Report: Unfazed by the "competition" at defensive midfielder in the name of Alex Song, Sergio Busquets entered the season in good form. His passing was smooth and accurate, as always, and his tackling was strong. But one month into the season you could see that Busquets' performances actually got even better. He didn't allow anybody to get past him, even at the price of a yellow card - and there were many of those. In that span of truly excellent form Busquets made all three appearances on the score sheet of the season.
As has been the case since his promotion from Barcelona B Busquets was involved in just about every attacking play. Even though he rarely features on the scoreboard you just know Busquets was somehow involved in the build-up to the scoring opportunity. He successfully completed over 92% of his passing attempts and only turned the ball over 23 times in the entire season which shows he doesn't give up possession cheaply. Those are elite numbers for a holding midfielder.
One of the major flaws in Busquets' career, apart from his diving - which has to be said improved mightily this season - was his air game. For a man of Busquets' size winning an air duel should be fairly easy, but the midfielder always looked "soft" going into them. While he did improve in this area of the game this season there is still plenty of room to grow as he still lost over 50% of the duels.
Busquets' form faded toward the end of the season, but it was later revealed that the player was struggling with a hernia injury. The injury forced him to sit out five of six games in March, including the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich. But even before he was sidelined because of the injury it was evident that Busquets was bothered by something as he wasn't quite as imposing as he usually was. It later became known that Busquets first became troubled by the discomfort in early February, coincidentally (or not?) that was when Barcelona's form started to slide as well.
Busquets recovered from the injury in time to finish the club season in solid form. He was also, obviously, called up by Vicente del Bosque for the Confederations Cup, a competition Spain finished in second place. Including four appearances at the Confederations Cup Busquets featured in 14 games, 13 starts, for La Furia Rojai n the past year without featuring on the scoreboard.
Moment of the season: A rare thing happened this season - for just the second time in his career Busquets scored a goal that turned out to be the game-winning goal. It came in the 4-1 victory against Atletico Madrid when just before halftime the defensive midfielder collected the loose ball, calmly side-stepped a defender and powered the ball past a helpless Thibaut Courtois.
La Liga | FC Barcelona - Atlético de Madrid (4-1) | 16-12-2012 | J16 | Resumen (via La Liga)
|Started on the Bench
|Shots on Goal
|BB Community Rating*||6.77|
*BB Community Rating represents the average rating (out of 10) Barca Blaugranes community members gave to the player for his performances throughout the season
Record with Sergio Busquets in the starting lineup: 28-5-6
2013-14 Outlook: Busquets will unquestionably enter the new season as the No. 1 at defensive midfielder. Even with the coaching change expect Busquets to dictate the play from his deeper position. We also shouldn't be surprised to see Busquets occasionally appear at center-back, especially if the club doesn't reinforce the backline.
Next Up: Alex Song