Luton Town v Manchester United: Premier League – live | Premier League

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Key events

39 min Casemiro flirts with a red card! He fouls Barkley and the Luton players surround the ref. Maguire, United’s shop steward, gets in there too, Casemiro ends up yelling at Garnacho, when he should be thanking his lucky stars.

38 min Before that chance, a Luton attack had been smothered by the unlikely figure of Rashford, racing back, completing a tackle and then starting something for United, which came to nothing. Luton are playing as if they were 2-1 up.

36 min Chance for Luton! It’s Morris again, shooting through the legs of Varane and not far past the post.

35 min Yet another Luton attack is halted by the flag going up for offside.

33 min Morris goes down and that’s a yellow card for Casemiro, to add to his impressive collection. Before that, a Luton attack was snuffed out by Dalot with the sliding block that has become his signature.

31 min Luton have secured that record I mentioned several hours ago, scoring in 12 successive top-flight games for the first time ever. More importantly, they’ve got right back into this game. Since the goal, they’ve been the better team.

30 min Chance for Luton! Maguire presents a gift to Barkley, who sends Woodrow through – but the shot is easily blocked. From the resulting corner, Doughty has a free header, only to send it into Row H.

28 min Luton win a free kick on the left wing and then hang around the United box for the first time. When United finally clear, they have a two-on-two at the other end, but the ball out to the right from Fernandes sends Garnacho too far wide.

25 min Morris, the main man for Luton as well as the captain, now plays a fine ball out to the right, but Luke Shaw deals with it. United are about 20pc better in defence when Shaw is fit, and more than that in attack

24 min … And yet the game is wide open. A cross comes in from Doughty on the Luton left and Morris has another header, over the bar this time.

21 min You know the way United’s midfield was being sliced open for most of last autumn? That’s what keeps happening to Luton here.

21 min A free kick for Luton 35 yards out, but they can’t make anything of it.

Only one of these men has a 1988 League Cup winners’ medal. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images/Reuters

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20 min United are doing the thing their fans so often implore of them: attack, attack, attack. Garnacho blows a good chance to set Fernandes up for a screamer.

17 min The first yellow of the game goes to Cauley Woodrow, for not getting 10 yards from a free kick. There could then be another for Rashford, who commits a foul in anger after being clattered in the Luton box.

Carlton Morris scored with a header, his third in successive games. But it was mainly thanks to Tahith Chong, who started the move and supplied the assist by going into the inside-left channel, for about the fourth time in the game. He had a hand from a deflection, which made the ball loop up kindly, but Morris was brave. At this rate, the game will end 6-12.

GOAL! Luton 1-2 Man United (Morris 14)

Game on!

Carlton Morris heads Luton back into it! Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

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12 min A glimmer for Luton as a fine long ball picks out Ogbene, racing in from the right. Like Hojlund just now, he takes the ball on his chest; unlike him, he just helps it into the hands of the keeper.

10 min Another chance for Rashford! He picks up the ball from Maguire on halfway, keeps on running and shoots from the D again. Maguire had kept on running too, improbably, and may feel the return pass was the better option. United have started like a top team: the question is, can they play like one for 90 minutes?

9 min Luton again bustle into the box. They are not losing through lack of spirit.

It was Hojlund – with his chest, swivelling to steer Garnacho’s wayward shot into the net after a United corner. And it did look deliberate.

GOAL! Luton 0-2 Man United (Garnacho or Hojlund 6)

And another!

Rasmus Hojlund gets his chest onto the ball to make it two-nil to Man Utd. What a start from the visitors Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images/Reuters

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4 min Chance for Rashford! He drifted into space in the D and was easily fed by Garnacho. His shot was on target but easily batted away by Kaminski.

3 min Undaunted, Luton get forward again, but Tahith Chong overhits his cross after doing well to reach the byline.

Casemiro hoofed the ball forward, and a poor square pass let Hojlund in. He took his time, went round the keeper, seemed to have gone too wide, but put his shot away like a man who had scored five in successive league games. Now six – the youngest player to do so in the Premier League, beating Joe Willock’s record.

GOAL! Luton 0-1 Man United (Hojliund 1)

That man again.

Rasmus Hojlund goes round Kaminski in the Luton goal to put United a goal up in the opening minute. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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1 min Luton kick off, and get into the box. But…

A late change for Luton

Elijah Adebayo picked up an injury in the warm-up, so he drops out of the starting XI. His place at centre-forward is taken by Cauley Woodrow, whose last Premier League start came (for Fulham) in 2014. He scored that day, albeit for a team that had already been relegated.

Now it’s Erik ten Hag’s turn to talk. Emma Saunders asks him about Scott McTominay being on the bench. “He deserves to play, but I cannot line up 12. Definitely he is one always in my mind during the week, how can we put him in the first XI. Hard choice, but as you know he is Laos very good coming from the bench.”

How do Luton make it difficult for teams that come here? “Not only here… The whole season, they play very good, and the last weeks they are really making steps forward, so we have to play our best football… It needs 100pc focus – otherwise we have a big problem.”

Rob Edwards is talking to Sky now, with Tom Lockyer next to him. Asked about last weekend’s home defeat by Sheffield United, Edwards is understandably keen to move onto the present. “In a strange way,” he says, “this game probably suits us more. It won’t take much for the fans to be up for it.”

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Tom Lockyer has been talking about the moment when football really was a matter of life and death.

In today’s other game, Brighton have just scored their fifth. Poor old Sheffield United, reduced to ten men by a shocker of a tackle from Mason Holgate, now have a goal difference of minus 43. Do join Dominic Booth for the gory details.

Pre-match reading

For his column in the Observer, Jonathan Wilson has been pondering United’s improvement and especially their forward line. It may be the only football piece you ever read that contains the phrase “a dour husband”.

Teams in full

Luton (probable 3-4-2-1) Kaminski; Mengi, Osho, Bell; Chong, Lokonga, Barkley, Doughty; Ogbene, Morris; Adebayo.

Subs: Krul, Burke, Kaboré, Mpanzu, Berry, Nelson, Townsend, Clark, Woodrow.

Man United (probable 4-1-2-3) Onana; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Casemiro; Mainoo, Fernandes; Garnacho, Hojlund, Rashford.

Subs: Bayindir, Lindelof, Evans, Amrabat, Eriksen, McTominay, Antony, Amad, Forson.

Referee David Coote.

Teams in brief: Shaw starts, and so does Chong

Luke Shaw has been passed fit, so Erik ten Hag sticks with his settled first XI (bar the injured Lisandro Martinez). Rob Edwards gives a start to two Man United alumni, with Tahith Chong joining Teden Mengi. Andros Townsend is on the bench.

Preamble

Hello, good afternoon and welcome to what should be a tasty Sunday teatime. It’s Kenilworth Road, Luton v Man United, 17th v sixth, David v Goliath. It’s a Premier League game that feels more like a cup tie.

When it comes to form, there’s not much between the two sides. In the table for the past two months, as of this morning, United were sixth and Luton were eighth. Both clubs have been making things happen at both ends of the pitch. United’s cumulative score in the league since 18 December is 15-12, while Luton’s is 16-13. The form book is telling us this will be a nice open game that ends two-and-a-half all.

United have a record to preserve: they are formidable in February, unbeaten in 25 league games since Valentine’s Day 2018, when they were still trying to make things work with Jose Mourinho. Luton have a record to claim: after scoring in every league match since mid-November, they are poised to go 12 top-flight games without drawing a blank for the first time in their history.

The last opponents to keep a clean sheet against them in the league were … Man United, with a 1-0 win in the reverse fixture. The winner was scored by Victor Lindelof, who will probably only start today as a makeshift left-back, if Luke Shaw is unfit. Andros Townsend might like the sound of that.

Neither side can move up or down the table today, but there’s still more than enough at stake. Erik ten Hag needs a win to stay within shouting distance of Spurs, Villa and the Champions League. Rob Edwards could do with one to pull away from Everton and put pressure on Palace. And while United’s front three have finally come together to pose a consistent threat, Luton have worked out how to score goals against their biggers and betters, bagging four against Brighton and Newcastle and even managing three against Arsenal.

Kick-off is at 4.30pm GMT and I’ll be back soon with the teams. Meanwhile, here’s a face in the crowd.





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