Huddersfield Town 1-1 Coventry City
Another goal after the 90th minute. Another 'comeback' to demonstrate the fight and desire of this exciting team. However, it wasn't really a game that Coventry can celebrate as a 'win' like the Bournemouth game.
Coventry ended the game with 22 shots on goal. 12 of them were on target. The ball was crossed in 31 times, mostly by Kane. Nicholls, the Huddersfield GK earned a man of the match award with 11 shots, keeping Coventry out until the very end.
Coventry set up with Gyokeres on the bench and Godden alone. It concerns some of the fanbase, of course, with expectations higher and wanting to 'go for it' every game, but there is always logic behind Robin's decision. With a box-midfield against a 1-4-3-3, Coventry were able to prevent any real successful possession with more bodies around the ball. Here O'Brien receives the ball centrally between O'Hare and Godden. As he looks forward he has limited options ahead and Coventry intercept the ball easily.
The setup is very assuming with a box-midfield, but it provides flexibility and an unpredictable press. Allen, top of the picture can press high on Lee's, or hold to cover Holmes. Godden can make play predictable. Here, Nicholls plays a predictable pass into O'Brien who misses the ball and O'Hare steals it away. Having just conceded, Coventry could have equalized, but the attempted chip was weak and easily saved. O'Hare also managed to miss one later on from 8 yards out.
Huddersfield struggled to have an impact on the game outside of the midfield. 2/3 of their first half passes were in the middle third and this image shows the dominance of the Coventry shape. Koroma has to check inside to receive the ball and help Huddersfield build-out.
Whilst the Coventry press was successful in breaking up the Huddersfield attack, it failed in high-press moments. The image above shows weakness down the Coventry left with an overload versus Dabo and Rose. The same situation then arose moments later, and lead to the goal. As Coventry aggressively shift to press, O'Brien holds space and is found with a simple pass that breaks the Coventry box. O'Brien shifts it on to Toffolo and his cross finds Ward on the edge of the box to make it 1-0. Arguably against the run of play, but a well-worked goal that exposed Coventry.
31 crosses in the game came from calculated build-up, as you see here. With possession centrally, Coventry have O'Hare and Allen between the lines and Godden pins the center backs deeper. With Dabo and Kane pushing forward, 1v1's wide are the opportunity.
Unfortunately for Coventry, it was an excellent first half with 60% possession. It was controlled well with the shape. It was unfortunate because a swift and precise attack from Huddersfield highlighted Coventry's woe's in front of goal.
It seemed like it was would be more of the same into the second half, but Huddersfield hit the post inside 46 mins. Then Allen hit the post at the other end and the game was alive. However, the Coventry crosses became predictable to the point that Huddersfield would put bodies behind the ball and defend. Note. the targets for O'Hare - Kane, Dabo, Allen, and Godden. Godden of course scores the equalizer with a header, but this game needed Walker for a more aerial presence.
The change came for Coventry and Sheaf was withdrawn, as Coventry go with two strikers, relinquishing dominance of the midfield shape. The compromise was to have two strikers pushing forward resulting in 9 chances on goal for Coventry in the final 20 minutes. The game became more direct for Coventry, as you see Kelly holding the midfield with 6 players ahead of the ball looking to attack.
The goal came from chaos, but also dominance from Coventry as Huddersfield attempted to hold out. Kane retrieves Nicholls' long punch and lays the ball to Jones. Walker (left circle) occupies both Lees and Pearson. Colwill is isolated between Kelly and Godden. Much like the Huddersfield goal, it felt opportunistic but it was also deserved for Coventry.
Though it's another excellent result from a position that might have seen Coventry give up last year, it masks' the goal-scoring woes for Coventry. Godden is leading the line right now and doing so well, but if chances are taken, like the early O'Hare steal then isolated goals from opponents won't lead to the scramble and need for 93rd minute equalizers. 1 win in 6 could easily be 3/4/5 wins in 6 with ruthless execution.
But of course, now we're getting greedy!
Stats from @whoscored