Early Hojlund double seals Man Utd win at Luton

18 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Rasmus Hojlund scores Manchester United's opening goal at LutonRasmus Hojlund, aged 21 years and 14 days, is the youngest player to score in six consecutive Premier League games

Rasmus Hojlund scored for the sixth successive Premier League game as Manchester United survived a Luton Town display of fierce determination to stay in contention for the top four with victory at Kenilworth Road.

United’s £72m summer signing from Atalanta has hit a red-hot streak after early struggles in front of goal and scored twice in the first seven minutes to set up a fourth successive league win for Erik ten Hag’s side.

The 21-year-old pounced on Amari’i Bell’s error after only 37 seconds to round keeper Thomas Kaminski and score, adding a second in the seventh minute, instinctively diverting Alejandro Garnacho’s shot into the net.

Luton Town, in an uproarious atmosphere, responded with defiance and character, Carlton Morris swiftly giving the Hatters hope with a header as United struggled to cope with the intensity of the home side, especially in the opening half.

United lost defender Luke Shaw to injury before the interval, while Harry Maguire and Casemiro also went off at the break, but for all Luton’s second-half endeavour it was the visitors who created the better chances, Kaminski denying Garnacho, Rashford, and a Hojlund hat-trick.

However, there was one more nervous moment for the visitors in stoppage time when Ross Barkley’s glancing header clipped the top of the crossbar.

The win means United are now only five points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa.

Man Utd young brigade make difference

United needed leaders to see them through an encounter that became an ordeal for long spells, especially in the opening half, and they emerged from unlikely sources as another important three points were secured.

While experienced players such as Casemiro, so lucky to avoid a second yellow card, Maguire and Raphael Varane struggled and were exposed by the sheer energy of Luton’s approach, it was match-winner Hojlund and outstanding 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo who stepped up.

Hojlund has really come to the fore in recent weeks, now getting the goals all his hard work – even early in the season when they were in short supply – deserve, his first a composed piece of work and his second quick thinking as United established early control.

The Denmark forward showed commendable hold-up play, a willingness to engage in the physical exchanges with Luton’s defence, and was only denied a treble by Kaminski’s block before he departed to a standing ovation from United’s away support.

Mainoo, meanwhile, rose above the blood and thunder with rare composure for one so young. United have a gem on their hands.

The visitors improved after the break and even though Luton pressed, they were the more dangerous side, Kaminski and Albert Sambi Lokonga denying Rashford before a combination of the goalkeeper and Bell thwarted Garnacho.

In the end, Hojlund’s early goals were enough as United extended their winning run.

Hatters can still have hope

Luton lost another home game to one of the Premier League’s big guns but once again more illustrious visitors to Kenilworth Road were made to fight every inch of the way.

United joined Manchester City and Arsenal in chalking up a narrow wins while Liverpool were held to a draw – and it is no surprise when Luton’s approach in this wonderfully hostile environment is taken into account.

The Hatters could have been forgiven for thinking their day was done when they conceded two goals in only seven minutes but, galvanised by the home support, Rob Edwards’ side responded superbly and were right back in it after Morris’ goal.

The reborn Barkley prompted from midfield with confidence while Lokonga was one of the game’s outstanding performers.

Luton faded after the break but showed enough to suggest they can make a real fight of things before the relegation places are decided, the standing ovation at the final whistle merited for their efforts.

Barkley almost snatched a point when his header glanced off the bar in the closing seconds but it was not to be for battling Luton.

Line-ups

Luton

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 24Kaminski
  • 15Mengi
  • 2OshoBooked at 87mins
  • 29Bell
  • 7Ogbene
  • 28Sambi Lokonga
  • 6Barkley
  • 45DoughtySubstituted forBerryat 82′minutes
  • 9Morris
  • 14ChongSubstituted forClarkat 68′minutes
  • 10WoodrowBooked at 17minsSubstituted forTownsendat 68′minutesBooked at 70mins

Substitutes

  • 3Potts
  • 8Berry
  • 12Kaboré
  • 16Burke
  • 17Mpanzu
  • 18Clark
  • 23Krul
  • 30Townsend
  • 43Nelson

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 24Onana
  • 20Dalot
  • 19Varane
  • 5MaguireBooked at 42minsSubstituted forEvansat 45′minutes
  • 23ShawBooked at 20minsSubstituted forLindelöfat 45+2′minutesBooked at 81mins
  • 37MainooBooked at 75mins
  • 18CasemiroBooked at 34minsSubstituted forMcTominayat 45′minutes
  • 17Garnacho
  • 8Bruno Fernandes
  • 10Rashford
  • 11HøjlundSubstituted forS Amrabatat 86′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Bayindir
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 4S Amrabat
  • 14Eriksen
  • 16Diallo
  • 21Antony
  • 35Evans
  • 39McTominay
  • 62Forson
Referee:
David Coote
Attendance:
11,483

Match Stats

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