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FC Barcelona 2011/12 Season in Review: Sergio Busquets

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Report: Four years ago few people knew about Sergio Busquets but now you can't imagine FC Barcelona without the defensive midfielder on the pitch. This season Busquets once again proved that he is one of the best in the business.

People often criticize Busquets for his antics after he gets "touched" by an opposing player but while that is annoying to watch even for Culés his pure football talents can't be denied. Days when he is caught out of position are few and far between and his passing is always excellent. He finished the season third on the team in successfully completed passes, behind Thiago and Xavi, with 91%.

Unlike in the previous season when Busquets played entire games in heart of the defense this season that did not happen. He played exclusively as the holding midfielder this time around but every game he transitioned into the backline when the situation called for his help. He was asked to help the defense even more in games when Barcelona played with a three-man backline.

This season Busquets tied his career high in appearances at 52 but despite the added workload he didn't lose a step as the season went along. Game in and game out he played strong defense and was a key component in play build-up. He always appeared to be fully concentrated on the task ahead and didn't make many mistakes, though, his open net miss in the dying moments of the first leg against Chelsea still haunts me.

Busquets never really impressed me with his work in aerial duels and this season was no different. He often appears unwilling to really commit to heading the ball clear when tasked with covering a physical opposing player. That is especially noticeable when defending Victor Valdes' (or Jose Pinto's) penalty area which led to easy chances for the opposition. In a team with so few tall players Busquets can't afford to not be dominant in the air game. But that is probably the only area he needs to work on in the future, not counting the diving of course.

Sam Cooper's View: In my opinion, Busquets had a good season, but I still feel the 24 year old Spaniard can offer more to the side. For a man whose job it is to convert defence to attack at lightning quick pace, there is no doubt that Busi accomplished this last season. Xavi and Andres Iniesta have both commented on how Busquets is a complete player and the defensive midfielder helped Barça to reach an aggregate score of 39-0 at the Camp Nou during the early stages of last season.

One of Busquets' most impressive talents is his ability to sense where the danger will come from. The marauding Dani Alves is often vulnerable to leaving a defensive gap and Busquets is often the player who plugs that gap. For example against Madrid last season, Cristiano Ronaldo would often break behind Alves but Busquets and Gerard Piqué would be there to limit the Portuguese winger's options.

My hopes for next season are I'd like to see him contribute more assists to the side. I know Busquets' main job is to guard the defence so venturing forward must be done with extreme caution, but I believe he has the intelligence to know when to attack and when to hold back.

Also I'd like to see less of the theatrics with some challenges before he starts to really gain a reputation for it.

Moment of the Season: Busquets was never known as a goalscorer and he probably never will be. This season he scored only two goals (which actually tied his goal total from the last two seasons combined) but there was one goal that gave me hope we will be seeing Busquets celebrate more often - the goal against Real Betis. He is one of the few players on the team with the necessary height to positively influence plays from set pieces and he did just in the game against Betis when he wonderfully headed the ball inside the far post.

Real Betis Vs FC Barcelona 0-1Sergio Busquets Goal 12-05-2012 (via TheMusicVevo2012)

Stats:

Appearances 52
Games started 46
Started on the bench 12
Substitute in 6
Substitute out 7
Minutes played 4247
Goals scored 2
Assists 3
Shots 10
Shots on goal 4
Fouls committed 46
Fouls suffered 114
Yellow cards 11
Red cards 0

Record with Cesc Fabregas in the starting lineup: 32-11-3

2012/13 Outlook: Busquets will continue to be one of the most used played on the Barcelona roster, not only because there is currently no real backup at his position but because he is one of the best holding midfielders in the world. Expect him to remain calm with the ball and extremely reliable on the defensive side off the ball. Also don't expect Busquets to score many goals, unless he starts scoring more goals like the one showed in the Moment of the Season.

Next Up: Seydou Keita