Plymouth Argyle’s fixtures for the 2021-22 season were released this morning. As always it’s had everybody looking at the key dates, mulling over the start of the season and planning their trips to certain away fixtures. We’ve picked out a few that are worth keeping an eye on over the coming months.
Plymouth Argyle v Gillingham – 14th August 2021
I know, it’s a pretty lazy choice this one, but surely the vast majority of the Green Army are already counting down the days to facing Gillingham at home.
On 7th March 2020, Argyle beat Macclesfield 3-0 at Home Park. Two goals from George Cooper and another from Ryan Hardie saw Argyle build a 3-point gap to local and promotion rivals Exeter City following their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Walsall. And yes, there were more than a few signs of something being slightly off with the world that week. But few could surely have predicted that the next chance for Argyle to play in front of a sold-out Home Park would be 526 days later.
That’s where we are now. Yes, there have been a few games with limited capacity in the last year, but this will feel like a true coming-together for Argyle fans. You’d say only a fool would make predictions regarding COVID, but all being well, the atmosphere against Gillingham should be absolutely electric.
Cheltenham Town v Plymouth Argyle – 26th December 2021
Looking for the nearest trip is always a must, but it’s not as easy as in recent years. Swindon and Bristol Rovers were relegated last term, and Exeter once again failed to earn promotion from League Two. And we don’t even have Forest Green to amble to this time around. Many might say that’s a blessing.
So, it’ll be the trip to Cheltenham that’ll see the Green Army take over another town this season. And it should be an interesting contest. The Robins will be playing in the third tier for the first time since 2009, but they’ll have momentum with them having won League Two last year, albeit with the fixture’s timing midway through the season threatening to mitigate the promotion bounce. Argyle will also have to deal with Cheltenham’s Plymouth-born captain Ben Tozer, who brings a terrifying long throw into the game.
It may not be the best clash on the pitch, but as a day out there may not be many better.
Sheffield Wednesday v Plymouth Argyle – 15th January 2022
What’s the point in looking at the teams coming down from the Championship if you can’t get excited about trips to some big grounds? That’s exactly what we’ve got here – an away day at Hillsborough dwarfs offerings of more regular visits to Rotherham and Wycombe.
This may also have a bearing on the pitch too. It’ll be the first time Argyle have faced the Owls since the 2010-11 season, which famously saw Peter Reid’s side do the double over their illustrious opponents in an ultimately doomed year. Half the entertainment of the 3-2 and 4-2 wins a decade ago may well send us home happy.
It’s hard to know how Wednesday will shape up this year. They’re not exactly in great shape, with a 12-point deduction for issues off the field ultimately consigning them to relegation. But a fair few teams on a downward spiral seem to use their time in League One to recover. Either way, this should be an exciting one to follow, and at a superb ground to visit.
Plymouth Argyle v Rotherham United – 26th February 2022
This one could well be key. Not only will Rotherham be tough opposition given their relegation from the Championship last season, but Argyle will come into the fixture off the back of two away games in a week. It’s therefore very possible that their performance over the eight-day period including the Rotherham game could be key to the prospects of Argyle’s season.
A week before the Rotherham fixture, Argyle will travel to Gillingham, before following that up with a tricky-looking midweek trip to newly promoted Cambridge. Following that up with Rotherham, who will surely be challenging at the right end of the table again given their yo-yo club status, makes this a tough run. It’s very possible Argyle could take 0 points from 9 and have their progress stunted. Alternatively, taking all 9 could prove to be a huge boost to their ambitions.
Argyle’s opening fixture against the Millers took the headlines. But it’s the reverse fixture that looks as though it could be more crucial.
Plymouth Argyle v Sunderland – 18th April 2022
Last season Argyle’s run-in was tough. The home games against high-flying Hull, Charlton and Sunderland led to three comprehensive defeats, and Argyle were not able to mitigate that with any strong showings away from home. Frankly, it’s a relief that Argyle managed to pick up all the points they needed to avoid relegation before the final six games.
Once again this season, Argyle will host the Black Cats late on in the campaign, and it’s set to be another tricky fixture to navigate. Sunderland will be looking to put their spell in League One to bed at the fourth time of asking, and could well have promotion on the line as they travel to Home Park. If Argyle have anything to play for late on in the season, they’ll need to be seriously up for this game.
Much like the Rotherham fixture, Argyle come into this one off the back of consecutive away trips, this time to Burton and Wycombe (or will that be Derby? We still don’t know). Therefore, a positive result against Sunderland could be key to the Greens’ ambitions.