Plymouth Argyle kicked off the new year with an emphatic win at home to Oxford, who remain without a win on the road this season. In what many are describing Argyle’s best performance of the season so far, Adams’ men fired three past the visitors, including a Ruben Lameiras brace. They also kept a clean sheet, their first in League One since October.
Kyle Letheren (6)
He wasn’t given a great deal to do this game in terms of shot stopping as Argyle were very much in control and comfortable throughout the course of the match. However, he didn’t seem like he was in strong vocal control of his backline which is so crucial for a keeper and made a few blunders, notably with that headed back pass towards the end of the second half.
Ashley Smith-Brown (7)
The full-back had what many described as his best game in an Argyle shirt against Oxford.He looked dangerous going forward and played a vital part in the first goal after his dummy drew out the necessary defender, creating room for a shot. However, he also looked solid and defensively sound with Oxford getting no luck down his side.
Ryan Edwards (8)
The defender had Jamie Mackie in his back pocket for the duration. Winning more or less every single aerial dual and looking comfortable at the back with the ball at his feet, he led his back line well and kept a clean sheet. One minor blunder came when he was outpaced down the right-hand side in the first half, but he recovered well and won the ball back.
Niall Canavan (7)
The Irishman was part of a solid defensive duo however he looked the weaker out of the the. He was playing left centre back with Sawyer at left back and Oxford carved out chances down that left hand side. On the other hand, he didn’t lose much in the air and rarely looked seriously in trouble. A comfortable performance, I’d say, but Edwards was the stand out of the two.
Gary Sawyer (6)
He was far from awful, however Oxford seemed to target his side and a lot of their attacks came down the left-hand side. Perhaps Carey and Fox weren’t tracking back as much as he would’ve liked but still, at times Sawyer did look uncomfortable and weak.
Yann Songo’o (6)
Songo’o went fairly under the radar this game and wasn’t that noticeable. He put in a few tackles but also looked clumsy and was out of position on a few occasions. Towards the end of the game he began putting some searching through balls out to the wings in hope a winger would latch on, but it was fairly hit and hope.
David Fox (6)
As ever, Fox oozed comfort when he was on the ball and had no trouble in spreading play from wing to wing. Sometimes, his defensive efforts looked weak and lacklustre, but the Oxford midfield were poor, Fox and Songo’o were able to outplay them.
Graham Carey (8)
Still not quite the Graham Carey we all know and love, but it was certainly a better performance from him. What really stood out for me was his work rate and closing down from the front, it worked really well and was effective when Freddie and Ruben were doing the same. Had a few glimpses of the class we are used to like a Cruyff turn in the second half to beat two men and a shot from distance that nearly caught the keeper off guard in the first half.
Antoni Sarcevic (8)
He had excellent work ethic throughout the game and was often spotted chasing the ball whilst it was with the Oxford keeper. As usual, he came across as a tireless box to box midfielder who was instrumental in turning defence into attack and was often at the forefront of little intricate moves on the edge of the Oxford box.
Ruben Lameiras (9) MOTM
Superb on the right wing, his movement and close control was second to none and tormented the Oxford defence on several occasions throughout the game. Grabbing a brace, his first was a fairly easy task after Ladapo put it on a plate for him. His second, though, came after zig zagging in and out of the back-tracking Oxford defence before slotting the ball calmly into the bottom right corner. The Porgugese received a deserved man of the match at the end of the game as well a standing ovation.
Freddie Ladapo (7)
Ladapo held the ball up well on quite a few occasions and played a relatively selfless game for a striker. Was very good at bringing the two wide men into the game more and provided an assist. Often, he found himself in a dangerous position but without the ball. At times, it seemed as if it just wasn’t going to fall right for the dangerous striker, he was in acres of space for Lameiras’ second and Argyle’s third but it resulted in a goal anyway.