Remi Matthews – 7
Matthews had something of an uneventful return to Home Park, only being forced into action a couple times. Competently dealt with a number of Walsall half chances, showing good command of his area and did well to stay composed to stop Bakayoko’s headed effort from close range, arguably Walsall’s best attempt at goal all game.
Oscar Threlkeld – 7
Started brightly, providing width and speed down the right flank throughout the first half and majority of the second. Looked to tire towards the latter stages, maybe due to the Christmas fixture logjam, and gave the ball away cheaply a few times, but more than made up for it with a number of crucial blocks and clearances, as we’ve come to expect from Threlkeld, putting his body on the line as Argyle went backs to the wall in the closing stages.
Ryan Edwards – 7
A steady performance from Edwards, handling Walsall’s attacking threats rather comfortably, and going close with a headed effort early in the first half, the ball sailing narrowly over the bar.
Sonny Bradley – 6
Bradley didn’t exactly have a bad game, as (much as Edwards did), he handled the attacking players with some ease. However, a few misplaced passes in the wrong areas coupled with a couple of defensive mishaps, namely a clearance which went a little too close to Argyles goal for comfort, drops his rating here.
Gary Sawyer – 6
Sawyer had a little trouble dealing with the pace of Zeli Ismail, having been beaten on a number of occasions but these runs ended with very little production, as Sawyer defended well in all other aspects. Sawyer seemed to offer less of an attacking threat throughout this game than in prior performances but nevertheless had a relatively solid game.
David Fox – 8 – Man of the Match
A top performance from Fox, providing stellar levels of play on both sides of the ball, popping up with crucial tackles throughout the game, while showcasing great vision and passing, which we’ve come to expect from him by this point. A lot was made of Walsall attacker Erhum Oztumer before the game, but Fox stuck to him well and his effect on the game was diminished, a testament to the capabilities of Argyle’s midfield trio. He always leads by example and usually, when he plays well, the team follow suit.
Toumani Diagouraga – 7
While there is uncertainty surrounding his contract situation off the field, Diagouraga is certainly a force to be reckoned with on it. Ever so composed on the ball, did the simple things right against Walsall and is never afraid to get stuck in, challenging for the 50/50 balls. Pace and stamina seem to be issues for Diagouraga and although he makes up for it in plenty of other ways, these were rather evident over the Christmas period. Diagouraga is a crucial player and Argyle should do well the rest of the season if they can get him under contract in January.
Antoni Sarcevic – 7
Sarcevic returned to the starting lineup successfully, playing well going forward while staying alert defensively. Went very close with a deflected shot in the first half and made a number of crucial interceptions, turning the defence into attacking breakaways on numerous occasions. At risk of becoming rather underrated among the Argyle supporters, a fit and firing Sarcevic is an asset to the Argyle midfield.
Ruben Lameiras – 7
While the defensive deficiencies are rather obvious, Lameiras poses an attacking threat whenever he’s on the pitch. The end product is not always there with him but it is refreshing to have another player on the side who can run at players and beat them with some regularity. Gave the ball away cheaply a number of times and is prone to doing just a little too much, often running himself into trouble, but showcased what he can do by driving past multiple defenders on the way to laying it to Taylor for his goal.
Graham Carey – 8
Carey had a good game, troubling Walsall throughout. He went close from two free kicks, one in each half and attempted some outrageous long-range efforts which either worried or tested the opposing keeper. He did his part on the defensive end as well, making a number of well-timed tackles. Carey seems to be bursting with confidence at the moment, which can only mean good things for the team.
Ryan Taylor – 8
The record speaks for itself, Argyle are a better team when Taylor plays, and it’s obvious why. Took his goal very well, taking his time and not rushing it, holding it with his back to goal and shooting on the turn with a great finish into the bottom right-hand corner. Taylor’s hold up and link up play is fantastic, frequently winning headers and flick-ons and being able to hold onto the ball, bringing others into the attack. If Argyle had more players making runs off Taylor, gambling on the long balls, Taylor could rack up a lot more assists this season, while his goalscoring should likely continue should he stay fit.