Arsenal 2-0 Luton Town: Gunners overcome Bukayo Saka’s absence to return to the top

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Martin Odegaard scores for Arsenal against Luton Town in the Premier League
Martin Odegaard scored his 30th Premier League goal for Arsenal. He is the ninth player from Norway to reach the milestone

Arsenal overcame the absence of Bukayo Saka to move back to the top of the Premier League table with victory over struggling Luton at Emirates Stadium.

Leading scorer Saka was missing after suffering a knock against Manchester City at the weekend, but Mikel Arteta’s much-changed side did enough to rout their hard-working opponents and move back above Liverpool at the summit.

Captain Martin Odegaard fired the hosts into the lead in the 24th minute after Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu was bundled off the ball by Emile Smith Rowe, before the Gunners doubled their advantage shortly before half-time.

Japan defender Daiki Hashioka inadvertently put past his own keeper Thomas Kaminski in the 44th minute while trying to stop Reiss Nelson after Smith Rowe was afforded too much space in the penalty area.

Luton were decimated by injuries to the extent that they had 16-year-old schoolboy defender Christian Chigozie on the substitutes bench.

They never allowed Arsenal to run away with it, while Gunners keeper David Raya was forced to keep out Ross Barkley’s free-kick on the stroke of half-time.

Arsenal, however, were largely untroubled as they moved on to 68 points – one point clear of Liverpool, who play bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United at Anfield on Thursday (19:30 BST kick-off).

Gunners get the job done

Having seen Arsenal at their defensive best to frustrate title rivals Manchester City in Sunday’s hard-fought goalless draw at Etihad Stadium, the Gunners returned to goalscoring form against Luton.

With just three points separating the top three at the start of the day, goal difference could play a vital role in this most enthralling of title races.

Arsenal’s 21st Premier League win of the season moved them on to plus-48, while Liverpool are on plus-40 and Manchester City, who were in action later on Wednesday against Aston Villa, started the day on plus-35.

Arteta made five changes for the visit of relegation-threatened Luton, with the likes of Declan Rice, Gabriel Jesus and Jorginho given a rest before a busy spell of games which includes two mouth-watering fixtures with Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

While Arsenal will hope Saka is back for Saturday’s game at Brighton, they got the job done against Luton without too much drama and with some of their fringe players getting a first outing for some time.

Nelson was handed his first Premier League start since 2020 while Partey and Smith Rowe both made rare starts.

Yet it is Kai Havertz who continues to impress.

The German showed why he has such an important role to play at the business end of the season with another assist to add to his eight Premier League goals when he teed-up Odegaard to set Arsenal on their way.

More to follow.

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Luton Town

  1. Squad number24Player nameKaminski

  2. Squad number27Player nameHashioka

  3. Squad number15Player nameMengi

  4. Squad number12Player nameKaboré

  5. Squad number32Player nameOnyedinma

  6. Squad number17Player nameMpanzu

  7. Squad number6Player nameBarkley

  8. Squad number45Player nameDoughty

  9. Squad number30Player nameTownsend

  10. Squad number18Player nameClark

  11. Squad number9Player nameMorris

  1. Squad number8Player nameBerry

  2. Squad number10Player nameWoodrow

  3. Squad number14Player nameChong



Formation 4-3-3

  • 22Raya
  • 4White
  • 2Saliba
  • 6Gabriel
  • 35ZinchenkoSubstituted forTomiyasuat 74′minutes
  • 8Ødegaard
  • 5ParteySubstituted forRiceat 67′minutes
  • 10Smith RoweSubstituted forJorginhoat 85′minutes
  • 24NelsonSubstituted forMartinelliat 75′minutes
  • 29HavertzBooked at 66minsSubstituted forNketiahat 66′minutes
  • 19Trossard


  • 1Ramsdale
  • 9Gabriel Jesus
  • 11Martinelli
  • 14Nketiah
  • 15Kiwior
  • 18Tomiyasu
  • 20Jorginho
  • 21Fábio Vieira
  • 41Rice


Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 24Kaminski
  • 27Hashioka
  • 15Mengi
  • 12Kaboré
  • 32OnyedinmaBooked at 74minsSubstituted forWoodrowat 75′minutes
  • 17MpanzuSubstituted forChongat 53′minutes
  • 6Barkley
  • 45Doughty
  • 30TownsendSubstituted forBerryat 81′minutes
  • 18Clark
  • 9Morris


  • 1Shea
  • 8Berry
  • 10Woodrow
  • 14Chong
  • 23Krul
  • 38Johnson
  • 42Chigozie
  • 43Nelson
  • 44Piesold

Craig Pawson


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