Antoine Griezmann passes the test as Barça's 'new' number 9

The French forward bagged a brace to book Barça's passage into the next round of the Copa del Rey

Tenía que aparecer y lo hizo: Así calló Griezmann a sus haters | RFEF

As the debate rages on about FC Barcelona's 'number 9' problem, Antoine Griezmann proved his worth as a goalscorer in the Copa del Rey. In his first minutes as the main striker under Quique Setien, the forward scored both goals to send Barça into the next round of the competition.

German Bona


With a slight tactical change when Jordi Alba came onto the field, Griezmann took control of the centre by himself. We saw the best side of the former Atletico man, latching onto Frenkie de Jong's pass to equalise before turning the match on its head by scoring the winner at the death.

The most optimistic return date for Luis Suarez is the end of April which means, for the foreseeable future, a solution needs to be found in the absence of the Uruguayan. One option is to dip into the transfer market to find a solution but another might be to solve it from within the current squad.

Mestalla will be the first real test

Curiously, one of the names mentioned as a potential replacement for Suarez plays for Barça's opponents on Saturday: Valencia. Rodrigo Moreno, who is recovering from an injury of his own, has been linked with a loan move that could become permanent in the summer. Will Setien stick with Griezmann upfront?

Antoine has played in all of the positions across the front three, usually on the left-hand side. Against Granada, he was moved slightly more central in order for Jordi Alba to take complete control of the left-wing. Or, Setien could opt to play him directly through the middle as he did in the final few minutes against Ibiza. Griezmann's two goals saw him move onto 11 for the season (7 LaLiga, 2 Copa del Rey, 1 Champions League and 1 in the Supercopa de España).

If Griezmann proves himself as the '9' against Valencia, it could change Barça's plans completely. It's the first real test for Setien and despite winning both matches so far, they've hardly been convincing victories against lesser opponents either. But it's also a big test for Griezmann to show he's ready to lead the attack at Barça against one of the toughest teams in LaLiga.


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