League One action returned to the theatre of greens this afternoon with the arrival of newly promoted Coventry City. A team with a quick set of forward players was expected to cause problems for the revived Plymouth Argyle however a tactical switch around half time allowed the pilgrims to kick on and collect their 3rd consecutive win in 2019.
Shoot on sight
Argyle have been criticised this season for attempting to walk the ball into the net on numerous occasions. The introduction of Portuguese winger Ruben Lamerias has coincided with the recent increase in goals. Three games have already been played this year with Argyle hitting the back of the net on 8 occasions. This is due to the simple fact that the Argyle are taking more shots. We would not describe the two goals scored against the Sky Blues this Saturday as clear-cut opportunities yet they have found themselves in the back of the net. Argyle are beginning to find more confidence in front of goal and are no longer trying too hard to wait for the perfect opportunity before shooting. The simple factor is, the more you shoot, the more likely you are to score- especially when you have players with the finishing ability of Lameiras at the club.
The partnership of Ryan Edwards and Niall Canavan had left some of the green army baffled due to the lack of pace the two offer. This Saturdays visitors were set to a real test for the brutal partnership as they were set to face the pacey pairing of Chaplin and Hiwula which was likely to cause severe problems for the newly formed duo. The predicted problems were stifled well in the most part as the duo coped with the threat superbly throughout the game. The dangerous front two were unable to carve open many clear cut opportunities during the match and rarely got in behind the Pilgrims back line.
Due to the super pressure provided by the Argyle front line the Coventry defence were forced into punting the ball forward in the hope the front two could break free from the resistant back line, in which they failed to do. The two coped with this aerial bombardment well with Edwards especially dealing with it superbly. They also managed to eradicate the danger from set piece delivery, despite the moment of magic from former Pompey man Connor Chaplin, allowing there to be little not no threat caused from corners and free kicks which resulted in a cross.
Half-Time tactical switch
During the first half it was clear that Coventry came with the mindset to maintain possession and frustrate the Argyle midfield by starving them of the ball for long spells of the first 45. The Sky Blue back line maintained the ball from just outside their box which resulted in the most advanced of the midfield three to be tempted into pressuring the back line which subsequently followed in them being dragged out of position. This resulted in the Coventry midfield being allowed to progress 40 odd yards up the pitch without having to worry about anyone putting a tackle in.
Sky Blue youngster Tom Bayliss exploited this with great effect and nearly punished the Pilgrims on numerous occasions throughout the first half. Whilst the Argyle defence was solid, the midfield was being opened up a little too often. It was clear to see that this was causing Argyle problems which resulted in the tactical switch at half time. The switch allowed the Pilgrims to form a concrete platform to build off. The midfield remained in position throughout the half with the wingers clearly being instructed to pressure the backline which resulted in the Coventry back line having to play down the wings instead of through the middle which was much less effective. This tactical switch allowed Argyle to null Coventry’s threat and allow us to maintain possession of the ball more often.
A marmite like footballer: he’s someone who can produce moments of madness, as well as moments of magic which can leave the green army perplexed as to quite how the Cameroonian has managed to make the blocks he does. Some people believe that Songo’o weakens Argyle going forward due to his lack of technical ability but you cannot argue what he offers for the team defensively is nothing short of superb, especially when the players around him aren’t sitting back. The defensive solidity he provides when we are protecting a lead is vital in Argyle’s quest to survive relegation. The former Ross County man could barley walk off the pitch this afternoon due to the distance he ran throughout.