5 things we learnt about Luton Town in the Premier League so far!
Kaminski is the best keeper we’ve had in years
The Luton Town goalkeeping spot in recent years has been a perilous one, whether that be through injuries, recalls, or not being at the required level. However, I believe that Thomas Kaminski is the turning point. The Belgian stopper has made some exceptional saves, of course, there have been some rough moments, but that is understandable given the step-up in level. He has shown himself to be a composed and confident keeper, something we have missed in recent years.
Courtesy of FotMob, Kaminski has prevented 1.1 xG, for those not too familiar with this metric, we would have expected to concede 16.1, but in reality only conceded 15. While this is a relatively small sample size, for comparison last season Horvath's goal prevention was -3.7 xG, representing a 3.7 xG concession more than we should have. Let's hope there's even more to come from our No1 as he will certainly be busy.
Doughty is every bit a premier league player
Where do I start with Alfie Doughty? The man who was deemed surplus to requirements by Stoke has been one of the brightest sparks for Luton this season. Before starting this season it was assumed by the majority that Giles would be a shoo-in for the starter spot, but after a rough patch of form, Alfie took over his spot and hasn't looked back since.
Doughty ranks 4th in the league for chances created with 21 chances, and a hugely impressive 4 chances created per 90 - higher than fellow fullbacks Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold. The wing-back received heaps of praise from MOTD pundit Martin Keown after his terrific performance against Wolves. He is a player who had an almost seamless adaptation to the Premier League, with others hopefully following in his footsteps.
We need to finish our chances
This has been a highly discussed issue amongst the LTFC community. Our ability to put the ball in the back of the net has been significantly lacking this season and something we have been punished for, notably Burnley, Fulham, and recently against Spurs.
Diving into the more analytical side, we are going to reference xG again. Luton ranks 14th in the league for xG with a relatively impressive score of 9.6 xG but with a huge underperformance of -3.6 xG (6 goals). This issue is further backed up by Town's blunder when facing up big chances, ranking 12th with 11 big chances missed. For reference's sake, Arsenal have mustered up 11 big chances to Towns 12! But we sit with 10 goals less.
The above demonstrates an issue in finishing off the great chances that we do create, something that I'm sure is hugely frustrating for Rob Edwards, and I'm sure for the players themselves.
We need some reinforcements
I suppose this is partly linked to the above but not wholly, perhaps this point of needing reinforcements was reiterated against Spurs. With Sambi Lokonga returning to Arsenal through injury we are already one person lighter, with the Belgian reportedly out for months. While the injury may only be a matter of months, this doesn't account for the need to get him back up to Premier League readiness, leaving us very light in cover for Nakamba.
Another area I feel we need to address is our striking options. In our most recent match against Spurs, Adebayo missed a massive chance, opting to go with the wrong foot despite a strong performance. Additionally, fellow striker Cauley Woodrow was brought on in the attempt to find that crucial equaliser, but put in a rather dismal performance, squandering a real chance to go through on goal with a 'poor touch and... poor finish' according to pundit Ian Wright on MOTD. Bringing in another striker to compete with Morris and Adebayo in January is vital and will hopefully resolve our recent blunders.
In positive news regarding reinforcements, the club recently announced the signing of ex-England and Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend on a short-term deal. For me, this represents a deal of minimal risk - a player with a wealth of experience and technical quality, and if there are any issues it is a short-term contract. A real positive!
We have every chance of staying up
Ending on a positive note, but one I genuinely believe - we can stay up. Rob Edwards and the team have shown enough to convince me that we have enough to stay up, despite our goalscoring issues we have created more big chances than six other teams, and conceded less than four others despite some big early scorelines. Lastly, we can also look forward to the returns of Jordan Clark and Gabe Osho sooner rather than later, with the former back in training!