Ian Foster's exit from Plymouth Argyle has already rattled team dynamic. . .
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Plymouth Argyle

Ian Foster’s exit from Plymouth Argyle has already rattled team dynamics and player confidence.

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Plymouth Argyle have collected four points out of a possible six after manager Ian Foster’s resignation.

 

The Queens Park Rangers draw was not the most impressive performance, but the team remains in control of their destiny.

 

Morgan Whittaker, an Argyle player who has looked different on the pitch since the shift in the dugout, is already returning to his previous self.

The struggles of Whittaker under Foster

Whittaker scored six goals and assisted on two others during Foster’s brief tenure as manager of the club.

This includes 14 league games as well as two FA Cup matches against Leeds United, and while it may not sound bad on paper, it was a significant drop from his early-season form.

During Steven Schumacher’s reign, the Argyle attacker competed with current top scorer Sammie Szmodics and Southampton’s Adam Armstrong for the top spot in the Championship scoring statistics.

He had a solid start under Foster as well, but a dry spell emerged, coinciding with the team’s troubles.

Between February and March, Whittaker went five games without scoring or assisting, including a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough and four defeats.

During this time, he accumulated a measly 0.54 xG+A, with the home loss to West Bromwich Albion being the lowest of the lows, with only 0.03. His single shot of the game was blocked, however he generated one chance and made ten passes (FotMob).

A fresh start at Home Park

Argyle won away at Rotherham United in the first game after Foster’s dismissal, with Bali Mumba scoring the only goal.

Mumba was supported by his fellow record-signing Whittaker, and the duo was far more impactful than they had been in previous weeks.

The former Swansea City player delivered an excellent pass, and Mumba took advantage of the opportunity.

Whittaker was fouled twice, completed four passes in the final third, and had 52 touches. Aside from that, he took five shots, two of which were on goal, and created three opportunities.

Whittaker didn’t do as well in the recent draw with the R’s, but it was still a significant improvement above his performances under Foster.

He was playing with a lot of restrictions under his last manager, and now it looks like night and day, the way the wideman is willing to pick up the ball wherever in the attacking third, surge forward, and take shots.

Whittaker had an xA of 0.44 and an xG of 0.16 in the match with fellow relegation strugglers QPR, thanks to 74% pass accuracy and four total shots, two of which were on target.

Statistics can always be used to demonstrate an attacker’s effectiveness, but they can extend well beyond that. Argyle’s star player appears to be enjoying his football once more, which may be the difference in this important run-in for the Greens.

Whittaker was one of the most dangerous forwards in the Championship when he was on form earlier in the season, and if he can consistently return to pre-Foster standards, Argyle may not face relegation.

 

 

 

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