Barcelona lined up with Griezmann and Dembele on each side of the attack at Leganes, an attack which was made up of four forwards and excited the fans, with the presence of De Jong and Busquets to keep things ticking over behind them. The result, however, was disappointing. It was a bad game, as Valverde said, but Barça had to win however possible. There was a lot to lose and little to win and the performance was still lacking. The environment as well: there was wind, they were playing the bottom side, an early kick-off, the pitch... The circumstances made it tough.
When you cannot win the game with the ball, by shining, the only way to resolve the game is individual quality. And that's where the stars must appear. That's why you have the best players in the world, why you have spent more than your rivals on signings and you expect that, among others, Griezmann and Dembele will win games. However, we are not seeing them at their best.
Dembele's now in his third season and we're still waiting for him to fulfill expectations. He lost the ball 33 times against Leganes... an unwanted record.
Meanwhile, Griezmann is due a little more patience because he's only just joined, although the sensation is that he's not improving as the games pass. I feel bad because I think he's a good signing that should add a lot to the team because he knows the league and because he scored loads of goals for Atletico -- a side that generates much fewer chances than Barça.
Griezmann has not found his role, that position that makes him feel comfortable and allows him to be himself. He played off the striker at Atletico. In the game at Leganes, he started on the left, then moved to the right. Messi was by his side to link with and Suarez was the No.9 to distract the centre-backs. But the Frenchman didn't add anything. There have now been 15 league games. It remains to be seen how long the patience will last.
While neither Griezmann nor Dembele are performing, what is winning games is set plays. That's another way where victories come from. And if Atletico were praised for winning games in this manner, then Barça should be applauded for improving in that area. Six of their last seven games have come from dead balls.
However, Barça still need to recover Dembele and Griezmann for the cause. With big games this week against Borussia Dortmund and Atletico, it wouldn't be a bad time for the French duo to step forward. Barça need them.