Was Carrick better than Busquets defensively?

Raees

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Now during Carrick's tenture with us, I wasn't the biggest fan of Michael. I thought he was overrated with regards to his 'playmaking' and that the talk about him being the english 'Pirlo' was always a bit daft. Nevertheless the one area of his game which I did greatly admire and rated as 'world-class' was his defensive game. People talk about VDS, Rio and Vida.. but Carrick was also rock solid defensively. He played an integral role in providing the platform for Scholes to dictate the game despite his ageing legs and was so consistent as a defensive shield it meant for the first time we were incredibly consistent in Europe and only really struggled against Barcelona and Milan (Carrick was inexperienced when facing them so I will forgive him).

Considering he had to play in a 2 man midfield for the majority of his peak and in a side which wasn't all that dominant from a possession perspective, his defensive contributions were remarkable. The question I want to raise however is how good was he defensively compared to his peers... was he superior to a Busquets if we focus just on the defensive side of his game? how does he compare to United greats such as Stiles, Ince and Keane in this respect?

 

Handré1990

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Without doing any in-depth analyzis at all (like I’m even capable), I’d say he was a level below Busquets. I’ve always appreciated him though, thought he was fantastic for us. Will listen to it later, always something interesting!
 

11101

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I don't think he was much worse, Carrick relied a little more on his positioning to cut things out and Busquets was happier to stick a leg in. The difference was if anybody looked like getting the better of Busquets he would cheat to regain an advantage, whereas Carrick never would. Ultimately it mean't Busquets was better for his team than Carrick was for his.
 

Rish Sawhney

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I think Carrick was every bit as good as Pirlo, Busquets and Alonso. And he's respected as such by coaches - both Mourinho and Pep talked about him being at that level so did Xavi in 2009 I think (might be 2011). The reason he's underrated here is because we saw him day in and day out so we remember the bad times as well. Also the fact that the entire team sort of fell apart in 2013 and he was basically the only senior outfield player left apart from a severely declining Rooney, so people blame him for not single handedly keeping us competitive (I hope I don't need to mention how dumb that is).

He was from 2006-2013 my hands down favourite United player. Don't get me wrong I loved Ronaldo, Rooney, Scholes, etc but the simple elegance of Carrick just impressed me. He always made winning the ball back and starting attacks look so effortless.

However I'll say this for a lot of United players in the SAF years. We were so dominant that people tended to underrate our players a lot and not realize the magnitude of their achievements and their qualities. The media is especially guilty of this, but I think our fans tend to fall into this as well. We always compared him to Keane when he first arrived and found him wanting but we didn't realize how immense and important he was. The guy has won 5 Premier leagues! AND he was pretty much our only midfielder in the prime of their career for a lot of them. Scholes' legs had started going, Fletcher was constantly ill and the less said about Ando and Cleverly the better. We got to a CL final with a midfield of Michael Carrick and a 37 year old Giggs for crying out loud.

Here's a video I recently saw that made me remember how much I loved him and made want to create a thread here but I don't have the privileges yet but here you go:

 
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amolbhatia50k

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I think Carrick was every bit as good as Pirlo, Busquets and Alonso.
No chance. Busquets and Pirlo were on a different stratosphere. It's silly to compare Carrick, a very good footballer in his own right, to all time greats.

Alonso and Carrick were probably at a similar level.

As for this thread, I'd say they were at a similar level defensively. Maybe Carrick was even better. But Busquet's was so absurdly good at everything else theres not much to compare. For example Busquets was as press resistant as a CM gets. That in itself makes your team defensively stronger by a hell of a lot. Carrick was prone to being suffocated and didn't have that standout quality that the Barcelona man did.[/QUOTE]
 

amolbhatia50k

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As for Carrick's defensive qualities, I'd say he was very good but not brilliant. He was great at reading play and anticipating danger but he wasn't a rock defensively and was often fragile when pressed. For his qualities on the ball, you'd have to say his defensive abilities made for a terrific combination.
 

Rish Sawhney

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No chance. Busquets and Pirlo were on a different stratosphere. It's silly to compare Carrick, a very good footballer in his own right, to all time greats.

Alonso and Carrick were probably at a similar level.

As for this thread, I'd say they were at a similar level defensively. Maybe Carrick was even better. But Busquet's was so absurdly good at everything else theres not much to compare. For example Busquets was as press resistant as a CM gets. That in itself makes your team defensively stronger by a hell of a lot. Carrick was prone to being suffocated and didn't have that standout quality that the Barcelona man did.
[/QUOTE]

Pep himself said that Carrick would get in his Barcelona team. I’d imagine he’d take Busquets place. You’re overrating Busquets because he played in much more possession based system but Carrick was as good as Busquets under pressure he just didn’t have good midfield partners to back him up. It was Scholes or nothing. Also we played a much faster and less possession based style so he was encouraged to find killer passes when pressured as teams could get caught out over the top so his accuracy wasn’t as good as Busquets but that’s a matter of style and tactics than individual player’s quality.

I’d even argue that Busquets in our team wouldn’t have done as well as Carrick did but Carrick in Barcelona would have been better than Busquets.
 

adexkola

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Being press-resistant is as much a function of the overall team setup as it is a function of the individual player's qualities. A Carrick being pressed by the opposition didn't have the passing options around him that Busquets had. Replacing Carrick with Busquets would probably see a slight elevation in midfield performance but I don't think it would suddenly make our team press resistant (unless Busquets came with Guardiola and his rondos)

Another thing is that us fans (myself included) in retrospect were too harsh on Carrick.
 

matbezlima

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Guardiola after the 2011 UCL final: “We pressed the ball a lot, we were on top of Carrick and Giggs and that shows the quality of our team. You’ll always have problems in the Champions League final but we had less problems than in Rome – we had more chances and we made more of them."
 

SAFMUTD

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Not even close, Busquets is/was a superior player by a long shot. Dont get me wrong I think Carrick was a great player, but Busquets was worldclass and arguable an all time top 5 in his position.
 

Gordon S

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I think Carrick was every bit as good as Pirlo, Busquets and Alonso. And he's respected as such by coaches - both Mourinho and Pep talked about him being at that level so did Xavi in 2009 I think (might be 2011). The reason he's underrated here is because we saw him day in and day out so we remember the bad times as well. Also the fact that the entire team sort of fell apart in 2013 and he was basically the only senior outfield player left apart from a severely declining Rooney, so people blame him for not single handedly keeping us competitive (I hope I don't need to mention how dumb that is).

He was from 2006-2013 my hands down favourite United player. Don't get me wrong I loved Ronaldo, Rooney, Scholes, etc but the simple elegance of Carrick just impressed me. He always made winning the ball back and starting attacks look so effortless.

However I'll say this for a lot of United players in the SAF years. We were so dominant that people tended to underrate our players a lot and not realize the magnitude of their achievements and their qualities. The media is especially guilty of this, but I think our fans tend to fall into this as well. We always compared him to Keane when he first arrived and found him wanting but we didn't realize how immense and important he was. The guy has won 5 Premier leagues! AND he was pretty much our only midfielder in the prime of their career for a lot of them. Scholes' legs had started going, Fletcher was constantly ill and the less said about Ando and Cleverly the better. We got to a CL final with a midfield of Michael Carrick and a 37 year old Giggs for crying out loud.

Here's a video I recently saw that made me remember how much I loved him and made want to create a thread here but I don't have the privileges yet but here you go:

Great video! Get goosebumps watching his passing. His vision was outstanding.
 

anant

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As a complete player, I'd rate Carrick in the same tier as Busquets, however, Busquests was better defensively. His positioning and awareness were top notch.
 

Righteous Steps

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No chance. Busquets and Pirlo were on a different stratosphere. It's silly to compare Carrick, a very good footballer in his own right, to all time greats.

Alonso and Carrick were probably at a similar level.

As for this thread, I'd say they were at a similar level defensively. Maybe Carrick was even better. But Busquet's was so absurdly good at everything else theres not much to compare. For example Busquets was as press resistant as a CM gets. That in itself makes your team defensively stronger by a hell of a lot. Carrick was prone to being suffocated and didn't have that standout quality that the Barcelona man did.
[/QUOTE]

In what way was Alonso and Carrick on a similar level? Busquets and Alonso were on a similar level, if you think Busquets is in a different stratosphere then Alonso is too!
 

antohan

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I’d even argue that Busquets in our team wouldn’t have done as well as Carrick did but Carrick in Barcelona would have been better than Busquets.
I'd agree with the first statement, not with the latter. Different teams, styles and midfield partners. Both were best suited to theirs. Putting it another way, I wouldn't swap them if I managed either side.

Busquets was obviously more successful for club and country and part of a once in a generation side/midfield unit, so people will naturally rate him higher.
 

Maluco

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I don’t feel Carrick is being overrated here, as he deserves all the plaudits that come his way, and he was excellent defensively.

I do, however, think you are underrating Busquets. It’s s massive assumption to suggest he would have been worse with lesser players around him, while players like Xavi, Iniesta, and even Messi, escape that criticism.

Busquets, for me, is on the same tier as his teammates. Absolutely fantastic at what he did and indispensable to that Barcelona team. There is no flashy attention grabbing and his propensity to go to ground and play dirty are potentially reasons why he doesn’t get the mentions that the others do, but he was incredible at his peak.

He was a world class footballer who was on another level to an excellent Carrick. Defensively, his awareness and football intelligence is second to very few players in an all time context.

If you are doing one of the forum drafts, Busquets is final ready in any team and any criteria. I don’t think Carrick is.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Alonso = Carrick. That's what I see it and Pep stated the same.

Defensively, I don't know what makes people think Carrick was below Busquets. To me they are on equal if we judge defensively because they rely on something similar when defending and the level contribution are the same.
 

Untd55

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People love to overrate players. Busquets and Alonso in a different stratosphere, why exactly? Carrick was every bit as good as both of them. People seem to forget that he had to do the same job in a two-man midfield quite a lot of times and with worse partners.

I remember him taking loads of blame for the second Champion's League final against Barcelona when he played alongside Giggs. It was two-man midfield with a converted winger playing against a three-man midfield containing Xavi and Iniesta. Somehow people expected Carrick to match them. He would be the best midfielder in history if he managed to do that.

Stats-wise, Carrick, Alonso, and Busquets are very similar. Interchange them with each other in their respective teams and you will see no difference to the results. People love to overrate players.
 

2mufc0

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Carrick was a one man midfield for a few seasons, I mean he had to play with the likes of Cleverly in midfield. He's generally under rated by everyone.
 

El Jefe

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Please Caf lets not do this. Carrick was a fantastic midfielder but Busquets was a level above in every department apart from shooting.

Even defensively Busquets was noticeably better. Same style but Busquets was a much better tackler and he dealt with stronger players a lot better than Carrick as he could be out-muscled at times.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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I don’t feel Carrick is being overrated here, as he deserves all the plaudits that come his way, and he was excellent defensively.

I do, however, think you are underrating Busquets. It’s s massive assumption to suggest he would have been worse with lesser players around him, while players like Xavi, Iniesta, and even Messi, escape that criticism.

Busquets, for me, is on the same tier as his teammates. Absolutely fantastic at what he did and indispensable to that Barcelona team. There is no flashy attention grabbing and his propensity to go to ground and play dirty are potentially reasons why he doesn’t get the mentions that the others do, but he was incredible at his peak.

He was a world class footballer who was on another level to an excellent Carrick. Defensively, his awareness and football intelligence is second to very few players in an all time context.

If you are doing one of the forum drafts, Busquets is final ready in any team and any criteria. I don’t think Carrick is.
Either Pep is clueless and underrating Busquets or he was actually talking sense when he stated that Carrick is on the same level as Busquets & Alonso. I wonder which one.
 

hasanejaz88

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Busquests is one of the most difficult players to rate because so much of what he does is not picked up because it's not eye catching. It's not the same as say Gattuso, who was all energy and crunching tackles. That gets picked up by media and fans while another player winning the ball with some pressing and putting a small foot in won't get the same applause or acclaim. And it's not as if he's a great passer as well that it can be acknowledged as well (as is the case with Carrick).

It's the same reason why Makalele did not get much acclaim while at Madrid, where everyone's attention was on their attack. He was a similar, smart defensive midfielder, who wasn't known for crunching tackles. It wasn't until he moved to Chelsea where the midfield/defense was more celebrated that people became aware of his value.

Saying Carrick is at the same level as Alonso is fine for me, Carrick was better defensively as he had to be the lead defensive player in 06-07 (before Hargreaves and Fletcher came in following Scholes' natural decline and took over the defensive duties) while Alonso was the better passer. Alonso also had a deeper role when he first arrived but it wasn't until Masherano arrived that he went up another level.

Busquets though, being part of that great Barca/Spain team is both a blessing and a curse for him. He's blessed because he'l always be rated as a great player due to being part of those teams for over a decade is an amazing achievement in itself, while it's a curse because he might be underrated as people would say he wasn't that good and was made to look better by playing with Xavi/Iniesta (although that does not hold if you consider he won multiple trophies after both retired/declined).

Ultimately, I would say Busquests was better defensively. That was his role in the team and he did that brilliantly, Xavi wasn't a slouch defensively but Busquests was that pure defender in midfield, not only for Barcelona but also Spain. You have to give him credit for that. The bigger question is how far do you rate Busquests compared to the highest level of midfielders of his generation. Schweinsteiger, Pirlo, Lampard, Gerrard, Modric etc (not including Xavi and Ineista since they are god level and no one compares to them)?
 
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Web of Bissaka

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The system they play have to be considered.

Considering their prime (Carrick's pace does loses out in the end, so much so he needs other players especially midfield partners to provide the "legs"). Though I think it's clear Carrick is much better defensively and he were being tested more defensively than Busquests. Barca systems is basically where you won't get tested much defensively. In the moments he had to defend eg. when they were being counter-attacked, I was not too impressive and Busquets does get caught out at times, teammates helped him well. His defending is fine and definitely better than Xavi and Iniesta so perfect partner for them, but his strength lies in possession football with his unique abilities in on-the-ball dummy-ing/tricking players and extremely good ball retention. Were Busquets ever be used as CB? can't remember.

EDIT: Not undermining Busquets here, his style when defending is somewhat unique where he basically use his football intelligence, good discipline, good teamwork skills and a bit of dark arts. It's effective with fellow Barca teammates who have good ability and understandings. But I felt prime Busquets would slightly struggle more defending than prime Carrick. Just slightly.

Switch the two teams -- Carrick won't have problems adjusting to Barca, but Busquets would struggle in the latter United's teams. As others have stated here, Carrick have managed to play well in two-man midfield with worse teammates. One man midfield at times.

Carrick is better defensively that's it.
 
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Oldyella

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Carrick was a one man midfield for a few seasons, I mean he had to play with the likes of Cleverly in midfield. He's generally under rated by everyone.
This! Us fans used to go mad that we never strengthened midfield, imagine how he felt! :D
 

Maluco

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People love to overrate players. Busquets and Alonso in a different stratosphere, why exactly? Carrick was every bit as good as both of them. People seem to forget that he had to do the same job in a two-man midfield quite a lot of times and with worse partners.

I remember him taking loads of blame for the second Champion's League final against Barcelona when he played alongside Giggs. It was two-man midfield with a converted winger playing against a three-man midfield containing Xavi and Iniesta. Somehow people expected Carrick to match them. He would be the best midfielder in history if he managed to do that.

Stats-wise, Carrick, Alonso, and Busquets are very similar. Interchange them with each other in their respective teams and you will see no difference to the results. People love to overrate players.
Stats are a bad way of looking at it. Busquets has literally won it all and was a key component in all of it. He wasn’t just the best available for the team at the time. He was crucial to some of the very biggest wins in the history of football. Carrick didn’t even really get on for his country.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it is unjust and a case of England not really understanding what they had in Carrick, but the facts remain.

I really do think that the praise showered on Xavi/Iniesta detracts from how important Busquets was, not only to one of the greatest club teams in history, but to a World Cup winning side too.

His achievements don’t just go beyond because he was in the right teams at the right time. He was integral to those teams and those triumphs.
 

fps

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I don’t feel Carrick is being overrated here, as he deserves all the plaudits that come his way, and he was excellent defensively.

I do, however, think you are underrating Busquets. It’s s massive assumption to suggest he would have been worse with lesser players around him, while players like Xavi, Iniesta, and even Messi, escape that criticism.

Busquets, for me, is on the same tier as his teammates. Absolutely fantastic at what he did and indispensable to that Barcelona team. There is no flashy attention grabbing and his propensity to go to ground and play dirty are potentially reasons why he doesn’t get the mentions that the others do, but he was incredible at his peak.

He was a world class footballer who was on another level to an excellent Carrick. Defensively, his awareness and football intelligence is second to very few players in an all time context.

If you are doing one of the forum drafts, Busquets is final ready in any team and any criteria. I don’t think Carrick is.
Yes this. Carrick a wonderful player though.
 

Maluco

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Either Pep is clueless and underrating Busquets or he was actually talking sense when he stated that Carrick is on the same level as Busquets & Alonso. I wonder which one.
Managers do this all the time. He isn’t going to say “honestly, no one from United would get in our team”. It sounds arrogant and limits the scale of the win.

Pep “(I told him) how good a player he is,” Guardiola said. “Last season he destroyed us here. I didn’t know him last season, I realised how good he is.”

That was about Nathan Redmond.
 

El Jefe

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Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta is the greatest midfield I've ever seen. I can't speak on the midfield's pre 90's but I'd be shocked if there were many that were level or better.

A Carrick, Xavi, Iniesta midfield would still be great but I'm not sure it'll be as dominant. Busquets was so good that Yaya and Mascherano were no competition for him, even Alex Song who was brilliant for Arsenal looked like a Championship player compared to Busquets. These were players who were extremely successful in the PL and in Mascherano's case, better than Carrick.

Busquets was every bit as good as Xavi and Iniesta in how he fulfilled his role. That's how good he is.
 

amolbhatia50k

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In what way was Alonso and Carrick on a similar level? Busquets and Alonso were on a similar level, if you think Busquets is in a different stratosphere then Alonso is too!
[/QUOTE]
No, I think Alonso wasn't as good as Busquets who was a notch above and reached a unique level and became a reference point for the DLP role.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Managers do this all the time. He isn’t going to say “honestly, no one from United would get in our team”. It sounds arrogant and limits the scale of the win.

Pep “(I told him) how good a player he is,” Guardiola said. “Last season he destroyed us here. I didn’t know him last season, I realised how good he is.”

That was about Nathan Redmond.
I don't know how you find both comparison as similar. The only thing same is that he gave credit to where it's due.

He was giving Redmond a praise after his performance against his team and the credit reflects to his performance in that one match alone.

While the other one is he's talking about Carrick's career as a footballer not just based on one game. The credit reflects to Carrick's level as a holding midfielder.
 

Berbasbullet

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Busquets performance against us in the UCL final in 2011 was out of this world, honestly, what a player.
 

amolbhatia50k

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Being press-resistant is as much a function of the overall team setup as it is a function of the individual player's qualities. A Carrick being pressed by the opposition didn't have the passing options around him that Busquets had. Replacing Carrick with Busquets would probably see a slight elevation in midfield performance but I don't think it would suddenly make our team press resistant (unless Busquets came with Guardiola and his rondos)

Another thing is that us fans (myself included) in retrospect were too harsh on Carrick.
There's some truth to that but it's not entirely true either.

It's that constant question - is Xavi Xavi becuase of Xavi or because of Messi/Iniesta/Pep/Barcelona/tiki taka? Or is it the other way round? You're correct that playing in that Barcelona team would help you get out of tight situations and retain the ball. But it's also questionable whether you'd actually get I to that Barcelona team and if you do - would you fit in seamlessly like an equally vital cog as all time great midfielders or look somewhat pale in comparison. I think Carrick would do well in that midfield but reach nowhere near the level Busquets did. The latter is possibly thought of, within the game as one of the great midfielders, more at the level of the Keane's and Scholes than Carrick's of this world.

I thought Carrick was a terrific footballer but there's a reason why he's a divisive topic - because he wasn't an elite CM despite a few comparing him to elite CMs.
 

amolbhatia50k

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Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta is the greatest midfield I've ever seen. I can't speak on the midfield's pre 90's but I'd be shocked if there were many that were level or better.

A Carrick, Xavi, Iniesta midfield would still be great but I'm not sure it'll be as dominant. Busquets was so good that Yaya and Mascherano were no competition for him, even Alex Song who was brilliant for Arsenal looked like a Championship player compared to Busquets. These were players who were extremely successful in the PL and in Mascherano's case, better than Carrick.

Busquets was every bit as good as Xavi and Iniesta in how he fulfilled his role. That's how good he is.
Mascherano was better than Carrick? No way. There's overrating happening in this thread but you're underrating Carrick IMO.
 

Maluco

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I don't know how you find both comparison as similar. The only thing same is that he gave credit to where it's due.

He was giving Redmond a praise after his performance against his team and the credit reflects to his performance in that one match alone.

While the other one is he's talking about Carrick's career as a footballer not just based on one game. The credit reflects to Carrick's level as a holding midfielder.
It’s just an example. Managers are interviewed multiple times on a weekly basis. They are often complementary about opposition managers and players.

If you could go back in time and offer Guardiola the swap, there is no way he would take it. He was simply admiring a player as he has done many other times.

It’s like when people post the quotes about so and so saying such and such is the best player in the world. It is a soundbyte and doesn’t really mean anything.