As always in early January, thoughts turn away from league action for a weekend as the whole country gets swept up in FA Cup fever. It’s a time when giant killings can happen, or a moment of magic can be written in the annals of FA Cup history.
Blues welcome a Plymouth Argyle team to St. Andrew’s this weekend who have had a fine season to date and will definitely fancy their chances against a Blues side which is likely to be made up of youth and fringe players.
History will be made today for two reasons – this is the first time Blues and The Pilgrims have ever met in the FA Cup, while Rebecca Welch will become the first female referee to officiate an FA Cup third-round tie, which is absolutely fantastic.
It is also the first time the teams have met each other since 2013 – Blues running out 3-2 winners on that day in the EFL Cup.
YouTube: Birmingham City 3-2 Plymouth (AET) | Capital One Cup 2013/14 Highlights
Plymouth Argyle – the season so far
As stated above, The Pilgrims have had a fine season to date in League One and just 12 places separate them and Blues. They started the season with a 2-0 away loss to Rotherham, but then went on a streak of 16 unbeaten games in the league, winning 10 of those which took them to the top of League One.
However, this run came to a screeching halt with a 2-0 loss to Charlton and they then went on to lose four of their next seven games, but Argyle have won their last two league games to arrest that record and currently find themselves in sixth position in League One. Argyle haven’t played since Boxing Day due to COVID-related postponements.
Aside from the league, Plymouth were knocked out of the EFL Trophy in the group stage and were beaten 4-1 by Swansea City in the second round of the League Cup. To get to the third round of the FA Cup, they beat Sheffield Wednesday and Rochdale.
They have made it to the third round of the Emirates FA Cup four times in the past eight years, losing to Port Vale after a replay in 2014 before again losing in a replay to Premier League giants Liverpool in 2017.
Plymouth have also had to deal with a managerial change, with former manager Ryan Lowe departing on 7th December to take charge of Preston North End, with Lowe’s now-former assistant Steven Schumacher stepping up to replace him. Although Schumacher has some brief experience when he took charge of Southport as interim coach, this is the first time he has led a team as a manager.
Plymouth Argyle Team News
Panutche Camara will miss the game as he prepares for Guinea-Bissau’s African Cup of Nations opener with Sudan.
Brendan Galloway is also absent with a long-term injury but new signing Alfie Lewis could make his debut.
Argyle will likely employ a 3-5-2 formation, which is a formation that they have stuck by for most of the season.
Plymouth Argyle Fact File
Nickname(s) – The Pilgrims, Green Army
Stadium – Home Park
Founded – 1886
Manager – Steven Schumacher
Colours – Green/White, White/Green
Top Scorer – Ryan Hardie 12 (all competitions)
Did you know?
The club takes its nickname, “The Pilgrims”, from an English religious group that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620. The club crest features the Mayflower, the ship that carried the pilgrims to Massachusetts.
Played for both
This is a tougher game for Blues than it might look on paper. Plymouth are flying, despite their recent stutter, whilst Blues have stuttered for most of the season. Add to that it’s the 3rd Round of the FA Cup and quite literally anything can happen.
The tie must be decided on the day as well, as there are no replays, which means that unfancied teams will have to have a go.
I will tip Blues to win this one and be in the hat for the next round – just.
Blues to win 1-0.
Will Blues be in the hat for the next round? Let Us Know in the comments!