siro in a fortnight's time.

Live on TV

Barca v Dortmund: Sony Ten 2 & Ten 2 HD, 01:30 (Thursday)
Valencia v Chelsea: Sony Ten 2 & Ten 2 HD, 23:25
Slavia vs Inter Milan: Sony Six & Six HD, 01:30 (Thursday)
LOSC v Ajax: Sony ESPN & ESPN HD, 01:30 (Thursday)

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