Coventry v Bournemouth | Friday 2nd October 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Your Friday night televised viewing comes from St Andrew’s as Coventry face Bournemouth under the floodlights. Both clubs will be relatively pleased with how they have started their respective Championship campaigns, and therefore three points will be targeted to make it an even better start four games in.
The Sky Blues experienced a tight clash at Oakwell last weekend when coming away from Barnsley with a 0-0 draw, a game which manager Mark Robins described as fairly scrappy, but was pleased to take a point away from home. Bournemouth maintained their unbeaten start when defeating another fellow relegated club, Norwich City, at home, thanks to a first half strike from the tricky Arnaut Danjuma.
We’ll crack straight into Friday’s game and instantly I noticed that Bournemouth have been put into favourites at around the 11/10 mark. Naturally that puts me off right away as I personally am not a fan of backing any Championship club away from home at a price like that.
Sure, Bournemouth on paper are a stronger team and are the more likely to contest promotion, but they’ve been involved in very close matches so far and could easily not be unbeaten as things stand.
On the other hand, we have a Coventry side that are still settled into this level. That is understandable considering their League One campaign essentially finished some months ago, and they’ve therefore only played a handful of competitive matches since lockdown ended several months ago. I expect them to adopt a positive approach here, and will very much go in search of three points.
Another reason that I am not going to pile into backing the away team here is that Bournemouth are seemingly playing quite an open style of play. That is typified by the fact that they’re conceded an average of 15.3 shots on goal, which is the third-highest in the league. That is somewhat surprising considering they are indeed unbeaten. Only Huddersfield and Wycombe have allowed more, and they’ve just one victory between them.
Such a big part of Coventry’s success last season was being organised off the ball and tough to break down. Clearly that will be harder to achieve at a higher level, but they’ve conceded five games fewer on average per game compared to the Cherries.
Focusing on offensive matters, it may surprise some to see Coventry ranked as high as fifth in the Championship in relation to average shots on goal. Bournemouth are only roughly a shot below this, but it just shows that Coventry will indeed offer quite a significant threat in attack here, and for all that Coventry will have to be careful of Bournemouth’s attack, that applies in the other direction, too.
One area I am a little concerned about is that Coventry have shipped two goals on set pieces already – the joint-most in the league, and Bournemouth have netted two goals via this route; the third-highest. So the visitors could look to exploit the ‘home’ team in that regard.
Nevertheless, I’m still happy to jump on the Asian handicap route and back Coventry +0.25 at an odds-against price of 26/25 (Bet365). I think over 90 minutes there is not a lot at all between these two teams, and now the injury situation with Coventry is beginning to improve that can only be viewed as a positive.
Coventry v Bournemouth – Coventry +0.25 Asian Handicap (26/25 Bet365)