Manchester United will hope to get back to winning ways when they take on Luton Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
On Sunday, Manchester United started their 2020/21 Premier League campaign in the worst way possible, slumping to a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, in what was a second successive home loss to the Eagles in the Premier League.
It was an abject defensive display from the Red Devils, who failed to cope with the offensive threat posed by the likes of Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha. But this midweek, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will have the opportunity to make amends as they travel to Bedfordshire to face Luton Town in the Carabao Cup.
Manchester United are due to face Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday in a must-win fixture so there might be some changes from Solskjaer. However, a win would be a priority as they look to gain some confidence following a dismal display against the Eagles.
Luton Town, meanwhile, have had a fascinating start to their 2020/21 campaign so far. The Hatters had only narrowly missed out on relegation to League One last season. However, they have now already beaten clubs like Norwich City, Reading and Barnsley, with their recent victory coming against Championship giants Derby County.
As a result, Luton are currently swimming at the top of the table in these early stages of the campaign. Nathan Jones’s men will, therefore, be looking to cause another upset this midweek and continue their excellent run of form against Manchester United. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at both the sides ahead of this exciting match-up in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
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🔜 We've got plenty of #MondayMotivation this week…
— @LutonTown (@LutonTown) September 21, 2020
Luton Town, under Nathan Jones, are a team who like to defend deep and frustrate the opposition. They did something similar in the draw with Leeds United during the restart period while a similar formula also helped them secure wins against Blackburn Rovers and Hull City, thus helping them evade the wrath of relegation.
And despite the club’s fiery run of form, Jones won’t be afraid to make some changes to the side that secured a win over Derby County, with the in-form Jordan Clark, in particular, pushing for a place in the starting lineup after scoring in two back-to-back matches. He should replace Harry Cornick at right wing.
Elsewhere, Jones might go for experience with Kazenga Lua Lua replacing Elliot Lee on the left flank and James Collins leading the Luton line, ahead of Lee and Danny Hylton.
There could be further changes in midfield, where key player Eunan O’Kane will be missing this game. We expect ex-Man United youngster Ryan Tunnicliffe to start after missing out against Derby. He should start ahead of Andrew Shinnie, looking to provide creativity and balance in the middle third of the pitch.
Finally, in defence, two key left-backs in Brendan Galloway and Dan Potts are likely missing, meaning youngster Rhys Norrington-Davies might get a start along with James Bree in the full-back roles while Sonny Bradley and Matty Pearson should form the central defensive pairing.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Shea; Bree, Pearson, Bradley, Norrington-Davies; Rea, Moncur, Tunnicliffe; Clark, Collins, Lua Lua
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on Monday, did confirm that he might ring in the changes this midweek as most of the players are yet to properly experience a pre-season campaign and have played very little football over the past month.
Dean Henderson, in particular, is a favourite to start in goal, replacing David de Gea. There could be further changes in defence, with Victor Lindelof likely to be benched following a dismal performance against Crystal Palace.
The Swede is set to be replaced by Eric Bailly, who will form the central defensive partnership alongside Harry Maguire. Another obvious change is Brandon Williams replacing Luke Shaw at left-back, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka should start for the first time this season on the right flank.
In midfield, both Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay will return to the bench, paving the way for Nemanja Matic and Fred to make their way into the side. Matic and Fred should form the double pivot in Solskjaer’s 4-2-3-1 with Donny van de Beek operating as the number ten, at the expense of Bruno Fernandes.
Finally, in attack, Daniel James should retain his place after getting substituted at half-time against Palace. However, the Welshman may have to shift to the left flank in order to make way for Mason Greenwood on the right while Odion Ighalo should spearhead the Manchester United attack.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Williams; Fred, Matic; Greenwood, van de Beek, James; Ighalo
- Luton Town and Manchester United have previously met each other 39 times, with the Red Devils having a superior head-to-head record with 28 wins (D7 L4).
- In fact, Luton Town have failed to beat Manchester United in each of the last 10 meetings between the two sides (D2 L8).
- Luton Town have a perfect record so far in the 2020/21 season, having won each of their four games across all competitions this term.
- Manchester United have kept a clean sheet in two of their last three fixtures in the Carabao Cup.
- Luton Town striker James Collins is the joint-top scorer in the Carabao Cup this season, with 3 goals to his name.
Donny van de Beek will, no doubt, attract the limelight as he braces himself for his full debut for Manchester United. However, it is Dean Henderson who is one to keep an eye on as he looks set to make his first competitive appearance for the club since returning from a successful loan spell at Sheffield United.
The English goalkeeper is looking to dethrone David de Gea as Manchester United’s first-choice goalkeeper. But, following the Spaniard’s decent display against Crystal Palace, Henderson now needs to keep pushing, and a good performance against Luton Town should help him in that regard.
The Championship outfit is in fine form and should keep Henderson busy, giving the youngster an ideal opportunity to showcase his talents. So it will be interesting to see how he fares in this cup fixture this midweek.
Luton Town 1-2 Manchester United
Despite the massive disparity in terms of quality between the two sides, Luton Town shouldn’t be taken lightly, as, after all, they have had a stellar start to the campaign. They might cause problems for the vulnerable Manchester United backline, although we do expect the Red Devils to ultimately clinch a narrow victory and advance through to the next round.