Post-Match Report

Report: Arsenal 2-0 Luton Town

Martin Odegaard scores against Luton Town

Luton Town -

Emirates Stadium
Premier League
Premier League
                  Odegaard (23)
                   D. Hashioka (43 og)
Odegaard (23)
D. Hashioka (43 og)
2 0
  Luton Town
Luton Town

We moved back to the top of the Premier League after beating Luton Town 2-0 to extend our unbeaten league run to 10 matches.

The damage was done before half-time as Martin Odegaard opened the scoring on 24 minutes before an own goal from Daiki Hashioka doubled our lead just before the interval.

A much-changed side then managed the second half to secure the three points that saw them leapfrog Liverpool at the division’s summit, at least until Thursday night when the Reds are next in action as our title challenge continues.

Skipper opens the scoring

Pre-match, Arteta made five changes, the most he’d made between Premier League fixtures since September 2021, and handed long-awaited league starts to Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey.

And while that meant there was a little bit of rustiness to shake off in the opening quarter with neither side creating a clear-cut chance, we soon began to rediscover our rhythm and on 24 minutes the lead was seized.

The move was instigated by Smith Rowe, who won the ball off Pelly Mpanzu in the final third before finding Odegaard. Our skipper played a give-and-go with Kai Havertz who was well-placed inside the box, and that allowed Odegaard to drill the ball low into the net to register his ninth strike of the season.

Smith Rowe sparkles

Desperate to get on the scoresheet himself for the first time since April 2022, Smith Rowe had a sight of goal when Odegaard threaded an intricate pass into his path inside a congested area and despite shooting through a defender’s legs, Thomas Kaminski showed good reactions to make a strong save.

We continued to exert our dominance of proceedings and Havertz blasted at Kaminski after being set up by a brilliant turn by Ben White, and Partey came close to inadvertently netting when Alfie Doughty’s clearance struck the midfielder and spun wide of the post.

But with two minutes of the half remaining, Smith Rowe played a big part in creating our second. He linked up with Leandro Trossard to get to the byline and centred towards Nelson’s path, and under pressure from our winger, Hashioka flicked the ball into his own net to put us in a commanding position at the break.

Three points secured

The second half began the same way as the opening 45, with neither team managing to test either goalkeeper in the opening 30 minutes. Luton pushed further forward and put us under more pressure to try and conjure a way back into the contest, but their lack of threat in front of goal meant it was a relatively quiet night for our backline.

With his side in firm control, Arteta elected to give Declan Rice, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah some minutes, but it was another replacement in Takehiro Tomiyasu who actually had the first attempt of the second half in the 80th minute but he curled the ball just wide of the far post from the edge of the area.

The Hatters simply couldn’t find a way to test David Raya as we comfortably crossed the finish line, and indeed in the final few minutes we were the ones looking to trouble the visitors further, with Kaminski forced to palm a low Nketiah drive around his post.

The two goals and a league-leading 13th clean sheet of the campaign were more than enough to see us return to the top of the table with eight games to go.

Facts and stats

We are unbeaten in each of our last 39 Premier League matches under Mikel Arteta in which we have been ahead at half-time (W36 D3), a run which has seen us win all of our last 15 matches when in front at the break.

We have now won 12 of our 15 home matches in the Premier League this season (D2 L1); only in 1934/35 (13 wins) and 2002/03 (13 wins) had the Gunners picked up more home wins at this stage of a top-flight campaign.

Luton have now failed to win any of their last 10 Premier League matches (D3 L7), their longest winless run across the top four tiers of English football since March 2008 (a run of 13 without victory in the third tier) and their longest run without a win in the top-flight since December 1991 (run of 11).

Kai Havertz has now been directly involved in 12 goals in the Premier League this season for us (8 goals, 4 assists), the outright most he has contributed in a single season in the competition.

We have benefited from four own goals in the Premier League this season, with no team benefitting from more (Liverpool, Brighton and Tottenham also on 4). The last time we had more own goals scored in our favour in a Premier League season was in 2009/10 (6).

Luton's 38 away goals conceded is the most of any team in the Premier League this season, with the Hatters conceding an average of 2.4 goals per away match (38 in 16).

Reiss Nelson made his first Premier League start since July 2020 against Liverpool, 1,358 days (3 years, 263 days) ago. Only Mathieu Flamini (5y 162d) and Sol Campbell (3y 296d) have ever had longer gaps between starts for us in the competition.

This was only the second time since the start of the 2021/22 season that neither Bukayo Saka nor Gabriel Martinelli started a Premier League game for us; the other was our 1-0 win over Man City in October this season.

What's next

We're back in action on Saturday when we travel to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton & Hove Albion, before the Champions League returns when we host Bayern Munich in the first leg of our quarter-final double header on Tuesday, April 9.

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