Coventry City improved on their 16th place finish in 2020-21 by finishing in the 12th position in 2021-22. Still, it may go down as a lost opportunity as the Sky Blues were challenging for a top-six spot in the middle part of the season. Coventry let in 59 goals, the joint eighth-worst record, along with QPR. To challenge for a top-six spot once again, the Sky Blues will need to bring in a defender. One of the defenders who had a breakthrough campaign was Alex Cochrane in the Scottish Premiership for Heart of Midlothian. Here, we will see why the Englishman could be the left-back Coventry City need for their promotion push.
Cochrane played for Heart of Midlothian, also called Hearts, in the 2021-22 Scottish Premiership season on loan from Brighton. He played 31 games for 2,371 minutes of game-time. He scored twice and assisted thrice, meaning he was involved in a goal every 474 minutes. The Englishman was very much involved in the build-up play of Hearts as he averaged 42 passes per 90 at an accuracy of 77.31%. He also attempted 6.58 passes into the final third per 90, though his pass accuracy in that category was a disappointing 47.57%. He made just over one progressive run per 90, nearly two and a half crosses per 90 and 6.41 long balls per 90.
As shown in the above heat map, Cochrane was an active player on the left-hand side of the pitch. He was more involved in his half than in the opposition’s half but nonetheless, he advanced forward and made overlapping runs when needed. Throughout the season, Cochrane delivered 93 crosses into the box or an average of three crosses per game.
Displayed above is the location of duels won by Cochrane in the Scottish Premiership. The majority of the duels the Englishman won were ground-based defending duels, with far fewer winning aerial duels and 50/50s. Most of them came on the left wing and in his half.
The above map shows the pass sonar, xT timeline and xT map of Cochrane for Hearts in the 2021-22 Scottish Premiership season. The Englishman frequently created an xT value of 1.0 or greater and occasionally, even touched 2.0. Unsurprisingly, most of this came from the left flank in the final third. His sideways passes and crosses into the penalty box generated significant threats.
Alex Cochrane is set to join Coventry City ahead of the 2022-23 EFL Championship season. Judging by the last season in Scotland, it looks like he would walk into the starting XI of the Sky Blues and perform right away.