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Luton Town: Is There A Chance Of Survival?

Luton Town shocked the footballing world when they achieved promotion to the Premier Leauge, after beating Coventry City in The Championship playoff final.

They had to rely on the lottery that is a penalty shootout, and they will need the same kind of luck if they are to avoid a relegation fight this season.

With many fans and pundits having them nailed on to go down, with many suggesting they would finish rock bottom, we take a look at their chances of survival, after their first 3 games of the season.

The Transfer Window

The transfer window is the most crucial period for any newly promoted club. It allows them to build on their weaknesses from last season, and to make major improvements to ready their side for the Premier League.

A club's activity in the transfer window also conveys their intentions and ambitions for the season, and for Luton that is no different.

Looking at the list of transfers Luton made, it does not scream ‘we want to stay in the Premier League’, with a lack of top division experience being added, and a few signings from League One mixed with free agents and loan deals.

Whilst Luton may not have signed big, they have signed smart. The players they have brought in will be expected to keep them in the Premier League, and if they do not, they will continue to play for them in The Championship, rather than leave the club straight away.

Players like Tahith Chong and Mads Andersen, Thomas Kaminski and Chiedozie Ogbene. They will all, more than likely, make the step down to The Championship, rather than stay in the Premier League, giving Luton a very strong Championship squad.

They have signed for the future of the football club. The board have ensured long-term success by signing players who, if they were to get relegated, would give them a better chance of being promoted again the season after.

There is still a chance that these players do keep Luton in the Premier League. Back in the 2010-11 season, Blackpool almost stayed in the Premier League on a shoestring budget, and so the same could happen to Luton.

If all else fails, and they are bottom of the league come January, there is the winter transfer window, which can transform a team's season.

How Has It Gone So Far?

Luton have endured what is potentially, for a newly promoted club especially, one the more difficult starts to the season.

Due to the renovations to the ground at the start of the season, Luton were forced to play their first game away from home, with their home opener against Burnley having to be rearranged for a later date.

Their curtain raiser was against last season's dark horses, Brighton, at The Amex Stadium. A difficult enough game for any team, let alone one that has just been promoted.

It went how many would have expected. Brighton dominated the ball, racking up 70.7% of the possession, created chance after chance, registering 27 shots, 12 on target.

Luton did hold firm, but eventually, Brighton found the back of the net through a lovely glancing Solly March header after 36 minutes. Luton did hold firm after that and did create a few chances of their own.

In the 71st minute, Brighton were awarded a penalty, and new signing Joao Pedro made it 2-0. Luton did hit back 10 minutes later, as they were awarded a penalty of their own, which Carlton Morris dispatched to reduce the deficit.

It offered a glimmer of hope to the travelling Luton fans, but that hope was quickly dashed as 4 minutes later, Brighton restored their 2 goal lead through Simon Adingra, and it was an absolute howler.

Twice Luton gave the ball away in their own box, Tom Lockyer guilty of the first, and Mpanzu of the second, who inexplicably tried to chip the ball to his covering man. Adingra pounced and made Luton pay.

Evan Ferguson added gloss to the scoreline deep into stoppage time, condemning Luton to a 4-1 defeat on the opening day.

They then travelled to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, in another game where they were expected to get nothing.

Again Luton were dominated on the ball, having just 32.8% possession, and with that, they managed 11 shots, with only 1 of those being on target.

It was all Chelsea to begin with, and after a few smart saves from Kaminski, they finally took the lead. Raheem Sterling picked the ball up on the right-hand side, before making a driving run past 4 defenders into the box, and then curling it into the bottom left corner.

Just like they did against Brighton, Luton held on until the midway point through the second half. Luton’s one-shot on target was a good one. A well-worked move led to the ball being played out to Ryan Giles, who could only sting the palms of Robert Sanchez.

Another well-worked Chelsea move allowed Raheem Sterling to tap a cross into the back of the net to make it 2-0 with 22 minutes left to play and to put the game out of sight for Luton.

Sterling then turned provider, as he sent a sensational ball across the face of the goal, for Nicolas Jackson to steer home.

Luton’s final game was to be played at home. Their fixture against West Ham was selected for Sky Sports coverage on the Friday night.

For the third game running, Luton were dominated on the ball, managing 38.8% possession, against a West Ham side who barely touched the ball in their wins this season.

Luton were improving going forward, registering 16 shots this time, but only 1 found itself on target for the second game running.

The Hatters were guilty of some poor closing down all over the pitch, as Paqueta sent a cross in from deep, which evaded two Luton defenders and found the head of Jarred Bowen, and he guided it into the back of the net.

Kaminski could have done better with the header, as it was at his near post, but it was poor all round from Luton.

Luton’s best chance of the game so far came the way of Carlton Morris, as he skied the ball over the bar from just inside the box.

The inevitable second goal from West Ham came, and it was created by James Ward-Prowse from a corner kick. He delivered an inch-perfect ball into the box, and Kurt Zouma guided it in off the post, making it 2-0 to West Ham with 5 minutes to play.

Luton’s first shot on target came in the second minute of stoppage time, and it actually resulted in a goal for the home side. A long ball into the box was headed towards Andersen, and the centre-back headed into the back of the net, making it 2-1.

So What Next?

So, do Luton have a chance of staying up? At the moment, it is obviously too difficult to tell. They could signing a striker in January who could keep them up, they could sack the manager and bringing someone in who helps them to a mid table finish, or they could break the record for least point in a season.

Whatever does happen, Luton will be well equipped next season. If they do get relegated, they will have a strong squad to help them back to the Premier League. If they do defy the odds and stay up, they can invest more into the squad to help them be more competitive.

In my personal opinion, I have not seen enough from Luton so far to warrant them staying in the division. They are too cautious when defending, and lack any conviction going forwards, but only time will tell.

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