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Swansea City 1-0 Coventry City

Before the game there was talk of the same line-up and the concern would be Coventry's ability to get forward given Swansea's use of width. It would also be dependent upon taking the chances that might come our way.

Not much.

Swansea created chances when exploiting Coventry's mistakes, yet only hit the target twice from eleven shots. One of course was the goal. There weren't really moments that Swansea carved for themselves, but there were warnings of what a better side they were:

Here you can see an opportunity for Swansea in the channel, but only after winning the ball centrally. Hamer looked off the pace with weak fouls in this game, and not much control. He is the player on the ground having lost the fight which lead to Dhanda feeding Roberts in behind McCallum. Note how high Swansea are in this moment.

Coventry set up to press as they did versus Brentford. They played slightly differently, either using the centerback right next to the goal keeper, or floating the ball into midfield. Below, you can see the short pass went to Cabango, who then released Naughton down the flank. The issue for Coventry here is that Naughton is the right centerback, meaning the right wingback, Roberts is much higher and behind Coventry's press.

And just eight seconds later you can see the overload at the back has transitioned to an even number attack as Swansea push forard to play off of Lowe. The resulting knockdown was shot wide by Ayew.

The Swansea goal came from a header inside the 6. It was chaos and you could argue Wilson is blocked off, or that he should have really committed to winning the ball, but this is the difference between Swansea pushing for promotion and Coventry fighting to stay up. Goals win games!


Coventry on the other hand. With only 8 shots and only 1 on target, the stats tell the story and with the chances that did come and were missed, if one of those were on target then Coventry might have stolen a point.

Earlier on, Coventry looked longer, as they did versus Brentford. However, Swansea set up for it. The image below shows McFadzean on the ball with Swansea sitting and covering easy outlets, inviting the long ball. Swansea won 24 aerial duels in this game, mostly in the areas where the long ball was hit. They prepared for this type of approach and dealt with it.

McFadzean again on the ball, clealry see's there is no forward option with opportunity. As he dribbles forward, you can see he takes Lowe and Ayew out of the game, and instantly comes up against a deep and compact Swansea line, and his forward search eventually ends up in a loss of possession.

I have highlighted Coventry's shape several times this season, and it was notable with Giles and his extreme width, but here you can see McCallum staying narrow. Even though Bidwell is deeper and McCallum ahs space to attack.

As pressure set in to try and get a goal when 1-0 down, Coventry dropped deeper to try and play forward. The pass count in our defnesive third increased again (81) as Coventry sought to bring Swansea forward and leave gaps that could be exploited.

However, you can see just how well Swansea controlled what Coventry did. Hamer on the ball, Walker is checking in, with pressure behind, and is completely isolated behind the line of 3 Swansea players. The ball went into him and it was lost. There was very little rotation out of these moments from Coventry, due in part to a desire to go forward, but also because Swansea made it so difficult to go anywhere.

Swansea Control.

Yet, compare the above attack with Swansea positionally controlling possession and overloading Coventry. Lowe, the striker has switched with Grimes in this moment, who is now pinning McCallum deep. Dhanda, the #10 is still occupying the center of the field and Ayew is a constant issue with his positioning. Importantly, Guehi, the left centerback is into the midfield. All the while Swansea have three around the ball and are comfortable in possession.

A lack of control.

Compare again with the shape of Swansea and see how Coventry have failed to fill the space that has been left by Gyokeres dropping to receive the ball. Coventry had the overload and were beginning to control this moment. Swansea had moved closer, leaving space to exploit, but the switch was too predictable without such rotation and the turnover resulted in Lowe putting the ball wide.

Coventry crossed the ball 22 times in this game. McCallum, and eventually Dabo, were able to get forward at times, but the Swansea were very good. They won every header inside their box, minus the flashing header of McCallum in the 92nd minute. There was one opportunity on 86 minutes that dropped to McFadzean through a crowd and he couldn't arrange himself to capitalize.

Biamou flashed it wide in the first half. He dribbled and tipped it with his right before missing wide with his left. McFadz put that difficult chance wide. Walker had a knockdown on 94 and blazed it over. Coventry have the chances to score, and although nothing was clearcut, they were chances that could have edged a point.

All in all, Swansea were a better team. Robins said that Coventry were the better team, but we did what Swansea let us do for the most part. Cooper had them well prepared and they handled Coventry with relative ease.

So, after all, it's as we were in the table, but ahead of us, the gap is growing. Now it seems that's more about staying above below as opposed to catching those ahead. A 'nice' schedule ahead, but I will argue the pressure is even higher because they are true rival games.


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