The performance was not as convincing as we may have hoped but in terms of results, you can’t ask for much better than a 100% start to 2019. Two set piece goals saw Plymouth Argyle take a 2-0 lead and Andy Cook pegged back a consolation late on.
Kyle Letheren – 6
He made one excellent reflexive save from an early Walsall opportunity in a similar vein to the one he made against Coventry and he could hardly have done much about the goal. That said, other aspects of his game were not so great. His kicking was quite wayward for most of the game and his command of area was indecisive. His game management could also have been better, not taking enough time to slow the game down as he should have done at 2-0 up.
Ashley Smith-Brown – 7
His crossing and passing in the final third left perhaps a little to be desired but it was a good game on the whole from the versatile full-back. His defensive work was largely good against a tricky opponent in Matt Jarvis and he covered plenty of ground, getting up and down the line to great effect.
Ryan Edwards – 7
He fell slightly short of an 8 due to some distribution that was far from perfect. However, this was not helped by a pitch on which the surface was so wet that it became noticeably harder to make accurate passes. What he did in the most part was read the game in front of him nicely and position himself well as well as marking his striker. He also of course popped up with a goal – as he did in the reverse game in August.
Niall Canavan – 7
Much like Edwards, he had a largely solid defensive game. He won most of his headers and didn’t do a lot wrong defensively. He too popped up with a goal, the crucial one that put the game out of reach for Walsall. Like Edwards, he is nearly an 8 but for the fact that his range of distribution was pretty limited. That said, his short passes were composed and accurately selected, as usual.
Gary Sawyer – 5
Another slightly below par game from Sawyer, who has not been great on an individual level in spite of our five game unbeaten run. He was dribbled past too easily for Walsall’s consolation goal and in truth it wasn’t the only occasion in which he was caught for pace. He offers something when he gets forward but in truth doesn’t get forward enough, especially compared to last season. He is probably one of the first candidates to be dropped from this team, when Connor Grant and Oscar Threlkeld are at full fitness.
Yann Songo’o – 6
He was semi-effective in his own way. His pressing was as full of intent as it always is and during Walsall’s ‘throw the kitchen sink’ phase after their consolation, he did the last ditch stuff very well. However, the usual flaws in his game were also apparent. He overcommitted leaving a midfield gap too often and his distribution was fairly shoddy. He also really should have put Argyle into the lead in the first half following a clear header from a free-kick.
David Fox – 6
A curate’s egg of a game from Fox, as we have become accustomed to in the 4-2-3-1 formation. He was, as he always is, very composed and forensic in picking out the best passes on the ball. However, his lack of pace and his accentuated defensive responsibilities compared to his relative freedom in the 4-3-2-1 meant that he did not provide the defence much in the way of protection. Should have done better for the goal.
Ruben Lameiras – 6
Not such a good game for Argyle’s Portugese wizard tonight who was tightly marked by Walsall. On the times he did get on the ball, he picked out some good passes but he was also one of the worst culprits for Argyle’s slightly complacent game management at 2-0.
Antoni Sarcevic – 5
A pretty quiet performance from the Argyle midfielder to add to another game where he didn’t get into it much against Coventry. By and large, he has had a good season but hasn’t really gotten onto the ball in the past two games which makes you wonder if he may be carrying an injury. That said, he’s nearly a 6 because he was good on the occasions whereby he did get onto the ball.
Graham Carey – 7 MOTM
He actually had a fairly quiet game for the most part but quite simply, he has to win man of the match. In a game where nobody put in a truly outstanding display, his two pinpoint deliveries from set pieces were the primary difference between winning and losing. He should have had a third assist too but Yann Songo’o squandered the opportunity.
Freddie Ladapo – 5
Once again, Argyle’s inability to gain control in midfield forced their leading scorer to play a bit-part role in open play. Fortunately for Adams, Ruben Lameiras has taken up the mantle of goalscoring in recent weeks, a needed transition indeed given Ladapo has just one open play goal since the end of November.