The EFL season got underway last weekend, whilst the Premier League is this weekend. Plymouth Argyle began with a win over Barnsley at Home Park, thanks to a solitary goal from new signing Finn Azaz. This season comes with new hopes and ambitions down south.
Looking At the New Season for Plymouth Argyle
Building on Last Year’s Success
When it comes to Plymouth Argyle for 2022/23, it is all about building on last year’s success. Many outsiders tipped them to face the drop but, against the odds, the Greens took the playoff push down to the last day. Mention of the last day is a painful one given Scott Twine’s heroic four-goal haul in the 5-0 loss to MK Dons. It wasn’t to be then but there is certainly promise.
This will be Steven Schumacher’s first full season in charge after he succeeded Ryan Lowe midway through last term. It came as quite a shock when Lowe was headhunted successfully by Preston North End. His fellow Liverpudlian and close friend didn’t follow him to Deepdale though. Since, he has had a promising start to life in the Argyle technical area.
"We nearly rocked the European and world champions!" 👀
Plymouth Argyle boss Steven Schumacher is flourishing in his first managerial role as the Pilgrims aim for promotion 🏁
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) April 12, 2022
We have the benefit of one competitive game under the belt in terms of previewing this season. Barnsley were playing Championship football last season but they are a far cry from the Tykes team who were in the play-offs the year prior under Valerien Ismael. Attacking duo Carlton Morris and Cauley Woodrow have moved on to Luton Town. Their team, in general, has a different look.
Focusing on the positives of Plymouth Argyle though, and it was a very mature performance in front of the Home Park faithful. New boys Bali Mumba and Finn Azaz, who will be discussed in more detail further on down the line, linked up for the decisive strike on the brink of half-time.
A Promising Transfer Window
The major alteration in the win over Barnsley saw Ryan Hardie start up front alone, as opposed to with a partner, which we saw last season. Luke Jephcott underwhelmed last season, allowing Niall Ennis to adopt that starting berth. The Scotsman didn’t have a forward alongside him but he will have a lot of service with Danny Mayor and Azaz around him.
Azaz is on loan from Aston Villa and is another temporary transfer to the south. Mumba (Norwich City), Morgan Whittaker (Swansea City) and Nigel Lonwijk (Wolverhampton Wanderers) are the other three. It is easy enough to say this but all of them are highly rated. Lonwijk played decent minutes in the Eredivisie last campaign. Plus, Azaz and Whittaker excited with Newport County and Lincoln City respectively.
Goalscorer and debutant Finn Azaz speaks to Argyle TV on his decisive strike which saw Argyle claim all three points against Barnsley.
In partnership with @TheTumericCo.#pafc
— Plymouth Argyle FC (@Argyle) July 30, 2022
The other two Plymouth Argyle deals were done early on. Matt Butcher and Mikel Miller have arrived on free transfers. Butcher started in the middle of the park last weekend whilst the latter has a minor injury side-lining him.
There is a lot to be said for new arrivals, but the exit door is looming too. Panutche Camara was not in the squad against Barnsley and his manager said the following on the matter. “Panutche trained Monday and then went in before it finished. He’s still not 100 per cent confident with his groin.” The Guinea-Bissau international requested a move earlier on in the window but little has come of that since. Goalkeeper and academy graduate Mike Cooper was the other star subject to interest but he is here to stay.
Keeping a very competent squad together, besides a few loan players returning to their parent clubs, and adding new, smart pieces is a promising look for Plymouth Argyle. In terms of the loanees, Ryan Broom and Jordan Garrick are back with Peterborough United and Swansea respectively. On top of that, injury-prone wingback George Cooper has dropped down to the National League to play for Chesterfield.
A Last Word On the New Season for Plymouth Argyle
The transfer window isn’t shut yet but Schumacher appears to be very pleased with the business done so far. This team can survive and then some with or without Camara thanks to the arrival of Butcher and the emergence of youth product Adam Randell.
— Plymouth Argyle FC (@Argyle) July 30, 2022
It is only one game, but the result and performance against Barnsley is a sign of good things to come. The likes of MK Dons, Peterborough, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday make League One as tough as ever. Plymouth Argyle may not have the history or finances to contend with sides of this ilk. However, they can potentially go one step further this year and make the playoffs.
Outsiders looking in aren’t too hot on the Pilgrims and have tipped teams such as Bolton Wanderers and Wycombe Wanderers to finish above them come the spring of 2023. Bias aside, there are a lot of very strong teams in this division. An eighth or ninth-placed finish would bring no shame. That being said, Plymouth Argyle can make the coveted playoffs this time around.