José Ángel Gómez Campaña, more commonly known as José Campaña, is a Spanish football player who is playing at Levante in La Liga and has done so with great efficiency in both attacking and defending phases for the team.
He is a player who has played at various leagues in his career and has a lot of experience to give his team. On the pitch, he is a solution in midfield and among the most influential players in the lineup during the team’s games.
Through this tactical analysis, we will try to review what the Spanish player has provided tactically and statistically for his team this season.
Jose Campana is a versatile player within coach Paco López’s plans, who prefers to play in a 4-4-2 manner with two defensive midfielders and Campana one of the pivots. Generally, he has two roles – he is either positioned in front of the two core defenders for additional support, or he has the freedom to advance and support the offensive phase, as we will see in the following examples.
Here we can notice his position covering the depth of the field as he is in the control of Sergio Canals, man-marking the opposition’s player to prevent the direct passing through the central channels.
Besides that, he can play on both flanks and does so with great intensity and power to move across the pitch, both vertically and horizontally from midfield, as we can see in his heatmap below.
Here we can notice José’s movement, whether from the deeper areas of the field or on the flanks, especially on the right side where he played eight matches while he participated as a left-winger in four. On 25 occasions, however, he was in deeper positions on the field.
Campaña has a clear influence in the attacking strength of his team, as he has contributed to making goals many times and scoring twice.
José had a great influence on Levante’s attacking tactics, whether in scoring or assisting to get the goals, and has an expected goals (xG) rate up to 2.50 this season, managing to score two goals in the Spanish league, and that happened because of his vertical movements to the opponent’s area.
His various roles in midfield made him a good option for his teammates to get the pass in the half-spaces and inside the penalty area, as we will see in the next example.
We can see when the ball was with Borja Mayoral on the left side, he enters the penalty area of Barcelona through vertical movement to penetrate the space behind Clément Lenglet.
Here is where his sharpness in the final third is best seen. With good decision-making and ensuring he is an option for his teammates, he exploited the space immediately when Barcelona lost the ball.
But that is not his only strength as his style of play in advanced areas of the pitch is one of the great advantages of having him in the team. Campaña is arguably the most important player in the squad and has recorded 74 key passes, as well as 43 passes inside the opponent’s penalty area last season.
Besides that, Campaña had seven assists which decided many points for the team, with an expected assist (xA) value of 0.19 per game. This comes mostly from his direct and vertical passes towards the forwards, as we will see in the next examples.
Here we see his distinctive vision and communication with Borja Mayoral as he played the line-breaking pass, creating a 1 v 1 situation for him with the goalkeeper. And this is because he moves horizontally and goes to the top of the left side and confronts Sergi Roberto.
Campaña requests the ball from Borja among many Real Betis players, creating space for the free players from his team to play the ball directly and breaking the opponent’s defensive lines and their collective pressure.
A direct vertical pass broke Betis’ lines, and José moved his teammate José Luis Morales to an isolated situation that enabled him to score the goal. The important point, however, is not only the pass but the steps that Campaña took forward to be able to pass the ball amid the blockade of the opponent’s players.
But Campaña’s ability on the ball is such that it requires a much closer look in the following section of our tactical analysis.
Campaña on the ball
José has great ability on the ball, especially when he returns to the first third of the field to support the process of building play and moving the ball from the back to the front vertically and directly.
With a success rate of 52% in the dribble and his ability to hold the ball and progress it, it made him one of the most important players to connect the lines in the Levante team as will be seen in the following examples.
Here he holds the ball under pressure from Antoine Griezmann who tries to retain possession and prevent the counter-attack or a long pass forward.
After he gets rid of the pressure, he has several solutions to continue the attack and advance quickly towards the Barcelona box because of his ability to protect the ball.
With a 90.2% success rate in passing the ball to his teammates and with his return to the deeper areas where he’s trying to connect the lines and facilitate the exit process with the ball, it made him one of the most vital players in the team during that stage, as we will see during the next example.
Here we notice Campaña’s return to the defensive line in his team during the build-up phase, to stretch the pitch and ease the pressure that occurs from the Barcelona team.
Here we can see his success in getting the ball out on the right side and breaking the pressure from Barcelona on the Levante defence line, due to his great ability to pass correctly.
Campaña’s roles don’t stop there only – he also has a defensive and supportive role for the team when he loses the ball.
Interestingly, Campaña is one of the most important players in the defensive shape of coach López, especially when the team loses the ball in the final third, and they apply the high pressure to get it back immediately.
Campaña, who has a success rate of 52.7% in the defensive duels, is one of the players constantly present in the coach’s squad in midfield regardless of where he is stationed, as he is important to the team in the defensive situation in all its stages, as we will see in the next examples.
Here we can see that José is stationed at the right end of the picture, and he is watching the ball while Roberto is waiting for Griezmann to change the sides with a pass to use the space behind Levante’s left-back.
Here he was able to cut the ball and divert the attack from his team’s area to start a quick counter-attack towards Barcelona.
Campaña was able to recover 52 balls in the final third last season, which helps greatly in the return of possession for his team and the creation of danger in the opponent’s areas.
Here we can see his touches in that dangerous area, where there were 24 of them in zone 14, which makes him completely facing the opponent’s goal.
Here when the ball was with Marc-André ter Stegen, we notice the pressure of the Levante team vertically and trying to reduce the chances of passing, while Campaña is present and ready to pressure Nélson Semedo, who stands without supervision on the left side.
Campaña cuts the ball and immediately started a dangerous attack after he was able to intercept the pass before it reached Semedo, due to his good positioning and following of the ball.
He proved to be a great possibility in defensive situations with the Levante team and was influential in the offensive side, but he has some potential problems, especially when he has the ball.
His potential issue
Campaña is great, but he has the potential problem of losing the ball easily in attack, which allows counter-attacking opportunities for the opposite team.
José lost 353 balls during the previous season, including 149 in the middle third and 131 in the final third. These numbers may cause problems, especially since he sometimes had solutions to pass to colleagues and that didn’t happen, as we will see in the next scene.
Here we notice that when he possesses the ball, he has solutions to pass, whether vertical or horizontal, but his delay in that caused him to lose the ball so that Real Madrid would go on a counterattack. Of course, it was a 3 v 3 situation but he had another opponent which was the touch-line as an additional man to Real Madrid.
Here he remained high after losing the ball in the front areas, while he had to go to pressure one of Real Madrid’s players, specifically Lucas Vázquez, and cover the rise of the left-back.
Campaña is among the experienced players and has played in multiple levels and more than one league, whether the English with Crystal Palace or the Italians with Sampdoria and many other teams, and in this analysis we tried to show that he still has things to work on.
In this scout report, we saw Campaña’s attacking power, his style with the ball, and his defensive capabilities along with some points that must be improved. He is an excellent player and one crucial for Levante’s system and he will likely to remain such a prominent figure in the team for as long as he stays with them.
We’ll see what the future holds for this incredible player.