EuropeanPremier League
April 11, 2017

Why Antoine Griezmann is exactly what José Mourinho needs


The combination of a tall and a small forward has always been known for a terrific understanding of each other. Rival defenders face a dilemma: defend with high pressure to protect themselves from penetrations in the penalty area, or to defend with a deep block, in order not to get run in behinds.

In the first case, the ideal scenario for a small/fast forward is that if the opponent’s pressing has failed, he can get 1v1 situations or get in behind. In the second case, the tall/strong striker gets the appropriate conditions: since the opponent sits deep, crosses and aerial duels become unavoidable.

Antoine Griezmann is not a targetman (because of his height), but can create his opponent a lot of problems. The Frenchman has 2 ways of playing: offer himself for through balls or go deeper and play the #10 role. Griezmann’s maneuverability helps Atlético very well in their attacks. They usually attack through the centre, where Gabi plays 95% of the time. He plays an important role in combinations with Koke and their captain.

Let’s look at the dile,ma: If opponents midfield presses Koke and Gabi and the defence doesn’t help them because they are afraid of him getting in behind, Antoine gets a lot of spaces between the lines. He uses them more than well.

Griezmann is in the Top 20 of La Liga in terms of shots (2.6/match) and key passes (1.6 per match). Every time Griezmann plays a part in an Atlético attack, it ends by a shot half of these of times.

With this data Griezmann has exactly the same player profile Manchester United needs. The media ask Griezmann about his future every 2 weeks, but the star says that he’s fully with Atlético. The English press suggest otherwise, that he’s number 1 in José Mourinho’s shortlist.

At the start of the season, José showed that he often uses the zone between these lines. Griezmann is exactly the type of player who can take the ball from deep and start the attack. Pogba’s and Carrick’s player profiles are only increasing the probability of the transfer. Carrick can reach Griezmann with his vision and passing, while Pogba does his favourite through balls.

Last week a journalist asked Mourinho if he’s going to sign a forward, to which he said, ”Maybe, maybe…”. It’s no secret that Old Trafford has lacked goals this season, and it’s wholly possible that the Portuguese is looking to fix this in the summer.

So, where is he going to play if he joins United? Most likely, behind the striker, CF in a 4-4-1-1. Once he goes deeper, it makes a 4-2-3-1 (CAM).

Griezmann said that if he leaves Atlético, it will be only for the Premier League. But the question is: will he leave for United?

About this author

Kamran Asadov

Manchester United fan. Born in Switzerland, from Azerbaijan.