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Plymouth Argyle
Championship | Gameweek 8
Sep 23, 2023 at 3pm UK
Home Park
Norwich logo

6 - 2

Whittaker (15', 45+3', 59'), Scarr (35'), Azaz (45+5'), Cundle (90+7')
Scarr (68')
FT(HT: 4-0)
Idah (72', 78' pen.)

Preview: Plymouth Argyle vs. Norwich City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Plymouth Argyle and Norwich City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both aiming to bounce back from midweek defeats, Plymouth Argyle and Norwich City will do battle at Home Park on Saturday.

After a strong start to the season, the visitors' defeat to Leicester City saw them drop to fifth spot in the Championship table, while their hosts sit 18th with seven points from their opening seven outings.

Match preview

Norwich City manager David Wagner applauds the fans after the match on August 26, 2023© Reuters

After surpassing 100 points to win League One under Steven Schumacher last time around, Plymouth Argyle set out to impress on their return to England's second tier this term, having last featured in the Championship in 2010.

They succeeded in making a winning start at home to Huddersfield Town and followed that up with a creditable goalless draw away at Watford to make it four points from two outings, but the Pilgrims have struggled to build on those foundations since, managing just three more points in their last five attempts.

A first defeat of the campaign came at home to newly-relegated Southampton, with Che Adams netting the decisive goal deep into injury time, they again fell to a 2-1 loss in the following contest against Birmingham City, before at least heading into the international break on the back of a victory as they comfortably beat Blackburn Rovers 3-0 at Home Park at the beginning of September thanks to goals from Finn Azaz, Ryan Hardie and Luke Cundle.

Then returning from the break with seven points on the board from five matches, the Pilgrims travelled to take on former manager Ryan Lowe and league leaders Preston North End last weekend and succumbed to a narrow 2-1 defeat, before their tough run continued on Tuesday in a 4-1 thrashing away at Bristol City, despite Adam Randell pulling the game back to 2-1 in the first half, as Sam Bell, Matty James, Mark Sykes and Harry Cornick all found the net for their hosts.

While their points tally of seven points from seven games is certainly not concerning at this stage, Schumacher's men will likely be disappointed having lost four of their last five, and they will now aim to correct their form and begin climbing back up the division with a third win of the campaign this weekend.

Plymouth Argyle manager Steven Schumacher on September 16, 2023© Reuters

Their visitors, meanwhile, travel south hoping to bounce back from a defeat of their own in midweek, after enjoying a stronger start to their league campaign and promotion bid under the management of David Wagner.

Following a disappointing 13th-placed finish last time around, the Canaries set out to fight at the top end of England's second tier this season, and they kicked off in impressive fashion, scoring 10 points from their first four outings as an opening-day victory over Hull City and a 4-4 draw away at newly-relegated Southampton were followed by 3-1 and 4-0 beatings of Millwall and Huddersfield Town respectively.

Aiming to go into the international break on a high with their unbeaten start intact, Wagner's men then travelled to Rotherham United and saw their momentum halted by a first defeat, eventually losing 2-1 despite Christian Fassnacht pulling a goal back early in the second half, before they marked the return from the break with a swift return to winning ways last weekend, beating Stoke City 1-0 at Carrow Road thanks to Jack Stacey's goal on the stroke of half time.

Such a result saw the Norfolk outfit move back into the leading pack with 13 points from just six outings ahead of a tough test at home to fellow promotion hopefuls Leicester City on Wednesday, but they came out of that meeting empty-handed, as Kelechi Iheanacho put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot late in the first half before Kasey McAteer wrapped up a 2-0 away win with the Foxes' second in the dying minutes.

Still with little cause for concern, having impressed thus far with the league's joint-best attacking record while only suffering two defeats, one of which came against a high-flying Leicester side, Norwich will focus on again bouncing back on their trip to Home Park on Saturday with the chance to move back within touching distance of the top three if other results go their way.

Plymouth Argyle Championship form:

Plymouth Argyle form (all competitions):

Norwich City Championship form:

Norwich City form (all competitions):

Team News

Norwich City's Adam Idah celebrates scoring their fourth goal on August 26, 2023© Reuters

After rotating heavily on Tuesday, due to the busy Championship schedule, Steven Schumacher should make several changes to his Plymouth Argyle starting XI on Saturday and move back towards a full-strength setup, with Ryan Hardie bound to come back in and lead the line, having already netted a joint-league-high tally of five Championship goals so far this term after helping fire them to promotion by scoring 13 in the third tier last time around.

The entirety of the front line from the defeat to Bristol City should indeed change with key men Morgan Whittaker and Finn Azaz also likely to come back in from the start in place of Callum Wright and Tyreik Wright.

Elsewhere, Bali Mumba and Jordan Houghton are both expected to come back into the midfield, leaving Luke Cundle, Lewis Warrington and Adam Randell to fight for their places, while Lewis Gibson and Dan Sarr should again partner up in the middle of the back four in front of Conor Hazard, who keeps his place between the sticks in the ongoing absence of Michael Cooper, who has been sidelined by injury since last season.

On the contrary to their hosts, Norwich only made one change for their midweek outing against Leicester City, and we should again see a similar lineup in a 4-2-3-1 shape, with experienced forward Ashley Barnes again set to lead the line, with Joshua Sargent ruled out by a long-term injury after netting three goals in their first four league games of the season.

With Borja Sainz having not yet made a return to full fitness in order to make a Canaries debut, Barnes should again be flanked by Jon Rowe, who has impressed with four league goals of his own so far this term, and summer signing Christian Fassnacht, while Liam Gibbs came into the supporting trio last time out and will fight to keep his starting spot.

Behind them, Kenny McLean and star man Gabriel Sara will again partner up in the engine room, with Marcelino Nunez confined to the treatment room, while Wagner will again deploy an experienced centre-back pairing of Ben Gibson and Shane Duffy.

Plymouth Argyle possible starting lineup:
Hazard; Kesler-Hayden, Scarr, Gibson, Miller; Randell, Houghton, Mumba; Whittaker, Hardie, Azaz

Norwich City possible starting lineup:
Gunn; Stacey, Gibson, Duffy, Giannoulis; Sara, McLean; Fassnacht, Gibbs, Rowe; Barnes

SM words green background

We say: Plymouth Argyle 2-2 Norwich City

While their recent form has not reflected it, Plymouth Argyle do have the tools to hurt anyone in the Championship, particularly a Home Park, and we predict an eventful contest which could end level given both sides' attacking quality.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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