Preview: Solskjaer needs to guide United back to winning ways against Luton

Luton Town -v- Manchester United

Carabao Cup

Kenilworth Road, Luton

Tuesday 22 September 2020, KO 20:15 BST

Referee: N/A Assistants: N/A, N/A

Fourth Official: N/A

Manchester United will travel to Kenilworth Road to face Luton Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup this season. Nathan Jones’ Luton side have already beaten Norwich City 3-1 and Reading 1-0 in the first and second rounds of the competition this season and will be up for causing more damage to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s season, putting more pressure on the Old Trafford club this season. United, on the other hand, will need to bounce back after their Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace in their first match of the season, which was not a great match to watch for United.

United might be a much changed side in the Carabao Cup this season and it is expected that goalkeeper Dean Henderson will make his first competitive start for his club in the match against Luton, which could see him put some pressure on David De Gea, who conceded three goals in the Premier League opener. Solskjaer may rest some of the more experienced players in the squad, although right now, that would be a big gamble in a game that could eclipse that 4-0 defeat to MK Dons under Louis van Gaal’s reign as manager of the Old Trafford club.

There is a lot of work for United to do this season and the last of pre-season matches, despite being out of action for a month, with some players being involved in their countries UEFA Nations League matches earlier this month, meaning they have been playing some football during what was the summer break for this year. Solskjaer has been let down by the club this summer with strengthening required in defence; both the centrally and at left-back, the right-wing position and a striker, with a lack of depth up front for United, especially if there are injuries.

Form: Luton in better form than United but could this upset the angry beast within and cause United to hit back hard in order to get back to winning ways?

Manchester United: LLLWWW

Crystal Palace 3-1 L, Aston Villa 1-0 L (F), Sevilla 2-1 L, FC Copenhagen 1-0 W, Linzer ASK 2-1 W, Leicester City 2-0 W

Luton Town: WWWWWW

Derby County 2-1 W, Reading 1-0 W, Barnsley 1-0 W, Norwich City 3-1 W, Northampton Town 3-0 W (F), Wealdstone 3-0 W (F)

Top Scorers: Luton’s James Collins has four goals to his name this season, in four matches. United have played one competitive match with Donny van de Beek the only goal scorer.

Manchester United Goals: 1 – Donny van de Beek

United have not been in great form recently. The lack of a proper pre-season is a big factor with the coronavirus delaying football for much of last season. United were still in UEFA Europa League action in August, meaning they only had time to play one pre-season match, against Aston Villa last weekend, which resulted in a 1-0 defeat to United, who were lacking nine first team players. This weekend in their opening Premier League match, Crystal Palace beat them 3-1 with Van de Beek scoring United’s only goal.

Luton Town Goals: 4 – James Collins, 2 – Jordan Clark, 1 – Luke Berry

Luton are in good form this season, winning their last six matches (two of them pre-season matches). In their Carabao Cup clash against Norwich City, the Hatters won 3-0 with James Collins scoring a hat-trick. Then a 1-0 Championship victory over Barnsley, Collins scored his fourth goal of the season. In the Carabao Cup, a victory over Reading with Jordan Clarke scoring his first goal of the season. This weekend Luton beat Derby County 2-1 in the Championship with Clarke and Luke Berry scoring the goals.

Team News: United could rotate the squad for the visit to Luton, however, that gamble could backfire so United may need their strongest squad for this fixture.

Solskjaer is currently without Phil Jones (knee), Axel Tuanzebe (ankle/foot), Sergio Romero (unavailable for selection) and Nemanja Matic (lacking match fitness) ahead of the visit to Kenilworth Road for the third round of the Carabao Cup this season. The Norwegian could opt to give youth a chance in this fixture, which could be a gamble for United, or give some fringe players a chance to earn themselves a place in the squad this season. Dean Henderson could replace David De Gea as the goalkeeper for this match with a few other changes across the squad.

Luton have no injuries are suspensions at this stage of the season, which is good for them. They will face Watford in the Championship away from home on Saturday, which is not a million miles away, it will give them the benefit to rotate their squad or even continue with their first choice XI which is the option I feel Nathan Jones will take – aiming to get the better of United being that Luton are six matches into the season, including two pre-season matches, with United just two matches in – one pre-season match and one competitive fixture with United losing both.

Predicted Starting XI: Dean Henderson, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Fred, Donny van de Beek and Mason Greenwood to be recalled into the starting XI against Luton?

Solskjaer will have a gamble on his hands in this Carabao Cup third round match against Luton on Tuesday evening. If he rests some of his better players, it could well be that Luton beat United and this is similar as Louis van Gaal’s MK Dons moment. He might need to keep a strong side, with some rotation, to keep match fitness building ahead of the match against Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend. United need to find a way to get back to winning ways. They have lost their last three matches against Sevilla (UEFA Europa League semi-final), Aston Villa (friendly), and Crystal Palace (Premier League opener). A win is needed from this match.

Match Prediction: United are unbeaten against Luton going all the way back to 1987 – the year after Sir Alex Ferguson started managing the club. Luton are unbeaten this season, United in poor form.

United and Luton have met 39 times in league and cup football with the first match being played in 1897 and the last time both teams met being in 1992. United have won 28 times, drawn seven times and lost four times. United have scored a total of 90 goals, conceding 26 goals and keeping a total of 20 clean sheets. 30 of the matches were played in the old English League Division One, eight played in Division Two and one match was played in the FA Cup. United and Luton have never met in the League Cup.

United are undefeated against Luton with the last defeat coming in 1987, a 2-1 Division One defeat with Bryan Robson scoring United’s only goal of the game. United drew the next match that year before winning the next eight, scoring 24 goals on the way. The last match was a 1-1 draw with Lee Sharpe scoring United’s goal. It may not be the best time to visit Luton as they are currently unbeaten in six matches, including two pre-season matches, two Championship matches and two Carabao Cup matches.

Luton Town 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.