There were concerns initially around the line-up and only playing one up top. I'll show you why I think it worked in the first half. Only the first half.
2 clear chances within 5 minutes.
- Hamer within one minute and then Biamou just minutes later.
- Biamou slashing it high and wide.
2 clear chances after that also.
- A ball across the goal from O’Hare after combo from Dabo and Biamou. ANOTHER chance.
- Biamou bad touch from through ball.
Coventry's approach to the game shifted as the half progressed. It was clear early that playing into the feet of Biamou would be an issue:
The weakness that Coventry began to exploit was the space behind the Wycombe defensive line. Coventry looked to exploit this in two ways:
McCallum checks, instead of taking off into the width. This draws Wycombe, and McCarthy the RB out.
Biamou pulls out, O'Hare takes the central space and looks for the long ball into the channel. You can see Gape screening the back line, as he did for most of the game, preventing any real central success.
Dabo had similar success down the right side before his injury.
The second comes in two parts, so you might say three ways overall. Yet, the setup feels the same. It's toe to toe centrally. It's certainly ugly but it looks like this:
From this particular moment, Biamou took off with a flick-on from O'Hare and is able to steal the ball away to win a freekick on the corner of the box. Coventry looked to bring Wycombe forward with these moments of chaos and exploit behind.
The second part would be to exploit the width with McCallum as you can see the Wycombe back four condensed and exposed down the Coventry left.
It worked because it gave Coventry 60% of the ball, four good moments on goal, and more attempted passes in the middle of the field. Coventry were on top. Whereas Wycombe offered very little in the first half.
Wycombe shape with back 4, (Biamou had just chased the ball down to the GK) and a 2-3 in front. Knight would also move from the holding two to a more advanced position, but look how condensed Wycombe make the field.
The constant Wycombe threat was Ikpeazu. Either in the air or into his feet. Wycombe seems synonymous with a strong target man and Ikpeazu is exactly that. There were a few moments for Wycombe, including a cross that flashed across the goal, and they all came from finding, and combining, with Ikpeazu.
I'll wrap up the first half action by noting Biamou. His impact has been significant as of late. He is heavily involved and doing everything we really need him to do. He constantly gets the ball or works hard to impact a moment in the game, but wastes too many chances. He needs a striker partner, or if Robins remains with one striker, he might need to sit for a game or two. Coventry needs goals.
Coventry dealt with pretty much everything Wycombe threw at them. In this moment, you can see Muskwe trying to break the Coventry line, but the organization for Coventry was a constant that made covering and picking off passes relatively easy.
Coventry lost Kelly to another injury and adjusted the shape. It went lop-sided given the outlet wide would be DaCosta and McCallum and no direct left-winger with O'Hare, underneath Walker and Biamou.
Wycombe mounting pressure.
However, the chances came as the game opened up, beginning from the moment above. Wilson finally made his first meaningful save of the game on 83. Several good chances for Wycombe came in the final 10 minutes when you thought anything might happen.
Did Coventry show up?
See the heat map (whoscored.com). Look at the distinct lack of goal threat from Coventry.
Coventry became more predictable in their forward play and continued to try to play through Biamou, who was matched up against Stewart. Stewart was arguably the stand-out performer (especially after Biamou missed the sitter he gifted him) for Wycombe today and Coventry really struggled to get into the spaces they did in the first half.
This game went pretty much like the game on Tuesday. Coventry started strong with excellent opportunities to score and squander them. Yet, there is a lack of invention coming from substitutions and in-game tactics to impact a very obvious, stale attack.
It's not a loss, but it's more wasted chances and points dropped from a very good opportunity.