The Argentine is playing more in the center, where his role is to pass the ball to his mates
At the end of the season, with such a great amount of key matches, all eyes are on FC Barcelona's three forwards. Our contributor Carles Domènech explained at Catalunya Radio the activity of Messi, Suárez and Neymar against Betis and how the play of the Argentine is evolving to a playmaking role, more than shooting.
The three strikers only recovered 7% of the balls of the total of the team. They usually recover 10%. This 7% is thanks to Messi's 3 recovered balls on his location on the field, not for his work done or the pressure on the opponent. Sergio Busquets needs more efford to recover possession since his position on the field doesn't allow him pick balls from rebounds, clearances or balls lost.
However, Messi, Neymar and Suarez lost 61% of balls in the game against Betis. This figure stands out because Messi (located behind the center forward and leaving the right side for Alves) tried less one on ones. Indeed, The Argentine is assuming a role more of playmaker more than being a finisher.
This is shown in another piece of data: the trident do almost 50% of the key passes. Specifically, Messi has done 18, playing three or four meters outside the area. Of these 18 key passes, two ended in goal: One by Rakitic and another one by Luis Suárez.
The change in the second half
Luis Enrique reprimanded Barça players in the half-time vs Betis. In Carles Domènech's data we find a number which shows this effect in the second half: the trident went from 62 interventions in the first half to 100 in the second. A more usual number for these players.