Manchester United avoided a third consecutive home defeat as they laboured to a 1-0 win over Premier League strugglers Luton at Old Trafford.
Erik ten Hag’s side faced a frustrating wait for the breakthrough with Rasmus Hojlund and Alejandro Garnacho missing big chances at each end of the first half before Victor Lindelof grabbed the winner on 59 minutes.
The defender’s goal clinched back-to-back Premier League wins for just the second time this season, moving United to within three points of fourth place albeit having played a game more than their rivals.
- Erik ten Hag preferred Victor Lindelof ahead of Raphael Varane at centre-back, as the former Real Madrid defender was left out of the starting line-up for a fifth straight game.
- Aaron Wan-Bissaka missed out due to illness.
- Luton were unchanged from the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Kenilworth Road.
United’s unfortunate run with injuries continued as Denmark internationals Rasmus Hojlund (hamstring) and Chrsitian Eriksen (knee) were forced off early ahead of the international break.
Luton’s winless run extends to six games in the Premier League but they remain above the relegation zone on goal difference ahead of Bournemouth, who face Newcastle in the Premier League later on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
How Man Utd got past Luton
Manchester United assumed control against Luton immediately at Old Trafford, the visitors happy to test their defence against Ten Hag’s shaky side. The first half created a nervous tension around the ground as the home support watched their team toil in front of goal.
The tone was set when Hojlund failed to score from point-blank range after 10 minutes. Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski made himself big to keep out the striker’s kneed effort, extending his wait for a Premier League goal to nine games.
Luton had their chances despite United having more than three-quarters of possession in the first half. Andre Onana produced a good save down to his left to deny Carlton Morris’ header after 36 minutes to further add to the tense mood.
It looked as though it would be one of those days for United when Garnacho took an age to shoot in a one-on-one situation just before the break. After Wednesday’s chaotic 4-3 defeat at FC Copenhagen, there was no telling how they would respond.
Hojlund’s problems in front of goal persisted in the second half. He was unable to hit the target with a header when found free in the box by Bruno Fernandes. The £72m signing subsequently came off in the closing stages with a hamstring problem.
United needed a shade of luck for the winner. The ball fell kindly for Lindelof after Scott McTominay’s shot was blocked but the defender made no mistake as he scored his first goal since December 2020.
Antony came on for Garnacho and perhaps should have had his first assist of the season but Rashford’s struggles in front of goal showed no sign of improving. The forward still has not scored since United’s 3-1 defeat at Arsenal.
Luton gave United some nervy moments but never really threatened, giving Ten Hag a much-needed win ahead of the international break.
After the international break, Manchester United return with a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton on Sunday November 26, live on Super Sunday on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.
Meanwhile, Luton are back in action on Saturday November 25. they host Crystal Palace at Kenilworth Road; kick-off 3pm.