Main image credit: Plymouth Argyle

Welcome back to our weekly post-match analysis, brought to you by One Team in Devon, the weekly Argyle fanzine.

This week we look back at the key talking points from a fantastic win against Blackburn Rovers – and have a little fun with a look back at the 2018 squad.

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Performance vs. Points

One of the big talking points pre-Blackburn Rovers was points vs. performance. Was it more important to get three points off the back of three defeats in all competitions – or see another good Argyle performance?

Seemingly 100% of the online discourse backed a grubby 1-0 win to get us back to winning ways.

I took the opposite view. I’d happily have seen another good performance that didn’t yield three points, and happy to trust the process that if you keep performing, the points will come. Schumacher also had this view and said in the post-match press conference that he’d have been content with a draw, as long as we played well.

As it turned out, we got all of the above.

Despite the scoreline, it was a bit of a grind. A slow start saw Argyle ride their luck, half a yard off the pace after a busy and mentally tiring fun of fixtures.

The three goals came from Argyle doing the right things, but in each moment were opportunistic and scrappy.

It was possibly our worst least cohesive performance of the season – which in true football style yielded our biggest win.

But to a man, everyone performed, shut out an athletic Rovers side full of movement and guile. And that’s because we got the details right.


Sweating the Details

Argyle have been guilty of two things: a slight lack of killer instinct in front of goal, and coming up short defending in crucial moments.

We righted those wrongs against Rovers – after a couple of early let-offs.

Kesler-Hayden’s block to turn the ball onto the crossbar, and Hardie pressuring the keeper into a mistake for the third goal, are two brilliant examples at either end of the pitch.

Pleguezuelo spoke about Argyle’s focus on the finer details in the post-match – and it certainly paid off.


Hardie’s on fire – for a reason

Hardie’s on fire, and every defence in the Championship should be terrified.

It was another brilliant performance from him against Blackburn, and he is showing class at this level. He constantly plays on the shoulder of the last defender, and with his pace and movement, no centre-back will relish playing against him.

But there’s a reason for this uptick in form.

Schumacher has spoken about a tweak in the role for Hardie, and this season he’s playing a more traditional #9 role, rather than running the channels.

That means he’s been Johnny on the spot for a number of poachers goal in the six-yard box, and he’s taken those chances.

That’s not a coincidence. Hardie has evidently been working on this aspect of his game, and more reason why he could (and should) push towards 20 goals this season.

Pleggy Starts

Julio Pleguezuelo got his first league start of the season and showed his class throughout the win against Blackburn.

He was involved in several last-ditch challenges around the first half hour, one of which I was certain would be given as a penalty, but turned out to be a brilliant tackle. And like the rest of the team, he grew into the same.

He was also heavily involved in a much-improved performance playing out from the back, and on a number of occasions, we saw him step out of defence with the ball – exactly what we were hoping to see from the Spaniard.

Schuey revealed that he was picked for tactical reasons, to deal with the threat of Szmodics and Gallagher.

I’d expect to see Pleggy start the first game back after the international break, which will be against an in-form and top-of-the-league Preston North End.

We did also see Schumacher go to a back three for the first time this season, with Scarr introduced to see out the game.


The Class of 2018

Above you’ll see the last Argyle team to play Blackburn Rovers – back on Saturday 3rd February 2018.

But who, if anyone, makes it into this Argyle XI?

Carey, Lameiras, Vyner, Bradley, and Remi Matthews would all have a shot at getting into the squad. We ran a poll, which certainly showed a split in opinion, with the majority opting for two of the 2018 team getting into today’s XI.

Lameiras and Vyner were the most-mentioned names.

I’d still stick with Mumba and Scarr myself. But give me 2018-era Carey cutting in off the right playing Schuey-ball any day.