Player Analysis - Maxime Biamou
French, 30-year-old striker.
Has started 6 Championship games, and appeared in 9 more from the bench.
754 minutes played.
Whoscored.com gives Biamou a varied season rating which will be explored further on.
Although Robins did play him on the left wing for a brief stint, Biamou is a striker and plays as a single target man, or with a strike partner in a two.
Expectations, based on an overall analysis of Coventry's style of play.
Be the target man to hold-up and allow the midfield to join the attack.
Win fouls when isolated.
Disrupt organized defenders to get attempts on goal - 76% of shots this season have come from central areas.
Initiate the press and make play as predictable as possible.
To play alongside and create space for a strike partner.
Has a 7.25 rating when starting with a strike partner, but that drops to 6.29 when appearing as a substitute.
Plays well with others. Has performed best when playing alongside a second striker, which has often been Walker.
Goal scoring from 1.4 shots per game. Just two goals in the league and an assist. It is also noteworthy that Giroud did not score at the 2018 World Cup, but had an SPG of 1.8.
Ability to impact a game as a single striker or as a substitute.
Can Biamou lead the team? Godden pulling up again against Milwall, having been rushed back into the starting line-up answers this question, I think.
Recently in the league versus Milwall, Biamou had three shots on goal. The game was much closer than it needed to be, due in part to opportunities missed, and three missed attempts will add avoidable pressure:
5 attempts on goal in the FA Cup versus Norwich last time out, including an excellent chance in the opening minute. Whilst every goal changes the game, Coventry set up to be hard to beat against opponents like Norwich, so chances have to be taken, especially in the FA Cup when financial rewards are on the line. Granted, Barden the keeper did have an MoM performance for Norwich with some excellent saves from Biamou, but goals win games! Below is another right after the start of the second half. Another good save, but the odds are with Biamou here.
However, I think there is more to this than 'can Biamou score some goals'.
Tactics - the line-up and approach to games has tended to change from game to game this season, after the early stubbornness to stick to what we know (which was likely to allow new players to bed into the "city way").
Playing in a pair, as he has done with Walker, seems to have suited him the most. See the image below. He has pulled wide to combine with Dabo, leaving the central space for Walker. Dabo, Hamer, and Kelly have joined the attack, but there is a spearhead to the attack, which is Walker. This chance flashed wide.
Yet, as a lone striker, it condenses the game when trying to build out.
It can work further up the field, but the support is not the same in comparison to the second striker. Here you can see Shipley, who was playing as the #10, taking on the central space versus five defenders, and only Dabo for deeper support.
Does another striker do it for us? Biamou has never been a prolific goal scorer. In League Two you might say he was, in League One he had 8 goals. A lack of goals might explain why Biamou is still with Coventry without any extra attention from elsewhere. However, in the right setup, he can be effective by winning flick-ons and headers for the runner in behind, as you saw with the Walker connection.
The lack of goals from the chances that Biamou has had means he needs more support and to play in a formation and set up that compliments his game, which is with a goal-scoring strike partner. That player can take on higher positions and chances in front of goal that Biamou's checking and receiving can create. The in-demand Hamer would benefit from two forward outlets also. O'Hare might find more success underneath two strikers too. For the second striker, Godden of course, but Walker deserves a shot when fit. Failing that, I might give Shipley the nod to play with him more if the injury crisis continues, or the new Gyokeres, who will hopefully find some goal scoring shoes for the remainder of the season. This doesn't mean that the team should be built around Biamou, but I think to get the best out of him, and maybe the team in tighter games against a stronger opponent it might work. a 3-4-1-2 or variation thereof might complement his strengths and benefit the second striker significantly.
To finish out, Biamou is often leading the press for Coventry. This is an ugly demand, especially as Coventry find themselves often against opponents who can keep the ball just as well, if not better. His pressing does well in making play predictable, as you see in the image example from the Watford game. His positioning encourages the team forward and helps to make play predictable as Watford, like most teams, look to play as far from the press as possible.
What do you think? Let me know.