Plymouth Argyle suffered a torrid month, winning none and avoiding defeat in only one match as they slumped to the bottom of the table.

Player of the month archive

How we calculate the score

Each player receives a match rating from 1-10 and one player from each match receives a man of the match bonus. The players are scored by a variety of of individuals who have witnessed every match this season. The scores are aggregated and weighted against the number of appearances, before the man of the match bonus is added.

Player of the Month: Matt Macey (9.99)

Once again, Matt Macey tops the rankings following another disappointing month for Argyle. There was little doubt that Macey would be awarded the title for August as a result of some solid goalkeeping performances, but in September those standards slipped.

In particular, his kicking accuracy nosedived from 33.3% last month to 20.5% this, despite averaging roughly the same number of kicks per-90. More worrying, his ability to handle crosses also decreased: the percentage he successfully attacked dropped from 90.0% to 85.0%, while the percentage he caught outright dropped from 80.0% to 62.5%.

His best quality throughout the month was the one most associated with a goalkeeper: shot stopping. His 1-v-1 save record increased from 33.3% to 40.0% and he prevented one of the two penalties he faced, while his save percentage held steady, dropping just one-percent to 66.7%. However, when you examine the goals he conceded throughout the month it’s easy to see how the rate at which he conceded them increased.

Just as in August Macey was left woefully unprotected: in each month, slightly more than a fifth of all shots at Argyle’s goal were taken with no defenders directly between the attacker and Macey; like in August just under half of these shots resulted in goals, resulting in seven in both. However, the real difference was in the location of the shots he faced. 15.8% of the shots he faced came from inside the six-yard box, a massive increase from 5.26% last month.

Ultimately, Macey just about deserves to win the award for the second consecutive month, however this was far more a result of process of elimination than last time around. To have any hope of winning it again, he will certainly have to improve his kicking consistency and ability to deal with crosses.

2nd: Graham Carey (9.70)

Like Macey, Carey also features in the top three once more, though this again seems to be through process of elimination. However, when you break his performances down, you can see how he pulled ahead of others in September. Against Portsmouth, his introduction alongside Lameiras enabled Argyle to finally create some attacking pressure, even if it failed to yeild any results; against Blackpool and Bristol Rovers he put in decent first-half performances before stepping up a level once further attacking players were introduced, coming close to scoring the winner in the latter; finally, he scored in the final two matches of the month while putting in his best performance against Charlton.

Again, he created more chances (5) than any other player,  and at a higher rate (1.00 per-90). Only Ruben Lameiras completed dribbles more frequently than Carey (3.81 per-90), while no other attacker had a better dribbled:tackled ratio (1.27:1). Ending the month as Argyle’ top scorer, throughout September he had the highest shot accuracy (61.5%) and conversion rates (15.4%).

While there is still little doubt that Carey is nowhere near the peak of his abilities, in the last month it cannot be said that he isn’t trying. Indeed, just like the rest of the team, he is suffering from a midfield lacking authority and ability, often necessitating he carry the ball further and beat more players before arriving in a position to threaten the opposition goal.

3rd: Ryan Edwards (9.57)

After being harshly dropped following the second game of the season, Edwards was re-introduced to Argyle’s defence following the 5-1 mauling at home to Peterborough and put in a few good displays as the defence tightened things up somewhat.

Three may have been conceded in both his first two matches, against Championship Millwall and current table-toppers Portsmouth, but Edwards does not deserve much blame for those scorelines. For the most part, he put up a decent rearguard effort, averaging more defensive actions than any other defender (19.1 per-90), including more than blocked shots than anyone else (1.06).

Though he did not score, his aerial threat from set pieces provided Argyle with an attacking threat during a month in which they often lacked one: only Carey took more shots than Edwards (10), of which 40% hit the target.

The biggest mark against Edwards in September was definitely the handful of lapses in concentration that cost Argyle. Averaging an error every 198 minutes, the two that proved costly came against Millwall and Charlton. In the former, he was caught out by Tom Elliott, who controlled a long ball in the box before being pulled to the ground – a challenge that could have resulted in a red card – and in the latter he completely failed to see the danger building as Grant tapped in the winner unmarked from yards out.

Young Player of the Month: Alex Battle (19, WG)

Following a month in which the U18s struggled, a trio of reserves take the top spots for Argyle’s Young Player of the Month. However, it is Alex Battle who comes out on top following a series of outstanding performances across a variety of competitions. Averaging a goal or an assist every 90.1 minutes, in many matches he was the main creative force as the reserves climbed to the summit of the SWPL, while he put in an excellent performance against Portsmouth as Argyle progressed to the group stages of the U23 Premier League Cup.

Other nominees:

Alex Fletcher (19, ST)

Alex number 2, Fletcher also had a stellar month as he netted a goal every 68.3 minutes, scoring seven times in total. His increased presence in the first team towards the end of September meant he featured less frequently than others, but his performances up to that point were more than good enough to justify his place here.

Cameron Sangster (18, CM)

Sangster’s long-term injury this week comes as dreadful news for the young midfielder, as his performance levels in reserve competitions have been consistently high – high enough to recently earn him a call-up to the first team. His controlling presence in the heart of Argyle’s midfield, alongside Dan Rooney, has been a major factor in the side’s strong performances this season, and without that duo it will be no surprise if performance levels drop as a result.

Author: Nick Saunders Smith

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