Statistical Study: Bojan Krkic

bojangoalBojan Krkic is an interesting question in our lineup. Not necessarily from a talent perspective, but rather from an efficiency and capability perspective. There are those who question Bojan’s abilities and his place within the squad. Those are legitimate questions, so long as they’re framed in the right way with the requisite information available. Naturally, I’m here to provide some decimal points for you to look at when comparing Bojan’s current contributions to the team with his previous contributions.

I previously posted this as a comment on his birthday post, but I’m going to repost it in an easy-to-read table so that it’s clearer what’s going on. I’ll draw my own conclusions at the end of the post, but I’d like to point out here that 1) you should draw your own conclusions as well, 2) these stats are from all three of our competitions last year (I haven’t weighted the value of the competitions simply because that would require me to qualify the competitive differences between the competitions), and 3) I haven’t included all the available stats, partly because that’d be a lot more work, but mostly because I don’t believe in the assists stat and don’t want to sully my “scientific study” with that hoodoo.

Season Appearances Minutes Starts Minutes
as a starter
per start
Subs on Minutes
as a sub
per sub
2007-2008 48 2335 20 1692 84:36 28 643 22:59
2008-2009 41 1885 18 1477 82:3 23 408 17:44

Now to the goods you’ve all been waiting for, goals:

Season Goals Minutes
per goal
Goals as
a starter
Minutes per goal
as a starter
Goals as
a sub
Minutes per goal
as a sub
2007-2008 12 194:35 8 221:30 4 160:45
2008-2009 10 188:30 9 164:07 1 408:00

If you include the 2009-2010 season (1 goal in one 81-minute appearance), you have an even better goals-to-appearances ratio. The season is young, of course. Basically, I read these stats as suggesting that Bojan is becoming more effective. He’s improving steadily and I expect him to get more effective per minute.

Comparing Bojan’s performances with those of some of our other players can be instructive as how much of an impact Bojan has. Messi scored a goal every 114:31 in the league last year and Henry scored a goal every 116:28 in La Liga. Eto’o scored a goal every 101:54. Compare that to Bojan’s 386:30 minutes per goal in that competition. That big 300+ number isn’t so great, but he’s got a ways to go before he’s starting regularly, which, if his stats are any indication, would vastly improve his scoring rate. Both of his goals in the league were as a starter, meaning he scored a goal every 237 minutes in the league as a starter. That’s obviously vastly better and more in line with the numbers other players were putting up (though still not even close to as good, but no one expects him to be Messi, I don’t think, or to score as many goals as Samu did).

Because this wouldn’t be a stats post by me if I didn’t include something fairly random, here’s Bojan’s improvement: he went from 194:35 to 188:30 minutes per goal, meaning that if he continues to improve at this rate (194.58 to 188.5 is a 3.2% improvement), this coming year he should score a goal every 182:36. And he’ll score a goal every 90 minutes when he turns 41 and an amazing goal every single minute when he is 183. Can’t wait for the 2173-2174 season!

But seriously, he’ll have to improve more than that in order to prove his worth to the side, especially with Pedro! and Jeffren knocking on the door. As a starter he scored a goal every 164:07 last year compared to 221:30 from the 07/08 season, which is a much more palatable 25.9% improvement. At that rate, he’ll score a goal every 121.62 minutes, which is actually quite damned good. I don’t expect that dramatic a jump, but you never know; most of it depends on frequency and consistency of starts and his recent injury could throw him off his burgeoning game. He was lively as hell against Sporting Gijon, so I hope that his recovery is swift, complete, and doesn’t get thrown off by the injury layoff. At the 121:37 rate listed above, if he plays two thousand minutes, he’d score 16 or 17 goals (16.44, but who can score .44 goals? Other than magic man Iniesta, of course). That’s a damned good haul, if you ask me, and too much to ask from a 19-year old.

I’m hoping he puts in about 2000 league minutes, actually, and scores 12 goals (that would be a goal every 166:40). That would be a good return for the league, but I’m not sure there will be enough minutes for him to earn more than double what he did last year.

What do you think is a reasonable expectation for goal returns for Bojan in the coming year? Have at it in the comments.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. iBlau
    September 7, 2009


    “……and an amazing goal every single minute when he is 183. Can’t wait for the 2173-2174 season!”

    I literally laughed out loud.

    But seriously, I think Bojan will mature this season whether it be competition from Pedro!/Jeffren or his coming of age. I think he should test the waters more as a winger because I really believe he has the pace to cause problems for the opposing defence. He just doesn’t have the physique for a standard ‘9’ but what do I know……

  2. iBlau
    September 7, 2009

    By the way, I expect roughly 10-15 goals from Bojan this season.

  3. JMo
    September 7, 2009

    I think a fair expectation leaves you with the hope of 10 goals from Bojan.

    I love his newfound aggression towards the goal, and I hope he realizes to go with his gut instinct when in the face of the goal. His indecisiveness paralyzes him. As long as he’s under the tutelage of Henry, I gotta think Bojan will continue to grow exponentially as he learns from arguably the greatest striker in EPL history, in his prime of course.

    I think if he scores 10 in the league, it’ll be a great season for the lad.

  4. Mher
    September 7, 2009

    When it comes to our dear Pep’s opinion, Bojan is an interesting spectacle regarding our backup wing “problem”. Pedro is proving to be an amazing backup who deserves a great future role in the team. Jeffren has also been impressive, but when it comes to potential and convenience Bojan is the one who wins the battle. Do not forget the staggering 10 league goals he scored his debut year when he was only friggin 17 years old. With the arrival of Keirrison as our potential future no. 9, Bojan is being asked to develop a wing game, and he has only been doing this fir the past year. I say we give the kid some time to progress into that role and see if he can successfully integrate himself into our plans. I personally believe he can and will achieve this in the near future, I’ve always been an admirer of the Kid’s talents. But to put things in my short-term perspective, Bojan has some proving to do this year in terms of effectiveness as a substitute for a major confidence boost, which in fact can be the factor that leads him to success or not.

  5. jnelson
    September 7, 2009

    I agree with JMO: 10 sounds reasonable, but 15 or more would be a pleasant surprise.

  6. September 7, 2009

    I to believe Bojan can achieve as a 1st teamer this season with BANGS still getting used to our team and Henry tired legs this is his time to shine.Only Pedro!!! excellent performances can halt him.
    He should score around 15 goals this season and have a few assists…

    BTW-MY FCB blog site is back up and running.
    Hoping to maybe fill the void of Pep’s Place and provide the facts.


  7. txikidracula
    September 8, 2009

    “Can’t wait for the 2173-2174 season” that IS funny!

    yep…nothing in life is linear, correlation does not equal causation, feedback loops, blah blah blah blah blah, who cares. just not a big fan of stats. how can you quantify the impact of ibra’s height and strength, and his ability to draw out defenders, for instance? whatever.

    after seeing gai play along ibra in the gamper game i really do hope he starts scoring more goals, whether it be in atletic or in whatever few chances he gets w/the a-team, because his passing and ability to read the game is really fucking beautiful.

    bojan is impressive in front of goal and could flourish on the left wing but i just really think he’s more suited to playing as a second striker in something more like a 4-4-2 formation. i just don’t want to sacrifice aesthetics for goal differentials…but this all irrationally stems from thinking no one could ever fill the void left behind by ronaldinho and provide both. oh wait… there’s that messi dude. 🙂

  8. txikidracula
    September 8, 2009

    oh yeah…considering he’ll play most of the copa del rey games(although i don’t think pep’ll try very hard to win it this season) and he’ll be an automatic starter if there’s, god forbid, an injury to any one of the starting lineup(very likely)…i’m thinking somewhere around the 15-19 range. being optimistic.

  9. Alexinho
    September 8, 2009

    Frankly, I didn’t think he was THAT good against Gijon. I’ve heard people cite him way too much about that match. He was doing some different things, but nothing terribly efficient. The goal was pure luck, not to have been marked.

    But I do agree that he is definitely improving. Numbers tell no more than 10% of the story of soccer. If he can get a bit more consistency in the MANNER of his play, goals or no goals, I will be a staunch supporter of his.

  10. Aeneas
    September 8, 2009

    I expect him to score at least 10 and would be delighted/shocked with 16.44. Obviously a lot will depend on starts. That said, it would be great if pep could fit him in as a starter in ~25 games. It felt as though in the final stretch of last season pep might have resorted to his ‘static’ lineup fearing a change would result in a loss and all the trophies would disappear. This season, with experience and success to calm him, he hopefully will be more comfortable with rotating, even as the season nears its end.

    Sidebar: Isaiah, there is a typo in the 08/09 ‘minutes as a sub box'(48 minutes). 418 minutes, perhaps?

  11. Eduard
    September 8, 2009

    If he starts more games (statistically) Bojan will score goals at a higher rate than last year. In addition, because of his training on the wings when he starts, the team will also have a better goal differential.

    Let me also say that in the game agaisnt Gijon that he DID have an excellent game, he was everywhere on the pitch, seemed calm on the ball, kept a good flow; I was really impressed.

  12. September 8, 2009

    I never understood this whole “we definitely need a left winger to replace Henry” logic. Barca has a left winger to take Henry’s place, and his name is Bojan. He has been groomed for 3 yrs basically. I’ve said it before, but to reiterate, I don’t want Henry playing more than 30 games all year in all competitions. He’s at an age now where he should be nursed. Bojan is ready, and it’s up to Pep to give him confidence.

    Barca need a central midfielder to spell Iniesta and Xavi a lot more than a winger a la William or Robinho or Ribery.

  13. ooga aga
    September 8, 2009

    bojan was our best striker against gijon. period. watch the match.

  14. ooga aga
    September 8, 2009

    last year bojan started 6 matches. expect him to start 10-12 this year. that’s double last year. he’ll score 8-12 goals.

  15. September 8, 2009

    My opinion since Bojan was promoted to the first team, he will never be a “9” for Barcelona, but a wing forward.

    Bojan last game was interesting, not for the output but for the moral and well. Even though Pedro is almost the leading horse for the flank at the moment, Bojan still has a very important advantage. He is a natural goal scoring forward (which is a must for a Barcelona wing forward). Pedro has an edge when it come to applying pressure on the opponent. Bojan finishing is better (Anticipation, positioning, finishing). I believe upgrading the defensive contribution (pressing opponent) is slightly easier than upgrading the scoring qualities (Pedro scores, but he is not a Bojan, at least as I see it so far).

    If Bojan has the well and determination and most importantly the complete understanding of the “Know how” to break through into the first team, I guess he will make it.

  16. September 8, 2009

    Bojan won’t be a classic #9 and seems very much like Saviola v2.0. A more polished version though. Saviola did get himself a few golazos while he was here but he didn’t exactly strike fear into the heart of any defender and nor does Bojan.

    In the Gijon game his tracking back and all round performance was exceptional and he really looks like he’s got himself the confidence we were talking about (lets just hope he didn’t go to the same shop Mutu went to for his “confidence”) 🙂

    His value is greatly enhanced as a substitute because he uses his bursts of speed against tiring defenders which makes him a great Sub IMHO.

  17. Han
    September 8, 2009

    I 100% agree with Ramzi! Which is the case about 99,9% of the time as Ramzi’s insights are almost always identical to mine, after I read his one’s first 😉

    On another note I like the comparison to Saviola in 2 ways. Saviola was a good (not great) goalscorer and his statistics speak for themselves. Secondly, as pointed out, he’s not exactly the “gamechanger” or fearfactor or goalmachine a la “batistuta or Mario Jardel.

  18. Han
    September 8, 2009

    God I would have loved to see Batistuta in a Barcelona jersey. Anybody still remembers when his name was discussed back in 2006 or 2007 and we ended up with MAXI Lopez??? Ok, he was way over his prime but he was still Batigol, and with hindsight, probably better than Maxi has been.

  19. September 8, 2009

    Maxi scored one important goal for us in the champions league back in 2005. But he was such a waste of space!

  20. Ethan
    September 8, 2009

    I happen to think it was a huge misfortune for Bojan to get injured in the league debut. I was at the game and the kid played insane. I have never seen such strength and confidence when on the ball from the kid. I was trying to pay attention to IBRA to see what he could do for us being he had two kids to work with in Pedro! and Bojan, but wow did the kid impress me. He ran frantically all over the pitch creating chances and chaos for the sporting defense. A big jump from last year in my opinion as the last two years he lacked this great strength and confidence on the ball. I can not wait to see what he will be able to produce(his injury willing) this year.

    and a sidenote, i was able to get Ibra’s first goal on my camera, will try to get it up on youtube for all to enjoy. = ) VISCA BARCA!!!

  21. ooga aga
    September 8, 2009

    like i said, he was our best forward against gijon

  22. September 8, 2009

    I’m not entirely sure how to read this.

    It’s in Spanish, yes, but the problem I’m having with it is that it says RM have hired ex-ref Mejía Dávila to be their “Referee Delegate”, which, if I’m understanding the sentence “acompañar a los colegiados los días de partido y facilitarles todo lo que consideren oportuno” correctly, it means that Dávila will be “accompanying the refs on the day of the game in order to provide them with whatever they deem appropriate”…uh, what?

    Do all teams have this position? And what, exactly, do they do? And if they do have it (which I could imagine), is it ever an ex-reffing buddy?

  23. UAI
    September 8, 2009

    Are you sure that’s it should read “Goals per minute”. In the table? The nuumber given seems to be in minutes. Did you mean “Minutes per goal” maybe?

  24. UAI
    September 8, 2009

    Also, when you compare with Messi and Henry, are penalty goals being counted? When comparing either Bojan or Henry with Messi in terms of goals per minute it should be considered that they take none while Messi is a primary PK taker

  25. txikidracula
    September 8, 2009

    isn’t bojan taking part in a u-20 or u-21 competition this year to boot?

  26. Tutomate
    September 8, 2009

    It means they hired an ex-ref to basically bully (provide assistance) the actual refs. It’s shady basically. I had to read It a couple of time to understand it.

  27. September 8, 2009

    Tutomate, I am confused as to the shadiness levels, really. I had to read it a couple of times as well, but it’s still not entirely clear to me. Hopefully LLL will come out with something about it.

  28. OhYes
    September 8, 2009

    Tutomate: That’s exactly what I am getting out of that. It doesn’t make any sense.

  29. Helge
    September 8, 2009

    You’re right, UAI – at least I suppose so 🙂
    I was wondering first what “goals per minute 194:35” actually means, I thought of 194 goals in 35 minutes 😀

    There are some other mistakes in the table:
    – “Minutes as a sub 2008-2009” gotta be 408
    – the actual “Minutes per goal” ratio of the 2007-2008 season is (calculated with the given data): 186:15 which means he decreased his ratio by ~1.2%. This leads to a goal every 1316:46 minutes in the infamous 2173-2174 season but still one goal every 242:13 minutes at the age of 41. Not bad at all!
    Edit: There’s no need for you to edit the whole evaluation, I just found out that there is another typing error: It has to be 2335 Minutes for the 2007-2008 season, right? Then the other data matches perfectly.

    So, they say it’s easy to screw people with statistics, and that’s why I’m always checking them 😉
    But in your case, the evaluation is correct (mathematical), there were just some numbers mixed up.

  30. September 8, 2009

    Yeah, some of the numbers were messed up. I wrote the table over a course of several hours as I cleaned my house. I should know better than to take breaks from doing statistical stuff since you forget where you were and the numbers get all jumbled in the brain.

    Thanks for checking my work, guys and gals.

  31. Kxevin
    September 8, 2009

    Pretty dead on the news front today, folks.

    –Getafe talked to Guardiola in 2008, which somehow got Telephoned into “Guardiola could have coached Getafe!!!!”

    –Robinho is rumored to be on the outs at Citeh, benched, say some sources. Might explain his “Boy, ain’t Barcelona a pretty club, city, sewage system. I even bought a Guardiola caganer.”

    –BANGS has said to Tuttosport “Who the hell knows how the Interistas will treat me upon my return. They might boo until they vomit, like some guy plans to do in November at the Camp Nou, or throw flares at me. Who knows?”

    –Hleb is still being a whiny little douche.

  32. Helge
    September 8, 2009

    Ah, damn it… 408 leads to 17:44 minutes as a sub but it doesn’t sum up to 1885 with the 1447… I surrender 🙂

    [if it is supposed to be 438, it is 19:… minutes as a sub, and if 408 is correct, the ratio is actually 185:30 minutes per goal – 1855 total minutes in 07-08]

    Ah, now I found the next mistake 😀

    make it 1477 min. as a starter and 408 as a sub, then all the data should be correct 😉

  33. eklavya
    September 8, 2009

    Thats what happens to Isaiah when he tries NOT to put decimals… 🙂

  34. September 8, 2009

    yeah, seriously eklavya.

    Helge, I’ll go through my math again and edit it.

  35. September 8, 2009

    It was 1477 minutes as a starter, not 1447. Damn you stupid fingers/brain.

  36. ElShowDeJason
    September 8, 2009

    Hey, can we name the random guy in the banner?

    I like the name Aliaksandr. We don’t know why he is here, and we don’t know what the hell he is doing. We just kinda got used to him being around.

  37. Kxevin
    September 8, 2009

    Keita is saying that that he’s a better player for us this year (duh!), something that we’ve all been noticing at any rate. I didn’t realize that he was 29 years old, I must confess.

    “I’m better now than I was last year,” said the Malian midfielder who will not be playing in the World Cup. “I’m more suited to the team’s style of play.”

  38. Tutomate
    September 8, 2009

    Jason I know what he is doing, he is taking a constipated dump.

  39. September 8, 2009

    Wow im still at shock that yall are not at the offside anymore.But nice work nun the less.Always enjoy the reads.

    On the Bojan case i bet he is going to surprise us all this season.Although not be a “9” he is still smart with the ball and link well with Messi.He might even pull Ibra and his own weight this season…………

  40. Tajh
    September 8, 2009

    I have a question…
    Would Barca vs Getafe match be shown live on saturday???

    if so espn or goltv???

  41. Kxevin
    September 8, 2009

    Mario, you ain’t seen nothing yet. 😀

  42. Tajh
    September 8, 2009

    Btw it looks like Internazionale vs Barcelona game wouldn’t be live…im not sure

  43. September 9, 2009

    I’d point out that one goal every 188 minutes is equivalent to roughly a goal every other game, which is a highly enviable scoring record.

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