FC Barcelona – La Liga The coach explained his exclusion
Antoine Griezmann was left on the bench again at El Alcoraz. Ronald Koeman opted to leave him out of his starting XI and, until the 81st minute, that’s where the Frenchman stayed, even with Barcelona lacking something in front of goal.
It’s not a surprise anymore to see Griezmann on the bench, but it’s confirmation that the forward has reasons to be concerned. Koeman explained his decision after the match.
“I trust every player in our squad,” Koeman said. “But if we have three midfielders, there is only room for three forwards.
“With Leo [Messi] on the wing, we chose someone like [Ousmane] Dembele, and then there’s a choice between Martin [Braithwaite] or Antoine up top and Martin has played well there.
“We’re missing a No.9, but that’s not about Antoine’s substitution. We have a lot of games and we need all of our players.”
But Griezmann doesn’t have Koeman’s full confidence, even when he’s on the pitch. Against Eibar, Barcelona were trailing and in need of a comeback, but the forward was withdrawn for Francisco Trincao. He didn’t play against Real Valladolid. In the previous games, against Valencia and Real Sociedad, he was replaced in the middle of the second half.
Griezmann has three goals in 15 LaLiga Santander appearances and a whole lot of doubts surrounding him. Braithwaite has overtaken him, and it has become clear that he isn’t an important player for Koeman.
Even under Quique Setien, he found himself as a substitute, and now Koeman is looking for another No.9 to come into the club.
“We’ve said several times that we need someone up top to add more competition and more goals,” the coach said on Sunday.