Having battled their way past Aston Villa, Erik ten Hag’s side are in the mix for European football next term. We look ahead to Sunday’s Premier League clash with our Luton Town vs Manchester United preview and prediction.

Luton vs Manchester United Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Manchester United are backed to defeat Luton Town by the Opta supercomputer, winning 46.9% of pre-match simulations.
  • United have won their last 11 league outings against newly promoted clubs, only conceding five goals in this run.
  • Only Tottenham (36) are on a longer scoring run in Premier League matches among current teams than Luton’s 11.

Match Preview

Manchester United will be hoping to add further fuel to their slow-starting top-four challenge in the Premier League when they visit Luton Town, who begin a testing three-game run in their relegation battle on Sunday at Kenilworth Road.

Erik ten Hag’s side boosted their unlikely UEFA Champions League qualification hopes with Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, moving within five points of Unai Emery’s side and six behind fourth-placed Tottenham in the league table after Scott McTominay’s late winner on Matchday 24. Douglas Luiz had earlier crashed in a second-half leveller at Villa Park to cancel out the 17th-minute opener from Rasmus Højlund, who could become the youngest player to score in six Premier League games in a row if he nets against Luton, surpassing Newcastle United’s Joe Willock (aged 21 years and 272 days).

McTominay has scored seven Premier League goals this season, more than any United teammate, while four of those have been as a substitute, the joint-most by any player in the division in 2023-24 (level with Brighton’s João Pedro). The Man Utd midfielder’s league goals this term have been worth 12 points, the most of any player for any team this season. He has only found the net in five games this campaign, but in three of those his finish has been the winner.

Having recorded three straight victories over Wolves, West Ham and Villa – alongside the January draw with Tottenham – there is a quiet optimism surrounding the Old Trafford side, who have battled through injury issues to reignite their top-four hopes. Anthony Martial, Lisandro Martínez and Tyrell Malacia are the long-term absentees from Ten Hag’s lineup.

Luke Shaw also limped off at half-time in their MD 24 victory but could return for Sunday’s kick-off, while Sofyan Amrabat played for the first time against Villa since coming back from the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco. Mason Mount is back in first-team training, too, though it remains unclear on the diagnosis and timeframe of Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s absence.

As for the hosts, Luton appeared to be trending upwards in their relegation battle, drawing with Burnley and Newcastle United either side of a 4-0 thrashing against Brighton, but suffered a 3-1 disappointment at home to fellow strugglers Sheffield United on MD 24. Rob Edwards’ men are still a point clear of 18th-placed Everton, who have played a game more, heading into the weekend’s fixtures.

Cameron Archer, James McAtee and Vinicius Souza were all on target for the victorious Blades last Saturday, with Carlton Morris’ second-half penalty a mere consolation at Kenilworth Road. The Luton striker has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other teammate this season (six goals, four assists), with four of his goals coming from the penalty spot. He’s the first English player to score four penalties in his debut campaign in the competition since Watford’s Troy Deeney in 2015-16 (six).

There has seemingly been a change in mindset for Edwards’ side as well, with Luton averaging 15.1 shots per game across their last seven Premier League matches, in comparison to the 10.3 shots they averaged in their first 16 outings. The Hatters have also had 5.9 shots on target per game in those seven games, a big increase on the 2.6 per game they had in their first 16.

Somewhat surprisingly, only Tottenham (36) are on a longer scoring run in Premier League matches among current teams than Luton (11). However, last season’s Championship play-off winners have ended on the losing side in five of those games (W4 D2), against Sheff Utd, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Brentford.

That free-scoring run will at least have Luton supporters encouraged for what will prove to be a tough upcoming schedule as they host Man Utd on Sunday before visiting Premier League title contenders Liverpool and hosting top-four chasing Aston Villa, alongside an FA Cup fifth-round clash with Man City.

As for Luton’s team news, Edwards’ options largely remain the same: Tom Lockyer, Daiki Hashioka, Mads Andersen and Marvelous Nakamba remain sidelined. Ross Barkley, Morris and Elijah Adebayo will likely be the attacking trio that Ten Hag has to watch out for at the weekend.

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Luton vs Manchester United Head-to-Head

Luton have lost nine of their last 10 league games against Manchester United, with the exception being a 1-1 draw the last time they faced them at Kenilworth Road (April 1992) – their most recent clash saw Victor Lindelöf score the winner in a 1-0 triumph at Old Trafford back in November.

Indeed, Man Utd are unbeaten in their last 12 meetings with Luton in all competitions (W10 D2), since a 2-1 loss at Kenilworth Road some time ago in March 1987.

Continue to look away Luton fans! The Red Devils have won their last 11 Premier League matches against newly promoted clubs, only conceding five goals in this run. It’s their best winning run against promoted sides since a 12-match run between 2011 and 2013 under Alex Ferguson.

Ten Hag has also won all nine of his Premier League games against newly promoted clubs, the best 100% win ratio against those sides of any manager in the competition’s history. The only two managers to win their first 10 games against promoted clubs in the competition are José Mourinho (first 15) and Roberto Mancini (first 12).

Recent Form

Ten Hag’s side have found comfort away from Old Trafford, with only Manchester City (eight) and Arsenal (seven) winning more Premier League away games this season than United’s six heading into this weekend’s top-flight schedule.

To start the new year, Man Utd have won their last four away games in all competitions – beating Villa and Wolves as well as FA Cup victories over Newport County and Wigan Athletic – which marks their longest such run on the road since winning 10 in a row from June to October 2020.

Overall across all competitions, United have won five of their last six games, including their last four in a row. Ten Hag’s men last had a longer winning run between November 2022 and January 2023 (nine in a row).

Luton, meanwhile, have managed three wins in their last seven Premier League games – two more than they recorded in their opening 16 matches this term.

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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.

Luton vs Manchester United Prediction

Luton vs Manchester United Prediction

Man Utd are seen as the favourites by the Opta supercomputer, winning 46.5% of 10,000 pre-match simulations at Kenilworth Road.

Luton may need a response in their battle from the drop but recorded that much-needed victory in 26.5%, with the draw more likely in 27.0% of the data-led scenarios.

A trio of United victories has lifted their top-four chances to 6.5% in Opta’s end-of-season simulations, though their current sixth-place standing remains their most likely league-table finish (34.7%).

Meanwhile, Luton were relegated in 47.3% of scenarios – that is a more promising likelihood than Sheffield United (97.4%) and Burnley (95.4%) but just behind Nottingham Forest (29.5%) and Everton (17.7%).

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