Luton Town’s difficult Premier League return after over three decades continues on Saturday as they head to Craven Cottage to meet Fulham.
There’s been a lot to process in Marco Silva’s camp in the weeks preceding the international break after the reluctant sale of Aleksandar Mitrovic and the fallout of Joao Palhinha’s failed move to Bayern Munich.
Losing the most prolific goal-getter in the club’s modern history days after the start of the 2023/24 campaign has undermined the Cottagers’ bid to better last season’s 10th-place finish.
Even our 2023/24 Fulham predictions are in jeopardy, as a three-game winless run (D1, L2) following a 1-0 day-one win at Everton cast doubt on the London outfit’s mid-table credentials.
Luton’s upcoming visit to the capital could be a golden opportunity for Silva’s side to reset.
September’s international break has given the hosts a fortnight to regroup after a 5-1 mauling by defending champions Manchester City, though the same goes for the visiting Hatters.
Rob Edwards’ men defied the expectations to secure Premier League promotion last season.
But only three games into their first top-flight adventure in the 21st century, they could be thinking about packing their bags, as predicted in our 2023/24 Luton season preview.
After spending less money than any other English side in the summer transfer window and putting in a lot of effort to bring Kenilworth Road to top-flight standard, it’s no surprise their on-field results are disappointing.
Luton’s three-game losing start to the new campaign, bookended by a 2-1 home defeat to West Ham United last time out, left them at the bottom as one of only two pointless sides alongside fellow newcomers Burnley.
If there’s any consolation for Fulham in these uncertain times, a spirited 2-2 draw against Arsenal on matchday three forms part of their underwhelming three-match winless league run.
The Cottagers may find further confidence in overcoming cross-city rivals Tottenham Hotspur in their opening League Cup game in late August, even though they needed penalties to make that happen.
However, their last Premier League outing at Craven Cottage was an unmitigated disaster, with other fellow London rivals Brentford thrashing them 3-0.
It was Fulham’s fourth consecutive home league match to see them concede multiple goals, which hardly bodes well for their bid to return to winning ways.
Since Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea and West Ham were the sides to put Luton to the sword before the international break, this visit to London may appear a field trip from Edwards’ perspective.
It would be a terrible judgement, considering the Hatters’ last away league encounter against Fulham yielded a humiliating 7-0 loss in May 2022 when the two teams were still in the Championship.
Although it’s premature to declare their relegation a foregone conclusion, another defeat would perfectly fit Luton’s pre-season status as hot relegation favourites.
But there may still be a glimmer of hope for the visitors to avoid damnation, with three of the last four Premier League clubs to lose the opening three league games eventually staying afloat.
Fulham captain Tom Cairney faces a race against time to make the matchday squad, but this game will come too soon for Steven Benda, Sasa Lukic and Alex Iwobi.
Gabriel Osho, Jordan Clark and Dan Potts will not take this trip with the rest of the Luton squad, but other than the three, the remainder of Edwards’ team will be available for selection.
Fulham potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Bernd Leno; Kenny Tete, Tim Ream, Calvin Bassey, Antonee Robinson; Harrison Reed, Joao Palhinha; Harry Wilson, Andreas Pereira, Bobby De Cordova-Reid; Raul Jimenez.
Luton Town potential starting line-up:
(5-3-2): Thomas Kaminski; Issa Kabore, Reece Burke, Tom Lockyer, Amari’i Bell, Ryan Giles; Chong, Marvelous Nakamba, Ross Barkley; Elijah Adebayo, Carlton Morris.
We Say: Fulham 1-1 Luton Town
Fulham’s crisis in the post-Mitrovic era opens up a window of opportunity for Luton to scoop up their first Premier League points, and we expect that to happen his weekend.
- Romero delivers brutal response to Mac Allister’s claim that Tottenham beat Liverpool with 12 men
- Bayern Munich closing in on shock move to re-sign Jerome Boateng
- Joel Matip mistake costs nine-man Liverpool in Tottenham defeat
- Manchester City stunned by Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2-1 defeat at Molineux Stadium
- Kai Havertz scores as Arsenal thrash Bournemouth 4-0