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Coventry City 0-0 Huddersfield Town

8 games unbeaten, but the players look tired. They looked worn at 70+ minutes in the game today. The game opened up somewhat, but it failed to really give us any true goal-mouth excitement, due to tiredness, but also because shots came from a distance, if at all.

The game started with the same Coventry issues for building out against the high press, and failing to really get a hold of the ball to maximize the midfield dominance that was opted for, instead of the fan-base favorite 'two up top'.

The first image shows how Coventry looked favorable, given man: man defending and pressing to force a long ball, but the situation quickly favors Huddersfield

You see that over-pressing leaves the Coventry defense isolated, even though a long ball was predictable. Huddersfield was not so focused on keeping possession from play like this and opted for more direct attacks, which rarely resulted in many opportunities, minus the open goal, but tight angle miss.

Succesful Coventry moves, and a reason I would line-up as Robins has done (without two strikers), is when Coventry has controlled possession and move the ball when the opportunity is presented, and not when Huddersfield was set to press. The first image shows Sheaf deeper and supporting Ostigaard in a 2v1. Importantly, Hamer and Allen are positioned higher and holding the Huddersfield midfielders with them. In image two, Hamer creates space to receive the ball and Allen reacts by stretching the field and taking the third midfielder with him. You don't see O'Hare, who was closer to Walker, and completed what often looked like a diamond midfield.

More successful build-ups came with a somewhat unorthodox shape, but one that works with safe possession. With McFadzean holding, Hyam can move forward with the ball. The midfield shape is similar to the above, and you can see the benefit of the shape with the second image.

O'Hare eventually received the ball and was fouled, but Hamer used the advantage to attack. Note the unorthodox shape as a 3-6-1. McCallum and Dabo pushing forward, central midfield 'secure', but we still have the issue of an isolated striker.

The isolated striker is exemplified by Gus Hamer's stats. 4 out 5 of Coventry's shots were from Hamer, from the edge of the box, or further back. Callum O'Hare was often the closest to Walker, and Biamou when he joined the game, but the longer ball attacks often lacked any real threat. They do allow Coventry to press up the field to defend a resulting throw-in or negative pass from recovering defenders, so there is an element of invasion that favors Coventry. However, it leads to much frustration on Twitter as to why not have a second striker that could help Coventry maintain possession further up the field.

This game was all about Gustavo Hamer and why the approach worked to dominate the midfield, and the level he has on the field. He stands out by seemingly doing everything better. Splitting lines with passes, beaking lines with runs, and he tries to score with long-range headers! See the example of the splitting passes he plays, which could be better supported with two strikers, I believe.

Hamer will undoubtedly be missed this coming weekend, but we knew the early games would come back to haunt us as he charged around the field getting used to playing in the Championship and kicking people as his comfort blanket.

For future games, we could afford to lose a central midfielder In order to push a second player to striker because of Hamer's ability. It could limit the freedom that Hamer has, but one that could benefit Coventry as it has done in previous games. A game like this could have been won after a tweak at half time.

So, takeaways. With no other player like Hamer to control basically everything and Kelly out for a million years, it seems, then I would expect two up top and a longer, more forceful approach to the game versus Sheffield Wednesday. I wouldn't expect to see Godden, but instead opting for Biamou and Walker together, Baka maybe? 1-3-5-2 and be hard to beat. We're missing the core of the team for a game, and whilst we cannot be unbeaten forever, we can continue as we have done and be hard to beat. A point is better than a loss, which is what we might have expected earlier on the season as we banged our head on the wall. We're a smaller fish, for now, so we'll take it and use it to our advantage.


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