Luton v Swansea
Saturday March 13, 12:15
Luton well beaten by Norwich
Luton boss Nathan Jones said he wasn't going to 'chastise' his players too much after they were beaten 3-0 by Norwich last weekend, a team the Hatters supremo labelled as the 'Manchester City' of the Championship. The Canaries, who are 10 points clear at the top of the table, had little trouble in securing a seventh successive victory, with a slick display.
A first half brace from Teemu Pukki put Norwich 2-0 up at the break, before Todd Cantwell added a third with 18 minutes to go. However, before the opener, a much-changed Luton could have been ahead as the returning James Collins' diverting George Moncur's cross wide and then seeing his close range attempt from Tom Ince's cross-shot rebound off the post.
Speaking post-match, Jones said: "When you are playing a side like Norwich you have to make the most of your opportunities and we didn't do that. We knew we would need everyone at it, everyone to on the front foot, everyone to put in a shift as these are a very, very good side, at this level, these are Man City, so they're very, difficult to play against."
Swansea fail to fire midweek
Swansea boss Steve Cooper admitted he was unimpressed by his side's performance in their 1-1 draw with Blackburn in midweek, a result that saw the Welsh side miss out on moving into the Championship's automatic promotion places. After falling behind, a fourth penalty in as many matches, scored by Andre Ayew before half-time, earned City a precious point.
Rovers were the better side throughout at Ewood Park with Swansea's only on-target attempt arriving via the penalty. Post-match Cooper conceded the Swans were well off, and was pleased to escape with a share of the spoils, saying: "I didn't love the game, certainly didn't love our performance. It could have been better, but it could have been worse."
The draw sees Swansea move level with second-placed Watford on 66 points, with a game in hand. However, the promotion-chasers were dealt a blow ahead of the second half as Marc Guehi had to be withdrawn, while Paul Arriola missed out on the matchday squad altogether due to a slight thigh strain. Both are rated doubtful for Saturday's showdown.
Luton and Swansea haven't been regular competitors but the duo have crossed swords nine times over the past two decades, with the visitors enjoying slight W5-D0-L4 supremacy. That includes a W2-D0-L2 return at Kenilworth Road, although the Swans have taken top honours here in each of their last two meetings, as well as sealing a 2-0 success in the reverse fixture.
Luton 3.259/4 were expected to be embroiled in the Championship relegation battle but Nathan Jones has guided the Hatters into the safety of mid-table. The Bedfordshire boys have proven a tough nut to crack, even if the majority of their better results have come against the lesser lights. The hosts have posted W1-D2-L12 against the top-half this term.
Swansea 2.305/4 continue to put themselves into automatic promotion contention with Steve Cooper's rock-solid competitors suffering only six defeats in their opening 34 Championship outings (W19-D9-L6). The Swans boast the division's second-best defence and have shipped multiple goals in only five outings. City have posted W8-D4-L4 on their travels.
Goals have been a relative rarity when Luton have been involved. The Hatters' tight-nit ship has seen just 2.00 goals per-game on average across the club's 34 league fixtures thus far as 24 (71%) of those tussles paid out for Under 2.5 Goals 1.654/6 backers. Meanwhile, only 11 (32%) encounters have seen Both Teams To Score 1.855/6 backers collect in 2020/21.
Swansea's own tally of 2.03 goals per-game is also amongst the league's lowest, as a huge 25/34 (74%) of games also produced Under 2.5 Goals. Away from the Liberty Stadium, 12 of the 16 Swans' fixtures have featured fewer than three goals with Steve Cooper's men seeing BTTS bank on only eight occasions.
So a tight tussle is anticipated at Kenilworth Road, and I'd be happy to side with Swansea in the Double Chance market alongside Under 2.5 Goals for a 2.0521/20 shot on the Same Game Multi. It's landed in 10 of Swansea's 16 road trips, as well as nine of Luton's 15 showdowns with top-half teams this season.