Luton Town, in their inaugural Premier League (PL) campaign, may have yet to secure a victory, but manager Rob Edwards believes there’s been notable “progression” in his team’s performances. Edwards emphasized the diligent fight his side displayed in their most recent match, even though they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against Fulham last weekend. However, Edwards knows that sheer determination alone won’t suffice to keep Luton in the top-flight as they prepare to return to Kenilworth Road for a showdown with Wolves.
Expectations were high that Luton’s home form would serve as their saving grace this season. However, they were swiftly reminded of the harsh realities of the PL when they suffered a 2-1 loss to West Ham in their only previous home league fixture this term. Historical omens provide little guidance for Luton in this encounter, as it marks the first league meeting between these sides since 2007. However, there was another encounter in between—a memorable 1-0 FA Cup victory in January 2013—when Luton was in the Conference and Wolves were in the Championship.
Since then, the fortunes of both clubs have undergone drastic transformations. Luton’s remarkable ascent has seen them reach the top-flight, while Wolves, once basking in the glow of European football, have seen their fortunes fade. Wolves’ recent PL record includes four defeats in their opening five matches (with one win). It may be some consolation for them that this solitary victory occurred away from home against Everton, a team currently sharing the bottom three positions with Luton.
Wolves’ struggles away from home have been evident throughout 2023, with just two PL away wins (three draws and nine losses). Their recent defensive woes are a glaring issue, with the 1-0 win at Goodison Park being the only occasion they managed a clean sheet during that period. These defensive problems resurfaced in Wolves’ most recent outing, a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, prompting manager Gary O’Neil to criticize the “crazy goals” conceded by his team.
Two players to watch in this encounter are Luton’s Mads Andersen and Wolves’ Nélson Semedo. Andersen has been the scorer of Luton’s only PL goal at Kenilworth Road this season. Notably, his last eight club goals have all been headers, showcasing his aerial presence. On the other side, Nélson Semedo, a robust defender for Wolves, has accumulated three yellow cards due to his ten or more fouls, putting him among the top eight PL players in terms of fouls committed.
A notable statistic is that Luton has conceded goals after the hour mark in all four of their PL outings this season, indicating a potential vulnerability in the latter stages of matches. As Luton strives to secure their first PL win and Wolves aim to overcome their defensive woes, this clash at Kenilworth Road promises to be a critical encounter for both sides, each looking to find their footing in the demanding Premier League.