The penultimate fixture of the first round of fixtures in the Championship sees Coventry travel to the Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon in what will be Sunderland’s first game back in the second flight of English football.
Sunderland finally managed to return to the Championship last season after four years in League 1. In doing so, they sacked manager Lee Johnson and brought in the experienced Alex Neil, who has had spells at Norwich and Preston in recent years. He managed to rejuvenate the squad and players and only lost one of his 18 games in charge last season. A key part of this was Scottish striker Ross Stewart who scored was top scorer with 24 goals and 2 vital goals in the playoffs. However, they have lost prolific Everton loanee Nathan Broadhead who has returned to his parent club who scored 10 goals in only 15 starts. However, they have managed to replace him with Ellis Simms on loan who has impressed at Blackpool earlier in his career and is now making the step up to Championship level. He is in line to make his debut on Sunday and Alex Neil will hope he can hit the ground running.
Coventry have now been back in the second division for two seasons and ended up being play-off contenders in 2021/22. They started last year particularly well and were in the top six for most of the first half of the season before they fell off towards the end of the season and only won two of their last 10. They have also managed to keep their key players including Viktor Gyokeres and Gustavo Hamer as well as highly rated manager Mark Robins. For now, they have also kept Callum O’Hare although he has been linked with a move away to Burnley but will be available on Sunday. Given that much of the squad is the same, there is a question mark over Coventry and ultimately, the worry is that they might start this season as they finished last.
Both Teams to Score
A big part of Sunderland’s success last year was their home record – where they only lost four games all season. In doing so, they averaged over two goals scored per game including three 5-0s and a 5-1. However, they were susceptible to conceding and even in their 13-game unbeaten record to end the season, they saw both teams score in five of their seven home games – only failing to do concede against Gillingham and Crewe who were both relegated.
Coventry’s away record was fairly strong last season – only losing eight games and scoring the fifth most of any team on the road with 28. However, they did concede 56% of their goals away from home. In their last 14 away games, they conceded in 13 and both teams scored in 11 of those.
Given Sunderland’s impressive home record, Coventry’s experience, and the strike forces of the two teams with Stewart and Simms facing Gyokeres and Matt Godden, backing both teams to score seems sensible.
Ross Stewart to have 1+ Shot on Target
Ross Stewart was Sunderland’s main man last season and was top scorer across the division. He averaged almost 3 shots per game, and over 43% of his shots were on target. He had 44 shots in the 18 games that Neil was in charge and managed a shot on target in 11 of those games. He also managed two in seven of those 18 games (39%) and I would not discourage you from including this in your bet builders if you wanted better odds.
Alex Pritchard to have 2+ Shots
Alex Pritchard was really allowed freedom when Alex Neil came in and this is shown by his number of shots in comparison to when Lee Johnson was in charge. He missed some games with injuries but managed 36 shots in 1071 minutes of football since February which equates to over 3 shots per 90 minutes. He also managed 2 shots or more in 11 of the 14 games (one of which was a substitute appearance). Whilst he managed 11 shots on target in these games, 7 of those came across two games so there may not be value in the shots on target market for Pritchard.
Viktor Gyokeres to have 1+ Shots on Target
Viktor Gyokeres was a surprise star for Coventry two seasons ago after a failed loan at Swansea and he carried that form into last season. He took 136 shots last season, having at least one in every appearance – even off the bench. He only failed to take 2 shots four times in 45 games and two of those games were from the bench where he played less than 30 minutes. He also managed 5 or more shots in seven games.
Gyokeres was also very accurate with these shots, with 62 shots on target across the season. In his 41 starts, he had a shot on target in 35 of those and in away fixtures, he hit the target at least once in 17 of 19 starts. These stats may be why Coventry have seemingly priced him out of a move by putting a £25 million price tag on his head and they will do everything in their power to keep him and hope that he can fire them into the playoffs this season as their main man once again.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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How to watch Sunderland vs Coventry in the Championship
📅 When is Sunderland vs Coventry? / Sunday 31st July 2022, 12:00
🏟 Where is Sunderland vs Coventry? / The Stadium of Light (Sunderland)
📺 What TV channel is Sunderland vs Coventry on? / Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Football
🟨 …And who is the referee for Sunderland vs Coventry? / D. Bond 🏴