In-form West Ham United is poised to extend their undefeated beginning to the season as they go head-to-head against Premier League newcomers Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on Friday evening.
— PL News (@PLNews5) August 29, 2023
With a solid seven points secured from a potential nine, the Hammers are in a prime position. On the contrary, Luton Town, managed by Rob Edwards, is yet to notch a point, although they managed to overcome Gillingham in the EFL Cup this past Tuesday.
Luton Town’s journey to the Premier League via the Championship playoffs last season always signaled a formidable challenge in adapting to the heightened demands of the top flight. Tough away fixtures against Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea welcomed the Bedfordshire club back to the premier stage.
As anticipated, Luton Town’s introduction to the new season was an intense one, succumbing to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Brighton on the opening weekend. This match at the Amex Stadium saw them secure a mere 29% possession and manage only three attempts on target. However, Carlton Morris’s 81st-minute penalty introduced a suspenseful climax to the contest.
Originally scheduled to play Burnley at home in the second weekend of the campaign, Luton Town had their match postponed due to ongoing ground improvements at Kenilworth Road. This delay compelled Edwards’s side to wait a fortnight for their next fixture.
The subsequent Premier League away match proved to be another challenging endeavor for the Hatters, as they registered just one shot on target and held possession of only 32% of the ball. The outcome was a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, with Raheem Sterling netting two goals.
On a more positive note, Luton secured a spot in the third round of the EFL Cup, triumphing over Gillingham with a 3-2 scoreline. Goals from Jacob Brown, Alfie Doughty, and Cauley Woodrow sealed their victory, igniting a determination to achieve another favorable outcome at Kenilworth Road on Friday.
Despite the departure of pivotal midfielder Declan Rice, many expected West Ham United to encounter difficulties in the early stages of the season. However, David Moyes’s squad has defied these expectations by garnering seven points out of nine, remaining unbeaten in the 2023-24 season.
Alongside Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, and Arsenal, only four other Premier League teams have yet to taste defeat this season. West Ham’s seven goals are eclipsed only by Brighton and Aston Villa, highlighting their potent start.
Following a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on the opening weekend, the Hammers secured a commendable 3-1 victory against Chelsea at the London Stadium. This achievement was even more remarkable considering they played the last 30 minutes with 10 men due to Nayef Aguerd’s red card. Aguerd had opened the scoring after just seven minutes.
In their subsequent match, West Ham again secured a 3-1 win, executing a flawless counter-attacking strategy against Brighton. Despite the latter’s 78% possession and 25 shots, West Ham capitalized on their opportunities, with goals from James Ward-Prowse, Jarrod Bowen, and Michail Antonio.
Recent arrivals Mohammed Kudus and Edson Alvarez, in addition to existing players like Ward-Prowse and Konstantinos Mavropanos, have reinforced West Ham’s squad, enhancing its quality and depth for the Premier League and European competitions.
Unfortunately, injuries have affected Luton’s squad, with Dan Potts, Jordan Clark, and Gabriel Osho sidelined. However, Luton has made several summer signings, including Ross Barkley, Marvelous Nakamba, Ryan Giles, and Issa Kabore, to bolster their lineup.
Edwards is likely to adopt a 5-3-2 formation to stifle West Ham’s attack. Tahith Chong is anticipated to join Barkley and Nakamba in midfield, while Elijah Adebayo and Carlton Morris will lead the attack.
Regarding West Ham’s lineup, Konstantinos Mavropanos will have to delay his debut due to a lower back issue, and Tomas Soucek’s availability for Friday is uncertain following his early exit in the previous match. After serving his suspension, Nayef Aguerd is expected to anchor the defense alongside Emerson, Kurt Zouma, and Vladimir Coufal. Alphonse Areola will continue as the goalkeeper.
Michail Antonio, aiming to score in his third consecutive game, will likely lead the offensive line in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Supporting him will be Jarrod Bowen, Lucas Paqueta, and Said Benrahma.