FC Barcelona: What Is It About February?

"Don't worry Dani. February is over now" - Jasper Juinen

Ever since Pep Guardiola took charge, Barcelona have struggled for form in February. I take a look through the history books to try and figure out why before posing the question: does anything really need to be done?

While there are still two more days to go in the month for everyone else, February is over from a FC Barcelona perspective anyway, so I figured it’s about time someone crunched the numbers and found out: just what is it about February? Ever since Pep Guardiola took over in the summer of 2008, Barcelona have typically struggled for form in this retched month, although at first glance, one might wonder what all the fuss is about.

Barcelona’s Overall Record in February (2009-Present)

Played

Won

Draw

Loss

2013

6

3

1

2

2012

7

5

1

1

2011

6

4

1

1

2010

5

3

1

1

2009

6

3

2

1


However, when placed into context, Barcelona’s February struggles really become apparent. Aside from 2011 and 2012 which passed relatively incident-free, Barcelona’s win percentage typically takes a huge hit; with the 2013 statistics standing out as an all-time low. While that might be the case, one may notice that the Blaugrana also won half their February matches back in 2009 – the very year that they won an unprecedented six trophies...

Barcelona’s Win Percentage in February (2009-Present)

Win Percentage

Season Win Percentage

2013

50%

76%

2012

71%

73%

2011

67%

73%

2010

60%

76%

2009

50%

68%


So, if we know Barcelona struggle in February, can we pin-point an exact reason behind their loss of form? Looking at the numbers of goals scored and conceded shows a similar trend: aside from 2011 and 2012, Barcelona have struggled to assert their dominance over the opposition and again, just look at the similarities between 2009 and 2013. Granted, the two records aren’t completely the same, but there is certainly a passing resemblance between the two years.

Barcelona’s Goals Scored/Conceded Record in February (2009-Present)

Goals Scored

Goals Conceded

Goal Difference

2013

12

9

+3

2012

17

8

+9

2011

13

4

+9

2010

10

5

+5

2009

11

7

+4


However, that is where the similarities end. Back in 2009, Barcelona had an all-conquering triumvirate in attack; now, one might argue that their attack begins and ends with Lionel Messi. As each year passes, the statistics tend to indicate that the Blaugrana have become more and more reliant on the Argentine superstar; to the extent that they struggle when he’s off-form. AC Milan recognised this; Real Madrid acknowledged it too – both to great effect. Messi was scoreless against both sides and as a result, the Blaugrana couldn’t get the job done. Does that mean we should blame Messi? Far from it, but clearly something must be done in future to alleviate the pressure on his shoulders –and who knows, maybe Neymar is the solution.

Lionel Messi’s February Record (2009-Present)

Goals by Messi

Goals as a % of Overall

Win % Without Messi Scoring

2013

5

42%

0%

2012

7

41%

33%

2011

5

38%

33%

2010

2

20%

33%

2009

2

18%

80%

Regardless of these statistics, Barcelona didn’t overcome the February blues by radically changing their system. Sure, it can be tough to watch the team perform like this, but now is not the time for snap decisions. With just a few days to prepare for the next Clasico, there quite simply isn’t enough time to implement a new system, or whatever it is that some people are suggesting. Rest assured, Barcelona always bounce back in March.


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