The Premier League will return after a two-week hiatus that saw players honour their national teams’ invitations. A number of exciting encounters are set to take place over the weekend in the league, including one between Fulham and newly promoted Luton Town. The encounter promises to be a potential six-pointer, with both sides aware of the consequences of defeat in the match.
Both Fulham and Luton Town have had tough starts to the 2023-24 season, making this one a chance to pick up important points. The Cottagers took a harsh 5-1 hammering at the hands of champions Manchester City in their last game before the break. The game was ultimately decided by a controversial call that allowed the champions’ second goal of the match to stand with the scores level. Their opponents, Luton Town, also felt hard done by as they fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat to West Ham at Kenilworth Road. They were denied a stonewall penalty in the closing stages that could have been their equalizer.
This game is huge for both teams as they look to kick-start their campaigns. You can buy Fulham vs Luton tickets at Seatsnet but they are selling fast so supporters will need to act quickly if they want to secure a ticket for the game.
This year, the Premier League promises to be more competitive than ever, following the addition of extra quality by most teams this summer. While Luton Town only just came from the Championship this season, Fulham have been in the Premier League since 2022. The Cottagers finished in a respectable position at the end of the 2022-23 season after an impressive campaign, one which they hope to build on.
Luton Town are among the big boys for the first time ever after their Playoff victory last May. They have not, however, found that transition to top-flight football easy. They were walloped in their first two league games before losing narrowly in their first home league game to West Ham. The tricky fixture list given to both sides at the start of the season has made it difficult for them to build a head of steam. While Fulham have faced Manchester City and Arsenal in their first four games, Luton have played against Brighton and Hove Albion, Chelsea and West Ham in their three games so far.
Luton Town boss Rob Edwards will find solace in the fact that last time out, his side showed a great fight against one of the teams with the best record in the division to start the season. Similarly, Marco Silva and his Fulham players will be confident of picking up a result as they restricted Manchester City from playing their usual, free-flowing game in their last match. The scoreline flattered the champions, who were some way from their best in that encounter.
With three defeats on the bounce, the Hatters are clear underdogs coming into the clash at Craven Cottage. They will know, however, that they stand a chance of picking up points against a Fulham side that has looked short of its best this season.
Fulham and Luton Town have faced each other only in the Championship in recent times. Their last meeting was in May 2022 as champions-elect Fulham stormed to a 7-0 win at Craven Cottage. In their last four meetings, the Cottagers have won two, with the other two matches ending in stalemates. Recent history and form suggest that Fulham are clear favourites to pick up maximum points from the match.
Luton Town were the lowest spenders in the division despite receiving a huge financial injection after winning the Championship Playoff final against Coventry City. In spite of this, they spent only £20 million on new players this summer. The Hatters’ highest-profile additions were former Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley, who arrived for free, as well as Issa Kabore and Albert Sambi Lokonga, both of whom were signed on loan. Their most expensive addition was Ryan Giles, who has featured in three of their four games so far. He cost them only around £5 million from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Fulham also did not spend a lot by Premier League standards, but their spending was significantly higher than their opponent’s. Alex Iwobi, Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore were their biggest summer additions, and they were signed for a combined sum of around £27 million. They also signed Nigerian defender Calvin Bassey and former Leicester City man Timothy Castagne this summer.
Fulham lost talismanic striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to the Saudi League train this summer after a protracted period, with the Serbian eventually signing for Al-Hilal for around £50 million. The club signed Mexican striker Raul Jimenez for a fraction of that sum to play in attack for them. They also saw Manor Solomon depart the club after his loan spell, and this has left them significantly weaker in attack. The club tried to sign Callum Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea but could not reach an agreement for the forward, and they re-signed Willian as a free agent.
Luton Town have failed to impose a clear pattern that will see them dominate games against opponents in the Premier League, but their two strikers hold most of the aces in their team. The partnership of Carlton Morris and Eli Adebayo will provide a physical mismatch for most centre-back pairings in the league, and they only need to be fed chances to score for the Hatters.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Over the last 12 months, Fulham have had their greatest saving grace come from between the sticks, as Bernd Leno has been their most important player. The German goalkeeper is back to his best after leaving Arsenal, and his interventions have been crucial to keep his side afloat. He has kept just one clean sheet for the Cottagers this season but has a 78.1% save success rate across his four appearances for the club.
Another Fulham player to watch out for is Portuguese midfield anchor Joao Palhinha. Primed to make a switch to German giants Bayern Munich for north of £50 million this summer, his move fell through at the last minute as Fulham failed to sign a replacement. He missed the first game of the season and only returned to the bench in their defeat to Brentford. In their draw against Arsenal, the midfielder started his first match of the season and scored a late equalizer for his side. After his botched transfer, it remains to be seen how he reacts on the pitch. As one of Fulham’s most important players, his contribution will be immense in keeping them out of troubled waters.
Luton Town signed Arsenal man Albert Sambi Lokonga on loan as the Belgian midfielder is keen to get his career back on track. The youngster fell out of favour at the Emirates and spent the second half of last season on loan at Crystal Palace. He will be keen to take his chance in this loan spell and impress his parent club. His quality is evident, he just needs to show it more consistently to fulfill his potential.
Striker Carlton Morris is big, fast, and strong, and definitely one to look out for in an orange shirt. The Englishman scored 20 goals in the Championship last season and so, definitely has goals in him. He has already found the net once this season and will be keen to add to that tally against Fulham.
Fulham Premier League form guide: W L D L
Luton Town Premier League form guide: L L L
Fulham have no new injury worries apart from midfield enforcer Sasa Lukic, who is a doubt for the match against Luton Town. The Cottagers will welcome Joao Palhinha back into their fold after he missed their defeat to Manchester City following his failed deadline-day move. New signing Alex Iwobi may also be available for a debut after recovering from a hamstring injury which saw him miss the international break with Nigeria.
Fulham Possible XI: Bernd Leno, Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Issa Diop, Kenny Tete, Joao Palhinha, Tom Cairney, Harry Wilson, Andreas Pereira, Bobby Decordova-Reid, Raul Jimenez.
Luton Town have had most of their players together throughout the international break, allowing them to build their fitness and get to know each other better. The Hatters will have a number of debutants in their squad for the trip to London, including midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga, who has revealed that he is fit and ready to play.
Luton Town Possible XI: Thomas Kaminski, Ryan Giles, Mads Andersen, Amari’i Bell, Reece Burke, Issa Kabore, Tahith Chong, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Ross Barkley, Carlton Morris, Eli Adebayo.
Our Prediction: Fulham 2-0 Luton Town
Historically, Fulham have had the upper hand in their recent fixtures, and the match at Craven Cottage should be no different. The Cottagers do not have many goals in their squad, but should have enough to get the job done against the 19th-placed team in the league. We predict a 2-0 win for the home side over the Hatters at Craven Cottage.
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