Scraping past Gillingham in the second round of the EFL Cup is all that Luton have had to shout about since their historic Premier League promotion, and their first top-flight campaign since the 1991-92 season has started about as well as many people expected.
The international break provided a welcome period of recuperation for the Hatters and Rob Edwards, who was given a fortnight to analyse his side’s defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion, West Ham United and Chelsea, and Luton managed to keep Fulham at bay in the first half of last weekend’s encounter.
However, the Hatters’ resistance was broken 20 minutes into the second half through Cottagers super sub Carlos Vinicius, whose goal proved to be the decisive moment in the English capital as Luton fell to a fourth defeat from as many Premier League matches in 2023-24.
With Burnley holding out for a draw at Nottingham Forest on Monday, Edwards’s 20th-placed charges are now the only team with a zero next to their name in the points column, and only Everton – who have played a game more – have also come up with a league-low two goals so far.
Of course, the Kenilworth Road faithful would have been realistic about their side’s aims for their inaugural Premier League campaign, but Wolves’ current predicament certainly offers the Hatters crowd some hope of a first top-flight win in over 31 years this weekend.
Capitalising on Liverpool’s defensive crisis, which saw neither Virgil van Dijk nor Ibrahima Konate make the starting lineup at Molineux last weekend, Wolves subjected the Reds to a barrage of attacks and needed a mere seven minutes to break the deadlock through a Hwang Hee-chan effort.
Joe Gomez may still be having the odd nightmare about Pedro Neto, but it was the Liverpool defender who ultimately went to bed the happier man, as Cody Gakpo and Andrew Robertson propelled Liverpool into the lead before Harvey Elliott’s strike deflected off Hugo Bueno and found its way in.
Gary O’Neil was left to rue a glut of missed opportunities for Wolves to double their lead in the first half – as was the case when his side fell short against Manchester United in matchweek one – and the West Midlands crop are now languishing in 16th following a fourth loss from five matches.
Furthermore, only Burnley (12) have let in more goals than Wolves (11) since the season commenced, and only one of the visitors’ last 11 Premier League away matches has ended in victory – a hard-fought 1-0 success over Everton at Goodison Park last month.
Not since the 2012-13 FA Cup third round have Luton and Wolves butted heads in a competitive fixture, where the Hatters – who were a non-league club at the time – pulled off a 1-0 giant killing, which led to now-Norway head coach Stale Solbakken being sacked from his Molineux post.