Erik ten Hag’s men will aim to bounce back from another Champions League setback on Saturday at Old Trafford. We look ahead with our data-powered Manchester United vs Luton Town preview and prediction.
Manchester United vs Luton Town: The Quick Hits
- Manchester United (61.8%) are big favourites to take the three points when they host Luton Town (14.9%) at Old Trafford, as predicted by the Opta supercomputer.
- Marcus Rashford could make his 250th Premier League appearance in this match. He would be the 16th different player to reach this milestone for Man Utd, while at 26 years and 11 days old on the day of this game, he would become the youngest to do so.
- Luton are yet to keep a clean sheet in the competition after 11 games, with only Leicester City in 1994 having conceded in their first 12 Premier League matches (first 18 in total).
Manchester United will look to make it back-to-back Premier League victories when they host relegation-threatened Luton Town at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Having suffered consecutive 3-0 defeats to Manchester City and Newcastle United in the league and EFL Cup, United responded with a much-needed Premier League victory at Craven Cottage against Fulham last weekend, with Bruno Fernandes scoring in injury time to secure a 1-0 win.
All three of Fernandes’ goals this term in the Premier League have been the winning goal, with no player netting more such goals this season, and the important victory eased some of the mounting pressure on manager Erik ten Hag, moving United up to eighth in the league table, six points off the UEFA Champions League places. Speaking of the Champions League, though, United suffered another setback on Wednesday with a 4-3 defeat at FC Copenhagen to leave their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage up in the air.
Saturday’s game with Luton will be Ten Hag’s 50th Premier League match in charge of the Red Devils, becoming the 17th manager to reach that many top-flight games with United. A victory will see him become the only one to win as many as 30 of his first 50 with the club.
Saturday’s opponents Luton head into Matchday 12 only out of the bottom three on goal difference having won just one of their 11 league outings, though that sole victory did come away from home, beating Everton 2-1 in September thanks to goals from Tom Lockyer and Carlton Morris.
And United have shown recent fragility at Old Trafford, losing their last two games on home soil in all competitions; another defeat this weekend would mark the first time they have been defeated in three straight home games since October 1962.
They will have to watch out for Luton’s strong finishes to matches, with only Arsenal and Liverpool (eight each) scoring more goals in the final 15 minutes of Premier League games than Rob Edwards’ men (seven), with their goals during this timeframe accounting for 70% of their total goals so far.
Ten-man United were beaten 4-3 at Copenhagen on Wednesday after Marcus Rashford was sent off in the first half in another huge blow to their Champions League hopes. They also suffered the added problem of Jonny Evans limping off, and Raphaël Varane, who came on to deputies, could get the nod on Saturday if Evans is unable to recover in time. Long-term absentees Casemiro and Lisandro Martínez aren’t expected back until after Christmas, according to Ten Hag.
While Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia are reportedly nearing a return to action, the fixture with Luton is too soon for them to play. Jadon Sancho remains suspended after a fallout with Ten Hag, and there is a real possibility he has already played his last game in a United shirt.
For Luton, this game comes too soon for Albert Sambi Lokonga and Luke Berry while Reece Burke, Dan Potts and Mads Andersen are not expected back until later this year or early 2024. However, Edwards could be boosted by the return of Amari’i Bell to the lineup, absent for the last four games with a hamstring injury.
Manchester United vs Luton Town Head-to-Head
This is the first league meeting between Man Utd and Luton since April 1992 (a 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road), and the first at Old Trafford since a 5-0 United win in September 1991.
Luton are winless in 11 meetings with United in all competitions (D2 L9) since a 2-1 home win in March 1987. This is their first game against them since a 3-0 home loss in the EFL Cup in September 2020.
Since losing their first ever home league game against Luton in 1897, United have now won their last 18 against the Hatters, a run stretching back to 1899; in English Football League history, only Everton against Fulham (22, 1961-2018) and Coventry against Norwich (19, 1937-1979) have had longer winning home runs against a side.
United’s late defeat at Copenhagen was their third in four outings in all competitions and leaves their chances of reaching the Champions League’s knockout stages in serious doubt, bottom of Group A after four games. It was also the third time in four matches that they have shipped at least three goals.
While Luton are winless in five, they have picked up a point in two of their last three outings, including a 2-2 draw away at the City Ground, where Nottingham Forest are so strong, before they also took a point off Liverpool last weekend.
United have lost five home games this season, their most after 10 matches in all competitions since 1930-31 (also five). They’ve never lost as many as six of their first 11 at home in a single season before.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Manchester United vs Luton Town Prediction
The Opta supercomputer has Manchester United as big favourites to come out on top at Old Trafford on Saturday, victorious in 61.8% of the 10,000 match simulations conducted ahead of the weekend’s action.
Luton have taken points in two of their last three away league outings, but they are given just a 14.9% chance of coming away from Old Trafford with all three points. A draw would be a great result for Edwards’ men, though, and the teams share the spoils in 23.3% of simulations.
United were predicted to finish fourth in Opta’s pre-season predictions, but a below-par start means their most likely finish is now estimated to be eighth, finishing in the top four in just 5.2% of simulations. Luton are predicted to finish the highest of the three promoted sides, though Opta still feels they will go down, relegated in 66.8% of simulations.