Luton Town return to the top flight for the first time since 1992, and face a tough game to welcome them back, with a trip to Brighton. Here, we preview the game, including the Opta match prediction.
Brighton vs Luton: The Quick Hits
- In the Opta supercomputer’s 10,000 simulations of the 2023-24 season, Premier League debutants Luton finished bottom of the table more often than in any other league position, doing so 28.1% of the time. Brighton’s most common league finish was seventh (13.0%).
- For this individual match, the supercomputer makes Brighton big favourites, with a 56.4% chance of winning, compared to just 18.9% for Luton.
- Brighton and Luton last met in the league in 2007-08 in League One. Brighton won both meetings that season.
Luton Town are back in the top flight for the first time in more than 30 years. It could be a tough return to the big time for them with so much quality in the Premier League these days – our supercomputer reckons they are most likely to finish bottom of the league – but they will make sure to enjoy the experience nonetheless.
Rob Edwards took the team from mid-table when he joined in November into the Championship play-offs, and after beating Coventry City on penalties at Wembley, they are now set for their Premier League debut this weekend. They become the 51st team to play in the Premier League since it began in 1992.
Both teams have spent much of their recent history outside the top flight, last meeting 16 seasons ago in League One. The last time they met in the top flight was in 1982-83 – that was also the only previous season they spent together in the old Division One.
Brighton have become one of the best and most exciting teams in the Premier League under Roberto De Zerbi, and after finishing sixth last season, expectations will be high for another campaign of overachievement.
They produced some incredible performances and results last season, beating Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, and were rightly lauded for the many upsets they produced. However, they were disappointing in many of their games against lower-table teams, and lost three of their six matches against newly promoted teams. Perhaps this game isn’t as foregone a conclusion as the supercomputer suggests…
Luton have been very active in the transfer market this summer, signing a host of players that impressed at various clubs within the EFL last season. Chiedozie Ogbene, Mads Andersen, Tahith Chong, Ryan Giles, Thomas Kaminski and Jacob Brown have all arrrived, while loan star from their promotion-winning campaign, Marvelous Nakamba, has joined permanently from Aston Villa. Arguably the pick of their signings, however, is former Everton and Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley – signed on a free transfer earlier this week.
Andersen missed their final pre-season game with illness but was named in the starting XI, though Luton were missing a trio of injured players that helped them win promotion – Jordan Clark, Dan Potts and Gabriel Osho.
Brighton included £30 million summer signing Joao Pedro in their starting XI after joining from Luton’s rivals Watford. James Milner has also joined after leaving Liverpool and will hope to move further up the all-time Premier League appearance rankings this season. Other business done by Brighton in the transfer market this summer includes the incomings of Mahmoud Dahoud and goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen. Moises Caicedo is one player that looks likely to leave the club very soon, following the news that Liverpool have agreed a fee with Brighton for his transfer, though Chelsea reportedly remain favourites to land him.
Brighton vs Luton Head-to-Head
Games between these two teams have been rare in recent years. They have only been in a league together in three seasons since 1982-83, which was also the last time they were in the top flight at the same time. Before that they met much more often, though they haven’t met on the opening day of a season since 1928-29, when they faced off in the Third Division South. Overall, Luton lead a very even head-to-head 24 wins to 23, with 16 games drawn.
Both teams ended last season in good form. Brighton’s last five games included meetings with Arsenal, City and Newcastle, and they still held on to sixth place and earned a spot in the UEFA Europa League this season. Luton, meanwhile, finished the 2022-23 Championship season (excluding play-offs) with a 14-game unbeaten run (eight wins and six draws), conceding just seven goals in that period. It’s their longest run without defeat since a 28-game streak in League One between October and April in 2018-19. They’ll do very well to extend their unbeaten run for even a couple of games in the Premier League.
Brighton vs Luton Prediction
Brighton are favourites to win this game, coming into it with a 56.4% chance of victory according to the Opta supercomputer. Luton have just under a one-in-five chance of winning (18.9%), leaving the draw at a 24.7% likelihood.
Brighton were brilliant last season and certainly have the quality to beat a newly promoted team on home soil, but they do have to adjust to life without Alexis Mac Allister, so they might take a bit of time to get going. Then again, they have lost big players before and always contend remarkably well with those losses, so there’s good reason to count them as big favourites.