The importance that Sergio Busquets has in the Barcelona team is crucial in many aspects, one of them being his ability to effectively press in the attacking third of the pitch, when Barcelona is attacking and lose the ball. Here is where Busquets excels his game. Considering all Barcelona’s players, he has the most balls won back during this season, exactly 145 balls won back in 23 appearances in Liga, Champions League, and FIFA Club World Cup (Rakitic is second with 122).
Busquets’ ball recovery in the attacking third of the pitch has two very positive and straightforward consequences for Barcelona:
- Prevents the opposition team from starting a counter attack.
- Enables Barcelona to build a very fast attack when the opposition team is not well positioned (since they expected to start their own counter attack after they recovered the ball). Actually, Barcelona can score in less than 2-3 seconds, starting from when Busquets intercepts the ball.
During this season we have been able to witness a large manifestation of the second point expressed above. Actually, Barcelona have scored 5 goals which are directly a consequence of Busquets’ ball recovery (interception), the last one being Suárez’s first goal vs Real Betis during the 16th round of the Liga. These goals and their respective sequences are listed as below:
1 – European Super Cup, vs Sevilla: interception by Busquets – Suárez – Goal
2 – Liga, round 8, vs Rayo Vallecano: interception by Busquets – Suárez – Neymar – Goal
3 – Champions League, game 3, vs BATE Borisov: interception by Busquets – Alba – Neymar – Rakitic – Goal
4 – Liga, round 11, vs Villarreal: interception by Busquets – Neymar – Goal
5 – Liga, round 16, vs Real Betis: interception by Busquets – Suárez – Goal
A graphical representation of these 5 goals can be seen in the below image: