Coventry's struggles in front of goal continued versus Blackpool, but they still looked very good going forward and made the game far more exciting than it needed to be.
Blackpool played in a 1-4-4-2, whilst Coventry set up with a 1-3-6 (width, and midfield box)-1. This gives Coventry central overloads, but somewhat exposed on the wings and the game played out this way.
Early on Coventry win a knockdown and its a 4v2 centrally:
One of the many positives from this game for Coventry, compared to the Barnsley game, is that Coventry found their strength and continued to utilize it. Here, McFadzean wins the ball and breaks the initial press from Blackpool, leaving midfield pair of James and Ward isolated. The ball found O'Hare a lot early on from the moment above, and this here. McFadzean won 6 aerial challenges in this game, and several allowed him to bring the team forward. The phase of play leads to Gyokeres breaking beyond Keogh and forcing the first real save by Maxwell.
That midfield shape left Blackpool stuck a lot, and with no option but to go longer. Here Blackpool had a chance cleared by Hyam, but slow ball movement allowed Coventry to regroup and pack out the midfield. Ward drops for a short pass, but Connolly (the RB) is under pressure and opts long, instead of central. Coventry cleans up easily.
Coventry dealt with the long ball, for the most part, winning 60% of aerials duels. However, the best chances came from opportunistic play by Lavery. Though he had 5 shots, he missed the target with three. Notably, on 39 minutes, Anderson picked up a loose ball and drove at the Coventry defense. He lays the ball in for Lavery who cut past Clarke-Salter too easily, and in trying to bend his shot in the far corner, he puts it wide.
Blackpool were a constant threat, though Coventry seemed to have the ball a lot. There was the short corner 15, and a wicked cross from a quick throw on 19 that set the tone for Blackpool's intent in this game. There were many chances that Blackpool had that came from Coventry failing to protect the ball better. In this moment, Bowler dribbled 3/4 of the field after a poor Hamer freekick and his cut-back went behind everyone.
An area of concern was that at LCB with Clarke-Salter on his full debut. He was beaten several times too easily and looked off the pace. It might be more noticeable because Maatsen offers such a threat going forward and with more possession, the channels were more exposed behind him. Here, a long ball into that channel exposes Clarke-Salter in a 1v1, leading to a freekick. Foul or not, it was a constant exposure that challenged Clarke-Salter and he needs to get up to speed quickly. This freekick from this foul was tipped over by Moore.
This brings the attention to Simon Moore. Coventry rotated keepers a little last season after questionable performances by both Marosi and Wilson, but there never seemed to be any doubt over Moore in this game.
There are doubts over the speed at the back for Coventry and the ease with which Blackpool sprung behind several times. On 55.27, Allen put the ball wide from a corner. Just 20 seconds later the ball was won from a long kick by Yates, nodding the ball into Lavery's path. It looked ominous for City, but for Moore coming forward and making another excellent block. 5 saves, no mistakes, and a clean sheet behind a defense that allowed him to be tested.
There wouldn't be that pressure on Moore if Coventry could convert. 19 shots. 5 on target. 1 goal from a face. Versus Barnsley it was just 2 on target from 12. This is a real struggle for Coventry and will be the reason players like O'Hare face criticism by some sections of the support. Here O'Hare had 6 shots, 5 were blocked and 1 was off target. I read somewhere that we need to take that ugly with the work away from goal because otherwise he might be snapped away from Coventry.
As an example of the missed chances. Here, Coventry breakaway after winning the ball centrally and Hamer releasing O'Hare. Aside from Dabo trying to catch up, the Coventry front 4 are in a flat line. It's easy for Blackpool to defend/block whatever O'Hare is trying to do. Too many moments like this were wasted by Coventry and, fortunately, in this game, it didn't lose the team points, but on another day Lavery would have 3 - Chances have to be scored.
The game was closer at the end than it needed to be. MR said he felt like he was 75 after that game. It's not enjoyable. It's not fun. However, the SBA support set the standard that Coventry played up to in this game, and although it was a little shaky from 70 onwards as Coventry shifted to defend the lead, it was an excellent and deserved result.
Consistency from Dabo.
Gyokeres shaking off that penalty miss in an emphatic style.
Hyam at RB is nice.
Hamer looks good again.
Sheaf is steady in the middle with that support around him.
Stats from whoscored.com