Both Macclesfield and Plymouth come into Saturday’s League Two encounter at Moss Rose in very contrasting form. Whilst the Silkmen are winless in their last eight matches, drawing the last four, Ryan Lowe’s side have won five of their last seven, including last weekend’s comfortable 3-0 win over Morecambe.
- Defender James Pearson is the only confirmed absentee for Macclesfield through injury.
- Defender Theo Vassell as well as midfield pair Theo Archibald and Ben Stephens remain doubts after missing the trip to Walsall.
- Midfielder Connor Kirby will be available again following suspension.
Predicted Line-Up (3-4-1-2)
Welch-Hayes, Kelleher, Cameron
Archibald, Kirby, Harris, O’Keeffe
Style of Play
Predominantly playing in a 3-4-1-2 formation, Daryl McMahon’s side look to vary their play with a mixture of short and long balls, unlike most sides who to tend to dominate in one particular element. Attacking pair Joe Ironside and Arthur Ghanoua compliment each other in that they are both completely different types of forwards.
Whilst Ironside is the shorter of the two at 5ft 9in, he’s much more effective in the air, winning duels and flicking the ball on. Ghanoua however, is much faster and likes to run with the ball at opponents before either firing a shot away or passing to a teammate.
The 27-year-old completes nearly two successful dribbles per game whilst maintaining a passing accuracy of 70%. The attacking duo have five goals and assists between them so far this season (4G, 1A). Whilst not overly impressive, Macclesfield have scored just 19 league goals this season, with only the bottom two and Walsall managing to score less.
The Silkmen heavily rely on the creativity that they have in midfield, particularly through duo Emmanuel Osadebe and Theo Archibald. The pair have scored four apiece as well as registering a further four assists between them.
With Osadebe playing through the middle and Archibald playing down the right wing, the two utilise their abundance of pace in order to create problems for their opponents. They often like to hit the ball out wide and work the ball into dangerous positions in the middle of the final third. Unlike a lot of sides in League Two, Macclesfield aren’t particularly crossing orientated, with their tally of 14 per-game ranking them amongst the lowest in the division.
Corey O’Keeffe and Connor Kirby add a bit of bite to the Silk midfield. Birmingham loanee O’Keefe is the more creative of the duo, looking to win the ball and run with it whilst Kirby often looks to make an immediate pass into space. O’Keeffe averages 3.58 successful dribbles per 90 minutes, the best at the club by some distance whilst the pair also average more than two tackles each.
They both tend to sit a little deeper in the midfield in order to provide cover whilst attacking midfielder Osadebe goes forward and shield the back three. This allows the defenders to push out wide a little more so that they are less vulnerable down the wings as well as in the centre of the park. Against a side like Argyle who are particularly threatening down the left side, this will be crucial.
In a side struggling to score regular goals this season, attacking midfielder Emmanuel Osadebe looks to be the Silkmen’s most dangerous player. In a side with a little more quality, he’d probably have more to show for his efforts.
His tally of four goals already this season surpasses his career total of three goals in over 60 league appearances the 23-year-old had prior to his move from fellow League Two side Cambridge in the summer. Along with his two assists, his six goal contributions this season account for nearly a third of Macclesfield’s goals.
Despite standing at 6ft 2in, the former Tottenham man possesses a lot of pace which he uses to run at opponents and create problems in the final third. His physicality ensures that it’s difficult for defenders to tackle and wriggle him off the ball and if given time and space he will look to punish opposition sides. Despite naturally being a winger, Osadebe has done well to adapt to a more central position with manager McMahon attempting to play a system that includes both him and Troy Archibald.
Scoring goals is the obvious achilles heel for Macclesfield this season and despite the ongoing turmoil at the club, they’ve remained resolute. Despite being winless in eight matches, the Silkmen have conceded the same amount of goals as top of the table Swindon (22) whilst only losing one game more (six).
A goalscorer will undoubtedly be their top priority in January and on paper. Should they find someone who can contribute a few goals they look likely to survive for another season provided the players’ heads haven’t been turned during the ongoing financial crisis at the club.
Whilst remaining solid at defending from out wide, Macclesfield are very susceptible to conceding shots in the middle of the park with 71% of shots against them coming from the middle. This often happens when more possession orientated sides find the gaps between the midfield, and the defence and with a back three they are vulnerable.
Coming into the game, Argyle will be looking to avenge their midweek FA Cup exit at the hands of League One side Bristol Rovers in which they did not look out of place against their higher ranked opponents. With a lot more quality in their side and an in-form George Cooper alongside Danny Mayor, Ryan Lowe’s side will certainly fancy their chances against a side winless in eight.
The Silkmen are no pushovers despite appearances, however, and despite their off the pitch drama, they’ve actually conceded fewer goals than the Pilgrims. That being said, should Argyle score first, with McMahon’s side struggling for goals it could well kill the game off.