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More late drama during mixed week for the Hatters

After the superb performance against Stoke City in the Capital One Cup, Luton hosted the two favourites for the League Two title, Portsmouth and Leyton Orient, in the space of four days. Looking for a first league victory of the season, the Hatters conceded an unfortunate early goal against Pompey after Wilkinson’s clearance hit Cuthbert square in the face and subsequently fell to a Portsmouth player who duly finished into the roof of the net.

Luton hit back immediately after McQuoid burst into the box and won a penalty, which Mackail-Smith dispatched. The Town then dominated for large spells of the match, creating more chances than Portsmouth, despite having a smaller share of possession. McGeehan arguably could have won it but perhaps a 1-1 draw was a fair result. That was until Matt Tubbs struck late on after another defensive error coming from a long ball over the top. It was yet another 90th minute goal and this was the first one they didn’t really deserve I thought.

Why the Champions League draw seedings revamp is flawed

With the draw taking place early yesterday evening, the tension will have been rising amongst the managers of Europe’s most elite clubs. Despite winning the Champions League only as recent as 2014, Real Madrid were seeded in Pot 2, along with the likes of fellow 2014 finalists Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Man City and Man United, whilst Pot 1 contained only the league champions from last season. The main issue with this way of seeding is that two colossal teams can now be drawn in the same group as each other and as the draw revealed last night, PSG and Real Madrid have been paired together, as are Juventus and Manchester City and also Bayern Munich and Arsenal.

UEFA have always been about trying to level the playing field and they’ve tried to give the likes of Portugal, Holland and Russia a better chance of competing with the big 5 leagues by making them a top seed, but essentially all it does is alienate the weaker teams. Will Shaktar Donetsk and Malmo have a hope in hell against PSG and Real Madrid? Not a chance.  Sevilla and Monchengladbach against Juventus and Man City? It’s unlikely. Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb against Bayern Munich and Arsenal? Absolutely not.

First defeat for Luton after ‘poor’ performance against Rovers

A dismal display from almost all involved led to a last gasp 1-0 defeat to Bristol Rovers. Having beaten their City counterparts just a week ago, the Hatters couldn’t replicate that performance and looked a lot more like the team from Saturday’s second half capitulation against Oxford United.

It was quite remarkable that we managed to last until the 94th minute without conceding, which made the result all the more disappointing, having managed to cling on for so long. There were countless chances for Rovers where you just had to think, ‘How on earth did that not go in?’ John Still described it simply as ‘poor,’ but despite how things were going he refused to mix things up, which proved costly.

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Luton let lead slip against Oxford

Despite holding a 2-0 advantage with 10 minutes to play, the Hatters could only manage a 2-2 draw against Oxford United in the first home league game of the season. Having led through a trademark Wilkinson header just before half time, Luton struggled to maintain their attacking intent in the second half. However, a long ball up field to Cameron McGeehan was beautifully brought down and he confidently swivelled and fired into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

Luton made four changes changes from the cup win over Bristol City as McCourt, Mackail-Smith, Doyle and Griffiths came back in. They kept with the 3-5-2 system and it seemed to work well again in the first half. Some brilliant forward play from McCourt through the middle led to him sliding in Mackail-Smith through on goal but the keeper was out quickly to save his effort. Mackail-Smith also had a well-taken goal ruled out for offside after McNulty found him round the back of the defence and it’s unclear whether or not it should have stood, but it was certainly tight.

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Hatters upset Championship side Bristol City in the League Cup

Luton Town defeated Championship side Bristol City in the Capital One Cup last night with a thoroughly deserved 3-1 victory as the Hatters reached the second round for the first time in 7 years.

The Town rang the changes from the 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley at the weekend, including switching to a 3-5-2 system. The only players who remained in the side from Saturday were defenders Steve McNulty, Luke Wilkinson and Scott Cuthbert. Cuthbert switched from right back to play on the right side of a back three as Dan Potts and Stephen O’Donnell came in to play the role of wing backs. Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu, Cameron McGeehan and new signing Mark O’Brien worked the midfield and Paul Benson and Jack Marriott started up front.

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New look Hatters set to begin season full of confidence

It’s been a while! I’ve not posted about Luton Town since near the end of the Conference title-winning season, due to several reasons, but there will be regular posts during this season and several other posts to look forward to. I did attend almost all the home games last season though and even a couple of away games and thoroughly enjoyed watching the Hatters finish a very credible 8th place, even if it felt a bit disappointing at the time, on reflection it was a great effort.

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German precision rules as Brazil implode

Let’s go back. It’s 1950, Brazil are at home in a World Cup final. They have a great team and they are expected to become World Champions for the first time. They go 1-0 up just after half-time but go on to lose 2-1, against neighbours Uruguay. When the match ended, people said the stadium was filled with disturbing and traumatic absolute silence. It would go on to be called the ‘Maracanazo’ due to it being held at the famous Maracanã Stadium in Rio. For 8 years, an expectant nation had to wait to lift their first World title and for some members of that fateful squad, they would never ever live it down.

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Why Berbatov was always the perfect fit for Arsenal and just how far can the Gunners go?

Calmness personified. Dimitar Berbatov is that loveable, lazy striker with talent in abundance and can create a stroke of genius with a swish of his right boot. Like Dennis Bergkamp in so many ways, Berbatov fits the mould of Arsenal perfectly. Unfortunately that time may have been 5 or 6 years ago, but that doesn’t mean he would be a bad signing for them. Arsenal would never have been able to sign him from Spurs though anyway, of course and for a steal price, he would add depth to an ever weakening attack force at the Gunners. Giroud’s goalscoring form was just beginning to stutter before his injury, Bendtner was never going to get a lot of goals and now he is injured anyway and Podolski and Walcott are clearly preferred out on the wings and I think they are probably far more effective out there too.

Olivier Giroud should remain the main man though, he has proved all season how much he has adapted since last season and his general play is more than enough to show that he can replace to Robin Van Persie in time. He might not score as many goals as RVP, but I do believe he can be just as influential. Berbatov would add another welcome option though, he can start against slightly weaker teams, he could even play just off another striker and he is an effective substitute to have too, something Arsenal have lacked lately due to injuries.

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