Plymouth Argyle vs Leeds United: Preview and Prediction

Leeds United will be keen to hold onto second spot when they face Plymouth Argyle on Saturday night

Leeds United will face Plymouth Argyle for the fourth time this season as they attempt to secure a stranglehold on second spot in the EFL Championship standings.

Daniel Farke’s men are enjoying a stellar start to 2024 and have risen up the standings to occupy the second automatic promotion spot. They currently hold a two point cushion over Southampton in third spot, but the Saints have a game in hand. Leeds cannot afford to drop points, especially against opposition they are expected to beat.

A first half double saw Leeds defeat Plymouth 2-1 in the reverse fixture earlier this season. Both teams wee also drawn together in the FA Cup fourth round, a tie that finished 1-1 at Elland Road. An extra time blitzkrieg in extra time during the replay at Home Park saw the Yorkshire side come out 4-1 on top to progress to the fifth round of the competition.

Plymouth have enjoyed a good spell of results since the arrival of Ian Forster. They have lost twice under him in all competitions, one of them being the FA Cup ouster to Leeds earlier this month. The Pilgrims are rank outsiders to sneak into a playoff spot but could end the campaign on a high and finish in the top half of the table.

With the pressure off, it remains to be seen if Plymouth will have a go at catching Leeds off guard. The Whites are the in-form side in the Championship right now and would welcome the challenge. The last thing Farke will want is for his players to meekly surrender second spot, having worked hard to get it following the poor start to the season.

The Hard Tackle looks closer at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Plymouth Argyle

The home side are coming off the back of a 2-2 draw against Coventry City and are expected to retain the majority of the side that featured on the night. Mustapha Bundu and Michael Cooper are both remain unavailable as they continue to recover from injuries.

More so, Darko Gyabi is unavailable as well given that he is ineligible to feature against his parent club. It is not all bad news as unlike in the FA Cup, Forster call call upon Alfie Devine this weekend. The Tottenham Hotspur loanee was instrumental in both goals against Coventry and is a defining force goin forward for Plymouth.

The Pilgrims will be keen to end the season on a high, especially at home. A 3-4-2-1 formation appears to be the way forward on the night, with Conor Hazard starting in between the sticks.

The trio of Ashley Phillips, Lewis Gibson and Brendan Galloway should form the rearguard, giving the full-backs the freedom to push forward. Bali Mumba and Mickel Miller should offer the width from wing-back, with Adam Randell and Jordan Houghton holding the centre.

Championship joint-top scorer Morgan Whittaker should start alongside Alfie Devine in the creative role, aiming to feed Ryan Hardie with goalscoring opportunities.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hazard; Phillips, Gibson, Galloway; Miller, Randell, Houghton, Mumba; Whittaker, Devine, Hardie

Plymouth Argyle vs Leeds United: Preview and Prediction.

Leeds United

Having conquered Home Park once this season, Farke will be eyeing a second consecutive pain at the venue this season.  Leeds have now won seven league games on the spin and have not conceded in their last four matches in the competition either.

Farke is expected to rotate his squad as games continue to come thick and fast. Veteran striker Patrick Bamford will have to sit this one out as he continues to recover from a knock. The trio of Stuart Dallas, Jamie Shackleton and Pascal Struijk are all confined to the treatment room and thus unavailable for the match.

Leeds are expected to retain their 4-2-3-1 formation irrespective of rotating out players. Illan Meslier should start in goal, with the quartet of Connor Roberts, Joe Rodon, Ethan Ampadu, and Junior Firpo forming the rearguard.

Ilia Gruev and Glen Kamara should form the double pivot, with Wilfried Gnonto, Georginio Rutter, and Daniel James forming the attacking midfield. Joel Piroe rediscovered his goalscoring touch against Swansea City last weekend and should lead the line if Bamford is deemed unfit.

James and Gnonto in particular have been effective and the duo alongside Rutter will give Plymouth much to be concerned about.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Roberts, Ampadu, Rodon, Firpo; Kamara, Gruev; Gnonto, Rutter, James; Piroe

Plymouth Argyle vs Leeds United: Preview and Prediction.

Key Stats

  • Plymouth Argyle have not defeated Leeds United in the league since 1989, a run of nine games.
  • This is Leeds United’s first visit to Plymouth Argyle since 2006, a game that the visitors won 2-1.
  • Leeds United and Plymouth Argyle have already met thrice this season, once in the league and twice in the FA Cup. 10 goals were scored altogether in those three games, with all of them scored by different players.
  • A win on the night will see Leeds United win six away games in a row for the first time since 2019 when Marcelo Bielsa was in charge.
  • Daniel Farke has not lost any of his last 17 games as a manager against newly promoted sides to the division.

Player to Watch

Wilfried Gnonto

Embed from Getty Images

The Italian international has been in excellent form of late and scored twice against Swansea City last weekend. Gnonto’s purple patch has come at an excellent time and Farke will be aiming to end the campaign strong.

The youngster’s future is likely to be up in the air once again next summer but if his recent run of performances are anything to go by, there will be suitors circling. Gnonto opened the scoring for Leeds at Home Park in the FA Cup earlier this month and will hope to have a similar impact this time around as well.


Plymouth Argyle 1-2 Leeds United

Plymouth have the ability to surprise teams but Leeds are in good form and appear irresistible of late. Both Gnonto and James are in top form while Rutter continues to shine. Add to it Piroe rediscovering his touch and it is fair to say that the frontline gives them the edge over Plymouth. The game is likely to be hard-fought and a close affair, but the visitors’ quality and strength in depth should prove decisive.

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