It was a rough away game for Plymouth Argyle against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park. Argyle were consistently on the back foot and struggled to get any real momentum going as a first half Yann Songo’o own goal sealed the victory for the home side.
Fearing The Beast
I was shot down a few years back when I suggested signing Adebayo Akinfenwa. Now I’m starting to think I may have been onto something; at least just to stop him playing against us. We have problems every time we face the journeyman forward: see his substitute appearance at Home Park earlier this season. I stand by my statement I made earlier this season; he is the greatest substitute option in the football league. Though he started at the weekend, his outings are limited by his stamina, though he is incredibly effective when he is on the field of play. He blends raw physicality with clever technique that often goes unnoticed as a result of the former. Strength will only get you so far, yet Akinfenwa consistently pops up in the right place at the right time, with excellent positioning and a solid touch on the ball. And Argyle couldn’t get anywhere near him. Canavan seemed to play him better in the second half, but the damage had already been done. Adams should put in a loan bid for Akinfenwa, just a week long, and make him stand next to the back four just to show them that he’s not really that scary.
Excusing Wycombe’s Antics?
Wycombe have built up a reputation over the last five or so years, especially among Argyle fans, as cheats or time-wasters. The fact is that Wycombe are excellent game managers and bend the rules to increase their chance at victory. Until officials or maybe even some higher-ups take any action against it, it will continue to plight the game as we know it. Feigning injuries, taking as much time as possible and other tools of the “dark arts” are easily exploitable and go relatively unpunished in the modern game. Wycombe take full advantage of it, and fair play to them. We have played them enough times now to know how it goes and I think the window has passed where we can use it as an excuse. It’s laughable at times, see the whole Ryan Allsop injury fiasco; but we know it’s coming, every single time we play Wycombe. Though it’s against the rules of the game, we should expect it now, and we can not use it as an excuse for our own performance.
Changing It Up
I understand Derek’s stubbornness to change a winning side. Don’t fix what ain’t broke? Except it makes you highly predictable and easy to game-plan for. It doesn’t take spying on a training session to work out exactly how Argyle had planned to play at Adams Park. Wycombe had no issue dealing with the front line throughout Saturdays fixture, and specifically Freddie Ladapo. The Argyle forward has struggled in front of goal in recent times, scoring only once since mid-December, while Lameiras has been in the spotlight. Ryan Taylor, or maybe even Calum Dyson (if he actually exists) could have provided a more physical presence to upset the Wycombe backline, potentially catching them off guard, subverting their perceived expectations. Furthermore, Oscar Threlkeld has been sat on the sidelines since making his highly anticipated return to home park. As one of our best players in recent times, many expected him to walk into the starting line-up, especially as a result of our defensive struggles this season. Yann Songo’o struggled on Saturday, scoring an own goal in the process and based on what Derek has said about his role in midfield, I would think that Threlkeld will replace him next time out. As well as Songo’o has played at times this season, Threlkeld provides all that Songo’o does with a little more, much needed technical ability.