I never thought I would write about Barcelona to be honest. So many people before have written about this club, but I thought that writing about their ‘B’ team would be quite interesting as they aren’t operating in a top 5 league, and it’s always good to see whether talents do well in a league that is full of senior players.
I will look more closely to how Barcelona B creates chances from zone 14 and I’m doing that by looking at video fragments of those chances in the 2021/2022 season in the Segunda Division B in Spain.
What is zone 14 and why is it important to many analysts? Spielverlagerung does explain it rather nicely:
“On a pitch divided into a six-by-three grid with a central strip as wide as the six yard box, the Zone 14, also called The Hole, has been classified as the rectangle which helps teams score more goals. Zone 14 is the zone located in the middle of the pitch immediately outside the opposing penalty area. During the 1990s and early 2000s, statistical data showed that successful teams such as the World Cup winning team of France or 1999 Champions League winner Manchester United had a better performance in Zone 14, as it was the key area which produced vast majority of passing assist. Until today, some prefer the concept of using Zone 14 as a target area in terms of build-up play, mostly denying the use of cross passes. According to various studies, the most effective way to use Zone 14 is to play a pass into the penalty area. Plus, the phase of possession in Zone 14 should not take longer than eight seconds.”
I like to look at zone 14 when I analyse teams. Not so much because I value zone 14 a lot, but I find it interesting to see which teams use that zone a lot and try to create goalscoring opportunities from there.
Chance creation: shooting
In the image above you see the pitch divided into 14 zones, which has been generated from InStat. In the current season, Barcelona B has created 82 chances, all of them in the final third. AS you can see chances have been created on the flanks, a stagger 71 chances within the penalty area and 7 have been created in that zone 14, we spoke about above. 8,54% of the chances were created from zone 14 and that’s what we are analysing in the next segment.
In the 3 videos above you can see how Barcelona B does shoot from zone 14. They often come in the situations by pressing the defenders, making sure that timing and place of the pressing is accurate, and regainin possession of the ball. In doing so they have 2-3 players in and around zone 14, which makes it easier to shoot from these locations. As you can see in the 3 videos above, the Barcelona outfit is quite successful when doing so in zone 14.
Zone 14 chance creation: passing
In the image above you can see the passes to the penalty area by Barcelona B per zone – this is a 14 zone grid. We see that the most passes come from the flanks, with 129 passes coming from the left and 102 passes from the right. As I’ve stated, I’m only interested in the zone 14 passes. In total there are 364 passes into the penalty area with 30 coming from zone 14, which is a percentage of 8,24%. Which is almost the same as the percentage for shots from zone 14.
What Barcelona B does very well in passing to the penalty area from zone 14 are two things. The first thing is that they want to dominate control of the ball in zone 14. They keep it in possession and try to play short passes within that zone to maintain control of the ball. The second thing they do well is that they try to look for that through ball or key pass that sets the attacking players up for a 1v1 or a good angle to shoot from. This isn’t always successful, but the intention is there and that’s why zone 14 can be very helpful in creating goalscoring opportunities.
The main reason for creating this rather short article is to look at how Barcelona B does in zone 14 with chance creation. This is a very descriptive and quite obvious article, but it can also help in getting links. How do you use event data in combination with videos to analyse certain patterns of play? How do you contextualise and visualise chance creation?