Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Coventry City

19th August 2023
First team
Josh Key against Bristol Rovers

After a narrow defeat to West Bromwich Albion in their last Championship fixture, Swansea return home to take on a buoyant Coventry side, who come into the game on the back of a 3-0 victory over Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough.

Ahead of the action, preview the contest between the Swans and the Sky Blues, taking a look at what to expect from Coventry, the key battle and a key stat.

What to expect from Coventry

Coventry manager Mark Robins wears club coat while watching his team

Coventry missed out on promotion to the Premier League in heartbreaking fashion last season. They were beaten on penalties by Luton Town and defeat meant another year in the Championship for Mark Robins’ side.

It’s been a transfer window of change for the Midlands club, who have said their goodbyes to Viktor Gyokeres and Gustavo Hamer, two of their best performers from last season.

That said, they have reinvested some of the funds with the arrivals of Haji Wright, from Antalyspor, and Ellis Simms, from Everton, amongst others.

So far this season, today’s visitors were beaten in a close-fought fixtures on the opening weekend against Leicester City thanks to two goals from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. They were then dumped out of the EFL Carabao Cup by AFC Wimbledon before emphatically beating Middlesbrough 3-0 in their most recent outing.

According to the strengths and weakness of the visitors, Coventry tend to weight their attacks down their left flank, while they are not shy when it comes to getting efforts on goal, which points to an entertaining tussle.

Key Battle

Josh Key West Brom away

The calculated strengths and weaknesses for these two sides suggest Coventry will pose a big threat from set pieces.

The visitors are deemed strong from both attacking and defensive set-pieces. Coventry currently top the league for goals scored from set-pieces this season, albeit we are only two games in, with two. 

Swansea know this all too well, as when these sides met in their 3-3 thriller in December last year, Jonathan  Panzo put Coventry ahead with a goal directly from a corner and the Swans will be hoping that they don’t see a repeat of that when these sides meet this weekend. 

But, under the guidance of Michael Duff, this Swansea side is a different proposition to the one from back in December and so this fixture is likely to be an interesting one. 

More recently, Josh Key has been a bright spark for the Swans since signing from Exeter City in the summer. In his first two starts in the Championship he has looked comfortable with the ball at his feet and has justified his strength of dribbling, having completed six so far this season, ranking him joint-third in the league for the metric.

He’s been Swansea’s top dribbler too with no other player making more than one successful dribble so far in the campaign. 

Ben Sheaf will be a vital part of the Coventry midfield looking to stop Key, and it promises to be a strong match up  given Sheaf has been Coventry’s best player so far this season with a rating of 7.54.

Sheaf is also the league’s top tackler so far with a total of 14 successful tackles in the opening two fixtures.

However, Coventry were dribbled past the second most times in the league last season (396) and Key and co will be hoping to exploit that this time out. 

Key stat

Harry Darling goal

In the 2022-23 Championship season, these sides had grealty differing tackle averages. Coventry topped the charts for tackles per game in the league with 19 per game, whilst Swansea were 23rd in the league with just 13.7. Only last week’s opponents, West Brom (13.1), made fewer tackles per game than the Swans. 

Both sides were treated to a high level of goals last season with Coventry ranked seventh with 58 and Swansea fifth (68). That should come as no surprise with Coventry’s Viktor Gyokeres notching 21 goals last campaign, the second highest of any player, and Joel Piroe scoring 19 league goals.