Luton Town Weekly Round-up: Story of Two Encouraging Losses

On paper, January was supposed to be the toughest month yet for Luton Town, yet it has been quite encouraging thus far. Trips to high-flying AFC Bournemouth, Brentford and Blackburn Rovers looked like tests that could damage The Hatters and their intentions of steering clear of a relegation scrap.

A trip to Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup was also on the horizon for Luton, who knew that avoiding an embarrassing defeat would be a job well done.

Luton Town Weekly Round-up: Two Encouraging Losses

An Encouraging Luton Town Second Half Performance Against in-Form Bees

The first test of the week came against the Championship’s most in-form side in Brentford. Ahead of the Wednesday night clash, The Bees were unbeaten in their last 15 and would have been confident of extending that run against a Town side they hit for seven last year.

Like many imagined, Brentford got off to a flying start and were utterly in control of the game. They opened the scoring after 14 minutes when Saman Ghoddos rose highest to nod home from Ivan Toney‘s cross, and they continued this dominance until around the 25-minute mark.

From then on, Luton started to enjoy long spells of possession and managed to get into some good areas behind The Bees’ back-line. By the second half, The Hatters were almost entirely on top. They continued to get in behind Brentford’s defence and they created the chances to level the game, but it was not to be and the hosts managed to secure all three points with a 1-0 win.

There were mixed feelings after the game, many were frustrated that the Bedfordshire side were unable to convert from their many second-half chances, but the overall consensus was a feeling of confidence, recognising the continual improvement The Hatters are making under Nathan Jones.

Increasing Speculation, Lack of Official Deals

Following Rhys Norrington-Daviesshock move to Stoke City, you could forgive Luton fans of reacting rather sharply to transfer speculation. A transfer rumour that emerged at the end of last week, suggesting that Luton were interested in Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Christian Walton, was squashed by Nathan Jones early in the week, reinstating the confidence he had in his current shot-stoppers Simon Sluga and James Shea.

Also, a rumour stating that captain Sonny Bradley was a Preston North End target panicked the Luton faithful, but the story seemed to fizzle out as the week progressed. Another rumour that involved an outgoing was the speculation around Luton’s longest-serving player, Pelly Ruddock Mpanazu. The midfielder – who has played for The Hatters since their non-league days – seem to be attracting the likes of Championship leaders Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion of the Premier League, and with his contract expiring in Summer, the 26-year-old may secure a move sooner rather than later.

However, it seems that Luton would have themselves a replacement lined, in the form of Scott Twine. The Swindon Town midfielder has been targeted by a whole of host of clubs, but it appears that Luton have put an offer on the table for the 21-year-old, according to journalist Alan Nixon.

Much-Anticipated FA Cup Fourth Round Tie at Stamford Bridge

A trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday to face a Chelsea side under severe pressure at present ended a rather encouraging week for Luton Town.

The Blues had won 51 of their 53 ties against lower league opposition, whilst Luton had only won once in their last eight games against Premier League teams, meaning it would be a footballing miracle to see The Town victorious in West London.

The dream of a giant-killing was diminishing after a bright start for The Blues, with Tammy Abraham netting a brace in the opening 16 minutes. However, a far too frequent Kepa Arrizabalaga mistake allowed the visitors back into the game, after the Spaniard fumbled Jordan Clark‘s sweetly struck half-volley.

Chelsea’s second-tier opposition continued to plug away in the second half, proving to be genuine competitors. Harry Cornick had a brilliant chance to level for The Hatters midway through the second half, but Kepa stood strong to deny the former Bournemouth man. The hosts killed the game off with 15 minutes to go, with Abraham securing the match-ball tapping home from no more than two yards out, finishing off a well-worked Chelsea move.

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Images