Luton are 14th in the Championship table at the time of writing, seven points outside the play-off places. How would you summarise what you’ve seen so far this season?
It’s been an excellent opening to the campaign for the Hatters, particularly after the season they had prior, staying up on the final day. Quite a few outside the club would have expected them to struggle once more, but that was never the case for boss Nathan Jones who wanted them to push on this term and prove they belong at this level. At home they have been far better, putting together a good run of results before last week’s disappointing reverse to QPR where they just had what could be termed as a very bad day at the office. Despite the defeat though, they still remain 11 points away from the bottom three at the half-way stage and are well on their way to securing another season in the second tier.
They were right among the favourites for relegation for much of last term but have managed to steer well clear of the drop zone so far. Are there any factors you can pinpoint that have been a catalyst for this?
The return of Jones is a massive factor in the club starting so well this season as he came back after lockdown and did a superb job in keeping them up, and there is no doubt, for me, they would have gone down had he not come back. He just gets the club and sends Town out with far more desire and belief that they can win games at this level, something that was lacking at times last term. Also, an increased solidity at the back is another huge reason why Town are doing so well this time around, already keeping the same amount of clean sheets as they managed last season, and it gives them a chance in games now, rather than constantly being behind and having to chase things. They have used the loan market far better than at the start of last season as well, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall having an excellent season, while Jones’ permanent business strengthened the team as well, with Tom Lockyer now earning his chance at centre-half and not doing too much wrong.
Luton have scored the least goals of any of the Championship’s top 15 teams, with James Collins the only player to have notched more than twice in the league. Is that proving a slight worry in any way?
It is definitely a concern for the Hatters as they are relying on one player to get the bulk of the goals at the moment, so when Collins doesn’t score, then there aren’t too many others who do. He has managed nine goals this term, but four came in his first two games, and he is now on a run of five games without finding the net, so others do really need to start chipping in. Away from home is the main worry as they only recently ended a drought of over eight hours without finding the net in the 2-1 defeat at Reading, and have notched a mere five times from 11 matches, which has led to their struggles on the road, going six without a win.
Which player should Brentford fans be keeping an eye on during the Hatters’ trip to west London on Wednesday?
The main star for Luton this season has been their on-loan Leicester City midfielder Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (pictured above). Jones was very excited when managing to acquire the youngster for the season and it’s very easy to see why that was the reason with some sparkling displays, particularly at home. He is capable of grabbing a game by the scruff of its neck and getting Luton going with a fine array of passing and is also tough to knock off the ball as well. He has a definite eye for a goal too, opening his account recently and it’s easy to see why Brendan Rodgers gave him a long-term contract before agreeing to his move to Kenilworth Road as he clearly has a bright future.
How is Nathan Jones likely to set up his side at the Brentford Community Stadium?
After last Tuesday night’s defeat, it’s likely Jones will go with a 4-3-3 formation that can quickly become a 4-5-1 when the Hatters don’t have the ball. He will look to make the visitors hard to break down and ensure they are still in the game for long periods, while attempting to nick a goal on the counter, with Bees expected to have the majority of possession.
Brentford have won four of the last five meetings between the two sides, but what’s your score prediction for this one?
It’s hard to look beyond a Brentford win, as they are easily one of, if not, the best team I’ve seen this season, so I’ll go for a 3-0 win for the Bees.
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