Matchday 21 in the Premier League begins with a huge relegation six-pointer. We look ahead to Friday’s game at Turf Moor with our Burnley vs Luton prediction and preview.
Burnley vs Luton Stats: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer makes Burnley slight favourites for Friday’s meeting of relegation candidates, giving the Clarets a 38.5% chance of beating Luton Town (32.4%).
- Burnley are the first team in English top-flight history to lose nine of their first 10 home games at the start of a campaign. Throughout Football League history, only Newport County in the fourth tier in 1970-71 have ever lost 10 of their first 11 at home to start a season.
- Following their 3-2 victory at Sheffield United on Boxing Day, Luton could win back-to-back away games in the top flight for the first time since December 1987, when they did so under Ray Harford.
With FA Cup third-round weekend done and dusted, the Premier League returns for a staggered Matchday 21 as half the competition’s teams take a winter break. There are still plenty of intriguing contests taking place, though, starting on Friday as Burnley face Luton Town at Turf Moor in a match which could have huge ramifications for both teams’ survival hopes.
With 17th-placed Everton not in action until Sunday, when they host Aston Villa, second-from-bottom Burnley know they will move within two points of safety with a win. However, Vincent Kompany’s side are coming off a frustrating festive period, having suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats against Liverpool (2-0) and Aston Villa (3-2) since beating Fulham 2-0 on 23 December.
Burnley produced a gallant performance against Tottenham in the FA Cup last Friday, but Pedro Porro’s stunning strike was the difference, with Zeki Amdouni missing a glaring chance to send the tie to a replay at the death.
Kompany’s men are now able to focus purely on their survival bid, though they must improve their home form if they are to have any chance of avoiding the drop. Burnley have lost nine of their 10 home Premier League games this campaign, the exception being a 5-0 rout of Sheffield United.
They are the first team in English top-flight history to lose nine of their first 10 home matches at the start of a season, while only one team has ever lost 10 of their first 11 in Football League history – Newport County doing so as a fourth-tier side in 1970-71.
Lyle Foster’s omission from South Africa’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations could prove a major boost to Burnley in the coming weeks, with the striker boasting four goals and three assists in just 894 minutes of Premier League action this campaign. However, Foster sustained a knock in last week’s defeat at Tottenham and must be assessed before Friday’s game.
Burnley are also hoping to have defenders Jordan Beyer and Hjalmar Ekdal available, though Charlie Taylor is doubtful with a shoulder injury and Luca Koleosho is a long-term absentee.
Though Burnley were tipped by many to impress on their top-flight return in pre-season, Luton have been the most competitive of the promoted clubs thus far, and they know a victory at Turf Moor would lift them out of the bottom three as well as dragging Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace into the relegation conversation.
Rob Edwards’ Hatters enjoyed a broadly positive festive period, clinching back-to-back wins over Newcastle United (1-0) and Sheffield United (3-2) before just coming up short in a 3-2 defeat to Chelsea, almost fighting back from 3-0 down to earn a point at Kenilworth Road. They were then held to a goalless draw by third-tier Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup, with a replay to be held next week.
Ross Barkley and Elijah Adebayo were on target as Luton were just held off by Chelsea on their last league outing, and both have emerged as key players for the Hatters in recent weeks. Adebayo is their leading Premier League scorer with five goals in the competition, though only one of those efforts – against Forest in October – has come on the road.
The only Luton player with more than one away league goal this campaign is Carlton Morris (two), who has fallen down the pecking order after going 13 league games without netting, home or away.
With Adebayo always offering an aerial threat, Luton might fancy their chances of adding to Burnley’s set-piece woes on Friday. Only Forest (nine) have conceded more goals from dead-ball situations (excluding penalties) than Burnley’s eight in the Premier League this season, with the Clarets giving up a competition-high 8.41 expected goals (xG) from such scenarios.
The dead-ball prowess of Alfie Doughty could allow Luton to take advantage of those frailties, with only West Ham’s James Ward-Prowse creating more chances (25) or recording more assists (five) from set-pieces than Doughty (22 chances created, four assists) in the Premier League this term.
Issa Kaboré will be absent after being named in Burkina Faso’s AFCON squad, but Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu is available after being overlooked by DR Congo. Marvelous Nakamba and Tom Lockyer are Luton’s long-term absentees, with Reece Burke closing in on a return after suffering a thigh injury.
Burnley vs Luton Head-to-Head
This will be Burnley’s first home game against Luton in the top flight since January 1975, when a Billy Ingham goal handed them a 1-0 win.
The Clarets are unbeaten in their last seven league games against Luton overall, winning four and drawing three. After earning their first Premier League win of the season at Kenilworth Road in October, they could do the double over the Hatters for the first time since 1994-95 in the second tier.
Jacob Bruun Larsen scored a stunning winner five minutes from time in the reverse fixture, with that goal coming just 65 seconds after Adebayo cancelled out Foster’s opener to make it 1-1.
However, Luton have a good record at Turf Moor, going unbeaten through their last seven away league games against Burnley (three wins, four draws) since suffering a 2-1 defeat in March 1995 under David Pleat.
Following their dramatic Boxing Day victory over Sheffield United, Luton are targeting back-to-back away wins in the top flight for the first time since December 1987, when they achieved the feat under Ray Harford.
Burnley, meanwhile, have only won one of their last seven games across all competitions since thrashing the Blades in early December, drawing one and losing five during that time.
Though the Clarets have failed to score in their last two at Turf Moor, neutrals may have reason to expect some prime-time entertainment on Friday.
Thirteen goals have been scored across the three previous Premier League matches between promoted clubs this season, at an average of 4.3 per game. That is the highest figure ever recorded in matches between promoted sides in a single campaign in the competition.
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 in this match, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Burnley vs Luton Opta Player Ratings
Before kick-off in this match, here are the top five performing players from both teams in the 2023-24 Premier League according to the Opta Player Ratings:
Josh Cullen: 62.5 (out of 100)
Lyle Foster: 60.4
Zeki Amdouni: 59.5
James Trafford: 57.4
Josh Brownhill: 57.4
Ross Barkley: 65.6 (out of 100)
Elijah Adebayo: 64.2
Chiedozie Ogbene: 61.8
Thomas Kaminski: 60.9
Alfie Doughty: 60.8
Burnley vs Luton Prediction
Friday’s game appears a difficult one to call, and that can be seen in the Opta supercomputer‘s predictions.
Of 10,000 match simulations conducted ahead of kick-off, Burnley won 38.5% to Luton’s 32.4%, with 29.1% finishing level.
The outcome of this contest could have a huge impact on both teams’ survival chances, with Luton currently given more hope of escaping the drop than Burnley.
In the supercomputer’s season predictions, Luton are relegated in 65.3% of scenarios, giving them a 34.7% chance of survival. Burnley, meanwhile, return to the Championship in 91.6% of our simulations, finishing 19th 46.5% of the time.