Talking Tactics | Coventry City v Swansea City
Swansea City bounced back from their 2-1 loss at Birmingham with a comfortable 3-0 win over relegation candidates Peterborough at the weekend. However, they face a stern test in midweek as they make the trip to Coventry in a bid to make it four wins from their last five.
Ahead of this one, WhoScored.com preview Tuesday's game, including what to expect from Coventry, the key battle and a key stat.
What to expect from Coventry
Having beaten the drop by 12 points, Coventry have sought to build upon their successful return to the Championship and, coming into the midweek round of games, sit fourth in the table.
The Sky Blues have made a superb start to the campaign and are currently just five points off the automatic promotion spots. A run of two wins from six suggests a minor wobble, but one of those victories came against promotion hopefuls Fulham at home, so Coventry are clearly dangerous opponents.
Like so many in the divison, Coventry use a three-man backline as Mark Robins seeks to have his wing-backs provide the width for the Sky Blues. The main aim, though, is to get key attacker Callum O'Hare on the ball where he can do damage in the final third. Robins favours a 3-4-1-2 setup and this is ideal for O'Hare.
The 23-year-old ranks first for assists (3), key passes (2.1) and dribbles per game (1.7) of all Coventry players this season, two of those assists of which have been for former Swans man Viktor Gyokeres.
We don't necessarily see the wing-backs used with the same regularity as other teams in the division, but rather to cause dummy runs to free up space for O'Hare to work his magic.
Coventry's three most used centre-backs and two central midfielders make up the top five for passes per game at the club and with 25% of their attacks coming through the middle, there is an onus to play up field through the midfield before allowing O'Hare to wreak havoc in the final third. Cutting out these passing lanes, then, is of the utmost importance if Swansea are to come away from the Coventry Building Society Arena with a positive result.
No team has earned more points in home matches than Coventry (19) in the Championship this season, with Derby last weekend the first side to claim a result at Coventry, so Swansea certainly have their work cut out in midweek.
Only a handful of teams have scored more home goals than Coventry (15) in the Championship this season, so the defence is going to have to be on top form in order to secure a clean sheet on Tuesday night. However, Ryan Manning, who featured sporadically last season, has impressed since coming into the side and has adjusted to his new role in a back three with aplomb.
A WhoScored.com rating of 6.77 is the best of all Swansea defenders in the Championship this season as Manning continues to grow into his role as the left side centre-back. That hasn't seen his attacking influence diminish, with Manning providing an assist in each of his last three league outings - no player made more assists than the 25-year-old in October - yet he'll need to be at his defensive best to ensure Gyokeres is unable to add to his nine league goals in midweek.
The Swede failed to score a league goal during his loan stint with Swansea, but has started the campaign brightly.
That being said, the goals have dried up for Gyokeres lately. A blank against Hull extended his goalless run to four games, though a brace against Fulham prior to the October international break proved just how effective he is in front of goal. Despite a dip in form, the Swans backline can't afford to not keep tabs on the 23-year-old.
Across the last eight meetings between Swansea and Coventry, the Sky Blues have only scored three league goals and have failed to win any of those matches.
The Swans have kept a clean sheet in five of the last seven meetings between the pair and considering only Bournemouth (9) have kept more clean sheets than Swansea (8) in England's second tier this term, Russell Martin's side will be looking to continue that form and shut Coventry out in midweek.