Top of the table Plymouth Argyle arrive in E10 on a eight match unbeaten run, seeing them shoot to the summit of League 2. Argyle suffered heartache in May losing 2-0 in the League Two play off final to AFC Wimbledon but have their sights set on automatic promotion. After three defeats in their opening three games to Luton (3-0), Carlisle (1-0) and Reading (3-0), playoff heartbreak was at the back of their mind as they looked to go one better this season.
- 2 point lead over second placed Portsmouth
- League Record- P9 W6 D1 L2 F11 A7
- Away Record – P4 W3 D0 L1 F5 A2
- Won their last three away matches
Since those three consecutive defeats, Argyle went on a seven match winning run sending them top of League Two. Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Hartlepool continued their unbeaten run as Jake Jervis rescued a point with a penalty six minutes from time.
- No team in the top four leagues in England has taken more points in the League since 14th August than Plymouth – 19 from a possible 21 available.
Derek Adams on Saturday draw with Hartlepool (pafc.co.uk)
“We probably didn’t pass the ball quick enough with the precision that we can. We found it difficult to get that goal, we eventually get a penalty and score. Today we have to take the point, move on and keeps the unbeaten record going”.
With a summer of looking back at what could have been, manager Derek Adams brought in 14 players in search of a return to the third tier of English Football. After a poor start, a 2-1 victory at Notts County kick started their season with defensive stability being at the fore front for Argyle. Despite being the joint lowest scorers in the top half (11), their joint best defensive record has ensure that Plymouth have won 6 games this season.
- 4 clean sheets in the last 7 games, including their last two away games
- Have the joint most clean sheets in the league with Portsmouth (4)
- Only conceded 2 goals in their 4 away league games
With three of their next four games away from home, it is key for Jervis that everybody in the squad is ready to come into the side. Speaking after the draw on Saturday to http://www.pafc.co.uk “there has been a tough run of games and we are going into another one now. We have a big squad so we can rotate, players need to be ready to come in and play”.
Jervis has not started the last three matches but after netting the equaliser is pushing for a recall tomorrow night, “I am not going to sit on my laurels and sulk. I will push forward looking to get back in the team, players should be happy when winning games whether playing or coming on. Everybody wants to get promotion, everyone is aiming for”.
A key for Argyle on their unbeaten league run has been a settled core of players with only a few changes made to the side. Keeper Luke McCormick, center halves Nauris Bulvitis and Sonny Bradley, midfielder Yann Songo’o and playmaker Graham Carey have started the last 7 league matches.
Adams has rotated the two full backs, the second deep midfielder and three of the four most advanced players to keep his side fresh and raring for action. In the last three games, 10 of the 11 starters have played all three with the only change coming in attack with David Goodwillie replacing Arnold Garita who missed out through injury.
Team last time out
Plymouth started with a traditional 4-2-3-1 formation with the three men behind the forward David Goodwillie, interlinking and changing positions. However Argyle fell behind in the 21st minute a looping Nathan Thomas cross. Plymouth then found it hard to break down Pool throughout the game. Adams made two substitutions at half time bringing on Connor Smith and Jake Jervis for Yann Songo’o and Jordan Slew.
Still trailing at the hour mark, Adam threw on Jimmy Spencer to partner David Goodwillie as his side went more direct playing 4-4-2 with Carey switching flanks to the left. The change worked as Spencer was fouled with six minutes remaining as Jervis slotted home from the spot to earn a point.
Argyle like to play a passing brand of football however Adams felt on Saturday that his side became too predictable “We have got to mix our game up at times, we probably could have gone more direct at times. We tried to pass the ball too many times, they had players in positions that were easy to defend. We didn’t do enough, we put the ball in behind and we got the opportunity”
When playing the 4-2-3-1 formation, the two wide men of the attacking three: Graham Carey and Jordan Slew play on the non traditional side. Allowing them to cut in onto their more dominant foot to create shooting chances. The ability to cut in on to their more dominant foot creates nervousness in their opposition full back as he is turned on to his weaker foot.
All of the attacking trio have the ability to carry the ball forward and take on defenders.
This tactic has already been beneficial for Plymouth with 3 of their 11 goals coming with the winger cutting in from his flank to score, including 2 of their last 5.
Carey has netted all three of these goals, from his position cutting in and either shooting or being found from a cut back.
The attacking three: Carey, Tanner and Slew have either scored or been involved in 7 of Plymouth 11 League goals and 4 of their last 5.
Plymouth can be very dangerous from any set piece whether it be a corner or free kick. With the delivery of Graham Carey, one of the most potent in the League, Plymouth will always pose a threat from the dead ball. 4 of their 11 goals have been from set pieces with two from corners. One was a short corner which Orient should be weary off having been undone by one at home to Yeovil.
Graham Carey, Argyle’s play maker however do not discount the ability of the attacking threats that Plymouth have at their disposal. Carey has netted 4 goals this term, including 2 of their last 5 goals in the league. All of his goals have been scored in the first half, with the winger opening the scoring in three separate matches for his side.
Orient should be well aware of threat that Carey can pose from dead ball situations having assisted two goals in Argyle’s 3-1 victory at Brisbane Road in April. In fact 3 of the 4 goals Plymouth netted last season were from set pieces.
Since the start of last season – Carey has scored 15 league goals and assisted 14 goals – being directly involved in 29 of Plymouth’s 83 goals scored – 35%
- 4 of Argyle’s 6 wins have been by just 1 goal
- Plymouth have scored in their last 8 games, scoring at least 2 in five of them
- 7 of their 11 League goals have come in the first half, with 6 coming in the opening 30 minutes – joint most in the league
- Have won all six games they have scored first in
- Have won 10 of their last 12 when scoring first – W10 D1 L1 – defeat away at Exeter (02/04/16 – 2-1)
- Since the start of last season Argyle have won 27 of the last 32 games they have scored first in – P32 W27 D3 L2
- In 2016 – 42 of their 51 points have been when they have scored the opening goal
- Lost 3 of their last 4 when conceding first
- Only won 1 of their last 12 when conceding first – W1 D3 L8 – victory came in 2-1 win at Portsmouth (16/04/16)
- Only taken 14 points from the last 63 available when conceding first – W3 D5 L13
Manager’s Thoughts on the Game
After Andy Hessenthaler left Leyton Orient this morning, Derek Adams insisted “it doesn’t change our thinking, their assistant manager has taken over, it is never a nice thing to happen this early in the season”.
Speaking to pafc.co.uk on Monday, Adams is relishing the trip back to Brisbane Road after their 3-1 success their in April, “we have performed very well this season and we want to continue that. We had a great result their last time, it is important we go there push them back and bit pressure on them”.
Adams suggested that the stadium and conditions could hold significance to his team selection tomorrow night, “it is a beautiful stadium and the playing surface is great, which the players will enjoy. It is important that we have players on the pitch who can pass and move the ball quickly”.
With three wins on the bounce away from home, the game plan will not change tomorrow according Adams, “we go away from home contain them, then put the pressure on ourselves. We need to pass well, create opportunities then take them. Orient are a team that do like to play direct and we will have to deal with that” He added “to have 19 points from the first 9 games is fantastic and we want to continue that, we need to keep probing and pushing, if we do that we will score a lot of goals”.