Baggies looking for elusive away win

Plymouth Argyle v West Bromwich Albion; Home Park, Tuesday 20th February 2024, 7.45pm

After a weekend in which the results pretty much all went against Albion, Carlos Corberán’s team faces two difficult away trips in an effort to keep itself in the top six. First up is a trip to Devon to take on Plymouth Argyle before a trek to the other end of the country to play Hull City.

The Pilgrims have been strong at Home Park all season and their defeat to Leeds United on Saturday is only their fourth league defeat on their own patch this season. However, the Whites also won in Devon in the FA Cup a couple of weeks ago which means that Argyle are on a run of sticky results at home having not won in the last three in all competitions, with the other match being against Coventry City when Ian Foster’s team conceded a 96th minute equaliser.

Foster was appointed as Head Coach in early January after Steven Schumacher left to join Stoke City. He had been working as Steven Gerrard’s number two at Al-Ettifaq having previous worked in the England youth setup, leading the U19s to the European Championship title in 2022. The defeat to Leeds in the cup was his first in charge of the Pilgrims, but they have not won a match since with their last win coming at Swansea City at the beginning of the month.

Plymouth remain a force at home, however. Only Southampton (39) have scored more than the 38 goals that Argyle have scored at home, albeit only Preston North End have conceded more on their own patch, letting in 29 compared to Plymouth’s 27. A repeat of the goalless draw between the sides at the Hawthorns seems unlikely!

Morgan Whitaker remains Argyle’s most potent threat with seventeen goals and seven assists to his name in the league this season and he was named Championship Player of the Month in January after three goals in four games. Former Baggies youth player Finn Azaz was having a good season with seven goals in his second loan spell at Home Park from Aston Villa, but he returned to Villa Park in January only to be sent out on loan to Middlesbrough. That was one of fourteen ins and outs for the Pilgrims last month which included two incoming loans from Tottenham Hotspur, Ashley Phillips and Alfie Devine, and one from Aston Villa, left back Lino Sousa. Experienced midfielder, Adam Forshaw, also joined on a free transfer from Norwich City.

Another Plymouth player with a Baggies connection is Brendan Galloway. The Zimbabwean, who had an unsuccessful spell on loan at the Hawthorns from Everton in 2016/17, moved to Home Park from Luton Town in the summer of 2021. He missed much of the first half of this season through injury but has started six out of the last seven games.

Carlos Corberán will presumably be missing from the touchline at Home Park following his bizarre red card on Friday night, but he has plenty to think about ahead of Tuesday night. Andi Weimann was reportedly taken ill ahead of the match against Southampton making him unavailable to be used from the bench, but he should be available on Tuesday and may well be considered for a start. Mikey Johnston has started the last two games and did his chances of increasing that run no harm at all against the Saints with a very encouraging display.

One player who may get a rest is John Swift who failed to impact either of last week’s games too much and, with Diangana, Johnston, Wallace and Weimann all capable of playing as a number ten, I certainly would be tempted to give someone else a chance from the start. BTA, too, is due for a rest if only to prevent burnout.

While Pieters has performed well in the last two games, I do wonder whether Semi Ajayi will start at Plymouth. Corberán may feel that the Dutchman offers better balance with his left foot, but Ajayi’s pace is a massive advantage and the Nigerian has performed very well when called upon this season.

Of the two away games this week, it’s tricky to determine which is tougher – Plymouth Argyle have earned three more points at home (28) than Hull City (25) with each having played 16 games, but the Tigers’ match is bigger as they could overtake Albion with a win depending on how Tuesday’s results go (Hull are away to Southampton). What is without doubt is that the Baggies need to improve their away form. In fairness, they were decent at Ipswich last time out, and if they play that well in every away game, they will win more than they lose. Let’s home that the two month wait for an away win comes to an end in Devon.


If you believe in omens, you might think that the Baggies might want to lose on Tuesday evening – in 1992/93, they drew the first meeting with Argyle 0-0 and then lost 5-2 in the second, but won promotion via the play-offs at the end of the season. That 5-2 defeat at the Hawthorns was Albion’s last defeat to Plymouth and they have won five and drawn two of the subsequent seven encounters.

On their last visit to Home Park, Simon Cox scored the only goal of the game in February 2010 while Jerome Thomas was sent off in stoppage time for a lunge on David McNamee. On the previous visit, in November 2007, Roman Bednár scored a first half brace to put Tony Mowbray’s team 2-0 up – Jermain Easter scored a late consolation for Paul Sturrock’s side but the visitors held on to take all three points.

In the early days of this fixture, it was Argyle who had the edge, and they retain the overall lead in the head-to-head statistics with 14 wins to Albion’s 13. They won the first three encounters between the sides, the first at the Hawthorns in September 1930, and the next two at Home Park. The first meeting in Devon in January 1931 saw the Pilgrims run out 5-1 winners, largely thanks to a Jack Vidler hat trick, and that remains their biggest win over Albion.

The Baggies returned the favour, albeit more than three decades later, when they travelled to Home Park for an FA Cup Third Round tie in January 1963. Bobby Cram gave Albion the lead before Jim McAnearney equalised for the hosts only for Derek Kevan to put the visitors back in front before the break. A strike from Keith Smith, a John Newman own goal and a second for “The Tank” saw Archie Macaulay’s Baggies run out 5-1 winners in the end.

Another six-goal thriller between the sides at Home Park took place in September 1987 – Andy Gray gave Albion the lead on 12 minutes and it stayed that way until just after the hour mark when John Clayton equalised for the hosts. Tommy Tynan scored twice for the Pilgrims to give them a 3-1 lead with seven minutes to go but Ron Atkinson’s side responded with a second for Andy Gray before Carlton Palmer scored a last minute equaliser.

Stat Attack

Current Form

Albion L L W D W L
Plymouth Argyle D W L L D L

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

21 Oct 2023 – League Championship
West Bromwich Albion 0
Plymouth Argyle 0

Last meeting at Plymouth Argyle

6 Feb 2010 – League Championship
Plymouth Argyle 0
West Bromwich Albion 1 (Cox)

Albion’s Record against Plymouth Argyle

  Overall   Away
  P W D L F A   P W D L F A
League 31 10 9 12 44 50   15 3 5 7 18 26
FA Cup 3 2 0 1 8 4   1 1 0 0 5 1
League Cup 2 1 0 1 1 2   1 0 0 1 0 2
Total 36 13 9 14 53 56   17 4 5 8 23 29

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