Plymouth Argyle performed well enough at the start of the month, but ended it in a terrible fashion as Peterborough won 5-1 at Home Park.

Player of the month archive


How we calculate the score

Each player receives a match rating from 1-10 and one player from each match receives a man of the match bonus. The players are scored by a variety of of individuals who have witnessed every match this season. The scores are aggregated and weighted against the number of appearances, before the man of the match bonus is added.

Player of the Month: Matt Macey (11.02)

Macey has made a positive start to life at Argyle amidst a depressing beginning to the campaign; though he came under scrutiny on occasions, he has impressed overall. He may have kept only one clean sheet and picked the ball out of his net on average every 53 minutes, but more than half of the goals he conceded were from penalties and one-on-ones. In fact, for the most part, he has been a solid performer behind a highly mistake-prone, unsettled defence.

His greatest attribute so far has been his commanding presence from crosses. Macey faces more than 5 crosses per game on average, but with only 3 drops and one failed attempt, Macey has successfully dealt with 90% of them, catching three-quarters.

His distribution has been average so far: 31.7% of his goal-kicks have reached a teammate, lower than Matthews last season who frequently averaged above 35%. However, this has also been impacted by Adams’ decision to start Freddie Ladapo ahead of Ryan Taylor for most of the month, as he wins headers half a frequently as the player he ousted: Ryan Taylor.

2nd: Ashley Smith-Brown (10.29)

The only constant in Argyle’s highly rotated back-line, Smith-Brown has started every match this season and showed signs of providing a long-term answer to the question of who will succeed the aging Gary Sawyer. Yet, this was hardly a stellar month for the full-back, who – like the rest of the top three – features here because he was the one of the best of a bad bunch, rather than a top performer. Despite this, he still performed admirably and showed early signs that, should he improve with experience, he could develop into a player of Championship calibre.

The young defender holds the honour – if you can call it that – of being Argyle’s only defender to not commit a defensive error all month. In fact, of the 16 players to have managed at least 250 minutes this season, only Smith-Brown and Ness have yet to commit such an error – a quite damning statistic.

Where Smith-Brown has done well is in the final third. He’s comfortable when pushing forward and because of this has attempted 25 crosses and completed 6, the third highest of any Argyle player for both categories. The full-back also averages just shy of a completed dribble every 90-minutes, and averages 1.31 high risk passes too, bettered only by Carey and Antoni Sarcevic.

3rd: Graham Carey (9.76)

Nobody is under any doubts that the Irishman has failed to hit the heights in August that we know he can, but it would be unfair to say that he doesn’t warrant a place the top three. It’s merely because of the standards that we hold him to that he appeared to have a bad month; had Gregg Wylde delivered those performances, there would be calls for him to start, possibly even those questioning why he wasn’t player of the month. It’s all about perspective.

Carey’s numbers alone tell a story of a man trying to make something happen in front of him. He dribbles past an opponent every 32 minutes on average – a rate only bettered by Sarcevic – and has the highest dribble success of all of Argyle’s attackers, more than double that of Lameiras and Joel Grant. He also completes more high-risk passes per-90 minutes than any other player in the team.

Additionally, he ended the month with the highest cross success rate (29.0%, minimum 15 attempted crosses), highest chance creation rate (0.70 per-90 minutes), highest shot rate (3.06 per-90 minutes) and best accuracy (40.9% on target).

So, what gives? For a start, nearly all of these statistics are lower than last season, especially from the period between December and April. Shorn of his co-creator, Lameiras, and frequently surrounded with less attacking inclined midfielders, is it any wonder Argyle rarely threatened the opposition from open play? It is unfair to mould a team designed to contain an opponent and then expect Carey to create something from open play without much support – seemingly the game against Peterborough.

So far this season he’s been easily isolated and outnumbered; Adams needs to find a way to get around that – most likely by reintroducing Lameiras into the team.

Young Player of the Month: Harry Hodges (18, RB)

Hodges progressed from the under 18s to the newly formed reserve team this summer and has enjoyed a fast start to the new season as Argyle shot to second in the SWPL. Playing every minute available to him, Hodges’ hard work as a full-back on both flanks has been paired with solid defending, doing his bit as Argyle kept three clean sheets in a row.

Other nominees:

Luke Jephcott (18, WG)

Up against the two Alex’s – Battle and Fletcher – the young attacker was always going to be under pressure to add more goals to his game, and that’s exactly what he has done so far. Five goals from five starts, including a hattrick against Torpoint, means he’s already netted a quarter of the goals he managed all last season in just the first month of this one.

Rio Garside (17, AM)

Only fellow nominee Hodges racked up more minutes than Garside, who took advantage of the Ryan Law’s absence to make two starts at left-back for the reserves at the beginning of the month, providing an assist in each. In his more familiar attacking-midfield position, Garside played every minute with the under 18s and netted the only goal in their sole win of the month.