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Coventry City 0-0 Birmingham City

In an effort to surprise Birmingham, the formation changed for City into 1-4-5-1. On paper it should work well, allowing Hamer and Shipley to play higher, bringing Kelly into the fold and holding the shape of the team together, but it lacked width with the personnel filling the 5.

A line-up lacking width with no outward wingers in the game would mean a game plan for setting up to control the tempo and possession. This is a game Coventry would have gone into with an expectation of a result and explains the line-up with expected control. You could see this early on as Coventry played mostly within the Birmingham half, allowing Kelly to get on the ball and push players in behind the midfield line. Shipley and O'Hare took up advanced positions which would provide support to an otherwise isolated Walker:

The issue then comes, as it has done all season, with leaving center backs isolated and needing to play more hopeful, risky type passes. 5 centrally, as it really worked out, should provide enough overloads for Coventry to play through a relatively low press as you saw from Birmingham. However, a common trend was to get up the field, without the ball, waiting for these types of passes to break the Birmingham press, and this pass resulted in McCallum getting hit in the air and winning a freekick. Not the ideal way to build up, but also not ideal for an isolated full back to win a header:

As the first half wore on, Coventry failed to really break Birmingham down in any meaningful way. Here is a moment of transition (left image) and Sheaf playing square to Hamer, with space ahead of him and 6 Birmingham players ahead of the ball. The right image is 9 seconds later and the wall of Birmingham, players we faced often. Dabo has the ball, looking forward but the 5 Coventry players in the picture are either in a flat line or have a shadow, moving away from goal, hence not really threatening.

According to Birmingham had no significant strengths or style of play in this game, yet they will likely feel the most frustrated at leaving with just a point. Jutkiewicz was a threat and in both halves would have backed himself to score the chances he missed. Birmingham would also push up when they had the ball looking to play in one defined way. This meant pushing Coventry backward by attacking with a front 4. The arrow shows the ball, for Colin, the RB, and how it pins McCallum back. Marosi easily picks this up, but the demand on the Coventry full-backs to then get forward and join the attack is too much. So, Coventry wasting possession resulted in the attacking trend of Birmingham pinning Coventry's outlet players deeper.

The images show the resulting pinning back of Coventry's outlet players (McCallum and Dabo), which resulted in long balls to an isolated Walker and inevitable turnovers as the only real chance he created was with his chin: