On Sunday 31st July, Sunderland played their first EFL Championship match in over five seasons as they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light against Coventry City. Jack Clarke put the Black Cats ahead in the 12th minute. However, six minutes from the end, Viktor Gyokores equalized for the visitors.
Both teams opted to use the 3-4-1-2 formation in this game. For Sunderland, Anthony Patterson started in goal, and he had a back three of Daniel Ballard, Danny Batth and Dennis Cirkin. The midfield trio consisted of Corry Evans, Daniel Neill and Elliott Embleton, the latter being the advanced man. Lyndon Gooch and Jack Clarke were the wing-backs, and upfront were two strikers in the form of Alex Pritchard and Ross Stewart. For Coventry, Simon Moore was the man between the sticks and guarding him were Dominic Hyam, Kyle McFadzean and Jonathan Panzo in defence. The three midfielders in the centre were Jamie Allen, Ben Sheaf and Gustavo Hamer. Acting as wing-backs/wide midfielders were Josh Eccles and Jake Bidwell. The striker pair was Matt Godden and Viktor Gyokores.
Coventry City had more possession (59%) as well as higher xG (1.22). Sunderland’s xG in this game was 0.76, so they slightly overperformed on it.
For nearly the first 80 minutes, Sunderland used the 3-4-1-2 formation, after which they shifted to a 4-1-4-1 for the last 10 minutes.
Coventry used 3-4-1-2 from the start till the 73rd minute. For the last 17 minutes, the team switched to a back four and played in 4-2-3-1, with substitute Tyler Walker as the lone striker.
Despite having lesser xG than the visitors, Sunderland had more shots on target. Their only goal of the game came in the 10th minute through Jack Clarke, who placed the ball in the left corner.
Coventry City generated a higher xG than the hosts but failed to capitalise on a few big chances to win the game. Gyokores spared them defeat as he equalized six minutes from time with a strike into the bottom right corner.
Sunderland were more threatening through the left-hand side of the pitch even though most of their attacks came through the centre.
As per xG, Coventry City’s attacks through the middle produced more threats than from either flank.
Gooch completed both of Sunderland’s successful crosses in this match.
Coventry completed four crosses, with Bidwell making three and Gyokores completing the other. Their crossing success rate for 19 attempted crosses was 21%.
Sunderland attempted 95 defensive duels, with nearly half of them coming in the midfield. Ballard and Batth won nine each, followed by Jack Clarke, who won eight.
Coventry attempted 61 defensive duels in this game and half of these came in the defensive third. Sheaf won six duels, followed by Hyam, who won five. Bidwell and Panzo won four each.
For Sunderland, Jack Clarke won all four aerial duels that he contested. Cirkin also won all the aerial battles he fought (three).
Sheaf won three aerial duels for Coventry City. Panzo, Godden, Dabo and Hyam were the others who won aerial duels.
Both teams will look back on this match as a missed opportunity for a victory. Sunderland will look for their first win when they travel to Bristol City on 6th August. Meanwhile, Coventry City host Rotherham United on 7th August.
Visuals by Wyscout