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Player Analysis - Callum O'Hare

English, 23-year-old attacking midfielder.

O'Hare started 40 Championship games and appeared in 6 more from the bench.

3,596 minutes played.

- Second only to Dom Hyam in both games and minutes.

3 goals. 8 assists.

Whoscored.com gives O'Hare a season rating of 6.69. 7th best in the squad.


Position

O'Hare is almost exclusively a #10, but often seems to have freedom across the field. His role within the line-up has changed throughout the season.


Expectations, based on an overall analysis of Coventry's style of play.

Connect the team with the forwards. Create goal scoring opportunities

Play in the space between defenders and midfielders.

- Most fouled in the Championship - 116 times.

Hold the ball, bring the rest of the team forward.

- 66 successful dribbles (6th in the Championship)


Strengths

Holding the ball.

Dribbling at defenders and into spaces.

Movement, with and without the ball, as well as in/out of possession.


Weaknesses

Loss of possession, in particular the final pass.

Scoring goals.


Opinion

Opinion on O'Hare has been mixed this season. A traditional #10 is 'expected' to have more assists and to score more goals. Yet, the Coventry team changed several times, with the role that O'Hare fulfilling adjusting each time also.


A quick comparison for the traditionalist. Benchmark - Buendia (NOR) had 16 assists from right forward, the most in the Championship. Also had 15 goals.

Olise (REA) had 12 assists and played more centrally.

Wilson (CAR), who also plays internationally for Wales, had 9 goals and 11 assists.

Now consider, O'Hare played in a mid-table Coventry team with just 49 goals and a top scorer (Walker) with 7.


When Coventry played with a single striker, it would result in more direct play because the system was set up to counter the opponent. In particular, the game versus Norwich at St.Andrews shows the preference to set up with a compact midfield and deep defensive line. It results in an isolated Walker and O'Hare being bypassed a lot.


When Coventry did get on the ball with the single striker, O'Hare became the main focal point to help build the attack. The disconnect is very clear in this picture and goes some way to explain the loss of possession and foul count on O'Hare.


Playing with two strikers proved to be a better system for O'Hare. With two strikers (Godden and Walker here) O'Hare is able to connect with the rest of the team and bring them forward. This proved to be essential in this victory over Stoke. O'Hare's movement attracts the central midfielders, creating central space for Hamer/James and also supporting and combining with the advancing fullbacks. You can also see how much O'Hare gets around the field, providing width, but would also drop deep.


In another huge game for Coventry, you can see the two strikers pinning the Rotherham defensive line back, allowing O'Hare space to play between the lines.


However, when Coventry went more direct, O'Hare often went missing, as in this image.

McNair for Boro covered O'Hare so that any chance knockdown was secured. This type of game does not suit O'Hare's strengths but instead can isolate some weaknesses around maintaining possession. O'Hare is better suited to flair play, and moving/combining/breaking lines. So opponents do well to turn the game more direct and scrappy.


O'Hare ranks third in creativity in the Coventry team, behind Hamer and James. Of course, the focus is on keeping Hamer and retaining James for the 21-22 season, but O'Hare should be kept very close. I think you could place him in any of those top teams and see his productivity numbers jump significantly. A lack of assists is a sticking point, but rewatch games from this season and see how many chances the front line squandered after excellent buildup play from O'Hare.


Here you see such an opportunity that comes from James connecting with O'Hare who again is between the lines with two strikers ahead of him. The ball slipped in for Walker resulted in the penalty, but a highlight of O'Hare's ability to play forward and connect with two strikers.


One of the constant praises for O'Hare is the eye test of 'work rate. We can pursuit stats for distance covered or ball recoveries, but the momentum that O'Hare adds to the game and for Coventry is impressive. Here you see an image of constant O'Hare behavior - pressing. He is often the first defender attempting to win the ball back or affect the opponent's counter-attack.


Because he is so tireless, Coventry fair better with a second striker. O'Hare pursuits the ball and finds himself deep, like in this image, often resulting in an isolated striker struggling to get on the ball or get Coventry forward.


Lastly, the final sticking point is O'Hare's finishing. He has shown that there is some wonderful talent that can be nurtured, but there is some work to be done on finishing. He is often in front of goal, or around the goal and opportunities, like the one presented versus Reading early on cannot be squandered for Coventry to push on in 21-22 season.

With a season of experience for both Robins and the team, I think we should see more forward play that will get O'Hare on the ball in the right places, and not receiving with 2 defenders on halfway. If not, we're wasting his talent by asking him to perform a role (chase, harass, opportunistic) that does not highlight his strengths. This, and a consistent strike partnership ahead of him.

Stats from whoscored.com and @EFLStats @SBETactical

@SkyBluesExtra @LeeDunneSoccer