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Coventry City vs Accrington Stanley: EFL League One Match Preview

Coventry City vs Accrington Stanley

The EFL League One match coming up this Saturday, 26 October 2019, between Coventry City F.C. and Accrington Stanley F.C. will take place at St. Andrew's in Birmingham, England. This match looks to favor Coventry on paper, but Accrington has had a habit of playing to the level of their opponents recently, beating Ipswich Town F.C., but losing to Rochdale A.F.C. and Gillingham F.C. in recent weeks. Both clubs come into the match having won just 1 of their past 5 matches. Accrington's most recent result was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of The Gills last Saturday. Coventry comes in off a hard fought 2-2 draw with Peterborough United F.C. last week. In very tight League One early on, these clubs are separated by 12 positions, but just 11 points in the table. Coventry is tied for a league high with 7 draws this season, and are just +2 on goal differential in spite of being 6th in the table. Accy is currently 18th in the table, has a -9 goal differential, and with 14 points, they are just 2 to the good of the relegation line.

In such a tightly contested league, both clubs are desperate for points, but for differing reasons. Coventry currently sits in what would be a promotion playoffs position in the table, but have 4 teams lurking that are just 3 points behind, and 2 additional teams that are just 4 points behind. For Accy, as mentioned above, although they are 3 positions clear of the relegation line, any of those clubs could leapfrog them with 3 points in their next match. For a team like Accrington, who's goal is survival more than it is promotion, lost points at home to lower rung clubs like Gillingham put them in an even more precarious position going forward. Coventry City finished 8th last season, just one place outside of the playoffs, so anything less than a playoff spot for them will be considered a disappointment this season. However, matters are made more difficult for them by having to play their home games in Birmingham due to a rent dispute at their regular home, Ricoh Arena.

Accrington Stanley Logo

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Coventry City vs Accrington Stanley Vital Information

This match can be viewed on Accrington Stanley iFollow in the United States, at 10:00 AM U.S. ET/3:00 PM GMT.

Referee appointments have Ollie Yates as the referee, with assistants Declan Ford and Andrew Aylott, and the fourth official Kevin Morris.

Accrington will have Ross Sykes serving the third game of his 3 game suspension, but forward Courtney Baker-Richardson, who has been out with a hamstring injury is once again available. Coventry will be without the suspended Fankaty Dabo, who is our for yellow card accumulation.

This will be the 5th meeting all time between Accrington Stanley F.C. and Coventry City F.C.. In the previous 4 meetings, Coventry has won 1, Accrington has won 2, and there has been 1 draw. The most recent result was a 1-0 Coventry victory on 2 March 2019 at Accrington. These two clubs had never played each other before 2017, but have met at least once every calendar year since.

Five Points That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

Coventry City FC logo

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Neither one of these clubs has exactly lit the world on fire offensively this season. Coventry's 20 goals scored are the fewest of any team in the top 8 in the table. Matthew Godden was the club's big offseason acquisition, and was leading the team in scoring with 3 goals before injury struck. Godden hasn't played since 13 October, and reports are that he could be out as much as 4 months with a pelvic injury. It is serious enough of an injury that the club is said to be in the market for a striker in the January transfer window. Recently, Amadou Bakayoko has been the main man up front for The Sky Blues. He has 3 goals on the season, with 1 in each of their last two matches against Peterborough and Fleetwood Town F.C.. Their top creator has been Jordan Shipley, who leads the club with 3 assists on the year, and also leads their outfield players in minutes played. The 21-year-old Irishman is already in his third full season as a starter with The Sky Blues.

For Accrington, goals have been even harder to come by, and they have put the onion in the bag just 17 times, through 15 matches. More than a 3rd of Accy's goals have come from forward Colby Bishop, who leads the club with 6. At times this year Bishop has been on a bit of an island, but the return of Baker-Richardson (or CBR) should ease that burden some. Offrande Zanzala has been at his best as an impact player off the bench, and should be able to slot back into that roll with CBR back. Dion Charles shows promise, and has scored 3 goals, but in limited action CBR has looked to be the more polished of the two players. It will ultimately be up to how these players perform over the next 2 months that will determine whether or not Accrington makes a move for another forward in the January transfer window. Joe Pritchard, a talented young midfielder has remained behind veteran Sean McConville on the depth chart so far, but one has to wonder how much longer. McConville was a 15 goal scorer last season, and is one of Accy's most experience players, but he seems to be slowed by a number of nagging injuries this season.

Accrington Stanley vs Liverpool U21

Accrington Stanley vs Liverpool U21 in the EFL Cup. Photo by John Earnshaw.

While the offense has struggled for Accrington recently, outside of the Peterborough game, the defensive end of things have been solid. Ajibola Alese has performed admirably while starter Sykes has been suspended, and is a player who gives them some real depth at the center back position. Loanee Jerome Opoku has arguably been Accrington's player of the year thus far in spite of his starting just 8 games. Almost every time he takes the pitch, he is in discussion for man of the match. At over 6 feet 6 inches tall, he is a physical presence on defense, but in spite of his size might be that fastest player on the team. He also has impressive on the ball skills, has already contributed 2 assists, and with his height, is a huge asset on throw ins. Right now he is on loan through January, and every Accrington fan is holding their breath to see if he can be kept all season. Callum Johnson is another player who continues to impress week in and week out. A former midfielder, he is a guy with above average passing ability for a defender. He is very adept at hitting crosses into the box, and has really made the right back position his own this season.

The Coventry defense has been among the stingiest in the league,  allowing just 18 goals in 15 matches. Goalkeeper Marko Marosi is in his first year with the club, coming over from Doncaster Rovers F.C.. He has been solid this year, with a nearly 65% save percentage, and 6 clean sheets, while starting all 15 matches. The defense in front of him has made his life relatively easy on most afternoons, as he has only seen 51 shots on target against. That works out to just about 3.4 per game, or 10 less than his Accrington counterpart Dimitar Evtimov, who has faced 61 shots in 15 matches. Dabo has been Coventry's leader in minutes played among backfield players, but as mentioned above he will be suspended on Saturday. It is likely that we will see Michael Rose, Kyle McFadzean, and Dominic Hyam start on the backline against Accy. Dabo, Rose, and McFadzean are all in their first year with the club, making this almost a fully rebuilt back line, with only Hyam returning as a regular starter from last season.

Looking at the betting line, I don't see much evidence that the oddsmakers think anything unusual is about to happen in the match. Coventry City is currently 17/20 to win, and at just less than even money is a pretty average number for a favored team at home. Accrington is paying out at 3/1, and the draw is at 5/2. Nothing about any of these lines is particularly eye opening, and points to the bookmakers being relatively confident they will be paying out to those who bet Coventry. It is worth noting that these teams have combined for 12 draws in 30 games played combined, or exactly 40% of their total results. Considering how both clubs have struggled to score, the 5/2 on a draw could quietly be a good value, as I wouldn't be shocked in the least if this ended up being a 0-0 result.

Coventry City Projected Starting XI

Accrington Stanley Project Starting XI

Coventry City vs Accrington Stanley Prediction

With the way these teams have struggled to score, I could very easily see this playing out as a 0-0, or 1-0 outcome. Ultimately though, I think both clubs will find a way to the back of the net at least once. Accrington has pulled off some stranger outcomes, and bigger upsets than this would be, but I think The Sky Blues will hold fort at home. Keep an eye out for Bakayoko to be the danger man for Coventry, and don't be surprised if he nets his 3rd goal in as many games on Saturday.

Prediction: Coventry City - 2       Accrington - 1

About Phil Kennedy

Member of @acrosspitch football/soccer podcast, Accrington Stanley, Phoenix Rising, Arsenal, #OnStanleyOn #UpRising #WeAreTheArsenal @OASSCNA #dontworrybeaccy

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