Very few could have predicted Plymouth Argyle’s rise to the top of the EFL League One last year, especially at the back end of last season, where they finished 18th in the league, losing four of their final five fixtures. From second-worst defensive record last campaign to third-best so far, Argyle have made huge strides in a relatively short amount of time. Although Wigan have a game in hand and are only two points behind, Argyle currently have the lead with 10 wins, six draws and one loss in 17 games.
Argyle manager Ryan Lowe has been applauded by many for the brilliant job he has done since taking over. He led them to promotion from League Two in the 2019-20 season, instilling an attacking brand of football in the process. Going into the current season, Lowe was aware of Argyle’s defensive frailties. Given their current standing in the league, Lowe’s overhaul of the defense seems to work as his side have so far conceded only 15 goals. Lowe was awarded League One manager of the month last month as he led Argyle to four wins and two draws in October.
In addition to their defensive solidity, Argyle have also been impressive in the attack with only Ipswich Town ahead of them in terms of goals scored. Much of Argyle’s fine form in front of the goal can be attributed to the Scottish striker Ryan Hardie. So far, he has scored nine goals and added a further four assists. Hardie’s remarkable shot accuracy of 76% is the highest among League One’s top ten goal scorers.
Let’s dive into Plymouth Argyle’s stats from the recent match and benchmarking to gauge whether they can continue their brilliant run as the season progresses.
Argyle produced a statement 4-1 win against Accrington Stanley in their recent fixture in League One. The win was even more impressive given Accrington’s home form and stats from the game. Despite falling behind in terms of multiple attacking metrics, Argyle were able to score four goals and emerge as winners. They had fewer shots than Accrington but were highly accurate with their shots, as indicated by their 77.78% shot accuracy. In addition, Argyle had an xG of 0.99, indicating that they overperformed their xG.
Argyle were extremely successful in recovering loose balls, with multiple players contributing in the duels. Gillesphey won seven loose ball duels out of 10, followed by Houghton, who won six out of nine. Argyle recovered most of their loose balls near the centre of the pitch and in their half.
In terms of expected goals and expected goals per 90, Argyle are placed fourth in League One. This further highlights their attacking prowess this season. So far, they have scored 32 goals. Jephcott, along with Hardie, have been brilliant in the attack for Argyle, scoring 14 goals between them.
Argyle have made 181 successful passes into the penalty area so far, which is the fourth-highest in the league. They also average more than 10 successful passes into the penalty area per match, indicating that they have been able to penetrate the opposition area quite frequently with their threatening passes.
Plymouth Argyle’s rise in League One has been tremendous. They have laid down their strong intent to gain promotion to the Championship. Their stats and performances indicate that they are one of the best teams currently that League One has to offer and are in strong contention for promotion.