Buidling Dreams Together


Preview & Prediction: Luton Town vs. West Ham United

31 years after their last home game in the top flight of English football, Luton Town will take on West Ham United at Kenilworth Road on Friday evening.
The lead up

The Hatters have faced a reality check since gaining promotion from the Championship via the playoffs. Tough opening fixtures against Brighton and Chelsea see the club sitting in 19th place above Everton on goals scored, with one.

The Bedfordshire club were supposed to host Burnley on the 19th of August but the fixture was postponed due to their stadium being under refurbishment.

The media area of Kenilworth Road did not meet Premier League requirements, so swift ground improvements were required. They did, however, manage to host their second-round Carabao Cup game against Gillingham.

Luton raced to a 2-0 lead within the first 20 minutes of the game, but they were tested late on when the League Two visitors pulled the score back to 3-2 in the 88th minute. Tim Krul made a vital save in the final moments to avoid penalties and secure the team’s first win of the season.

This weekend’s visitors West Ham enter the match second in the table and with a wave of confidence.

There was a lot of scepticism before the season started in East London; they had sold captain Declan Rice and made no new signings. However, since their draw at AFC Bournemouth, the Irons have been on a roll, claiming impressive 3-1 wins against Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion.

With the additions of James Ward-Prowse, Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus, team morale can have only improved, with the Ward-Prowse already providing three goal contributions in his first two games.

This fixture could be vital in highlighting West Ham’s identity. In their two wins this season, the Irons have had just 24 and 22 per cent possession, respectively, using efficient counter-attacking football to defeat possession-dominating sides.

With Luton expected to play a deep block, it will be seen how the European Champions cope with having extended periods of time with the ball.

Team News

Jordan Clark and Dan Potts will “be out for a number of months” with injury. Gabriel Osho’s knee problem will cause him to also miss the fixture.

However, Rob Edwards has an influx of new signings available for selection.

The Hatters have added Krul, Ross Barkley, Marvelous Nakamba and Ryan Giles to the club over the summer. Barkley and Nakamba are expected to start in midfield as part of a deep block.

Krul made his debut for Luton in midweek’s Carabao Cup game against Gillingham, although Thomas Kaminski is the number one goalkeeper. The Belgian is excited about the experience and competition Krul brings. “Tim is a big name and has lots of experience, I’m sure he will help us and even more, it will help me.”

West Ham’s Tomas Soucek is expected to miss the tie due to an injury sustained on the weekend.

The Czech national was taken off in the first half against Brighton after a collision with goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen. Said Benhrama came on for the midfielder and put in a solid performance. However, new arrival Kudus could push the Algerian for the starting spot.

Kudus joined the hammers on Sunday and could be set to get his first start this Friday. The Ghanian scored a hattrick last Thursday for Ajax before his move to East London, so fitness does not seem to be an issue.

Another new arrival, Konstantinos Mavropanos, is dealing with a lower back problem and is not expected to be fit until after the upcoming international break.

Nayef Aguerd should be welcomed back into the starting 11 after serving his one-match suspension. The Moroccan was shown two yellow cards in West Ham’s home win against Chelsea and despite a strong performance by Angelo Ogbonna on Saturday, Aguerd is expected to re-take his place next to Kurt Zouma at the back.

Luton Town potential line-up:

Kaminski; Kabore, Burke, Lockyer, Bell, Giles; Chong, Nakamba, Barkley; Morris, Adebayo.

West Ham United potential line-up: 

Areola; Coufal, Zouma, Aguerd, Emerson; Alvarez, Ward-Prowse, Paqueta; Bowen, Antonio, Benhrama.

Score prediction: Luton Town 1-0 West Ham United.

Where to watch: Sky Sports Main Events/Sky Sports Premier League – 8pm.