Messi is again playing through the middle, though he plays as a false nine and with freedom, and he consistently drops into midfield to create from a number 10’s position. There is lots of pressure on Griezmann and their left-sided attacker Ansu Fati to stretch the opposition and run beyond their defensive line towards goal (above). With the passing talent of Messi, Philippe Coutinho, Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets in deeper positions, there is a good chance of those runs being found. Griezmann has tended to play alongside another forward who is more inclined to make that type of run while he drops deep, so he is still learning and he could still improve the timing of his runs.
In Koeman’s set-up, Griezmann and Ansu do not provide much width – that, instead, comes from their overlapping full-backs, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto (below) or Sergiño Dest. Roberto is encouraged to push up as much as possible and to get close to Griezmann, and they have shown a good understanding of each other’s games. Griezmann sometimes hold his position out wide to create space on the inside for Roberto to make an underlapping run, though those situations are infrequent, and it is so common that Roberto gets around the outside that Griezmann can sometimes play blind passes based on the assumption that Roberto will be making the run he expects.