"I'm slightly concerned ahead of this game" - Luton Town vs Wolves: Opposition View
The Hatters host Wolves for the first time since 2013 when we played each other in the FA Cup 3rd round, who would've thought the next match-up would be a Premier League fixture?
Luton come into this with no points in four games while Wolves have one win in their first 5. With both clubs predicted to struggle this season, Saturday's game could easily be a feisty 'bottom of the table scrap'.
Q: Before the season many tipped Wolves to be one of the main strugglers of this season, however I’ve heard there have been many positives to take away from your first five, what are your thoughts so far?
DA: Yes there have been some positives but the main issue for Wolves is putting the ball in the back of the net which we’ve struggled with for a few years now. We’ve also been incredibly leaky at the back and I’d say that’s cost us some points already. However, some really dominant spells against Manchester United and Liverpool do give me some encouragement ahead of the next few games.
Ben: For the past season or so Wolves have been struggling to get back to into form of how we were back in the 18/19 season. How we played in the first half against Liverpool was phenomenal, we could have easily been 2 or 3-0 up by half time. Neto has been a massive positive since returning from injury, with 4 assists out of 5 games. Hwang Hee Chan, I have always admired, a lot of people have given him flack but can score but than others in our squad. From our first five games Man Utd was a great performance but VAR is VAR unfortunately. Lot's of people talking from non wolves fans about Onana on Sasa. In other games, we've played better in the first half rather than the second, the opposite under Nuno.
Q: With some turmoil during the summer between the board and ex-manager Lopetegui, what is the general feeling towards the board and current manager Gary O’Neil?
DA: There is quite a lot of discontent towards the board. Fans aren’t happy with how they’ve gone about their business in recent seasons and feel like they’ve held the club back, mainly due to poor recruitment. O’Neil has a lot of doubters. Like I said earlier, we have had some good spells under him. However, I think he has also shown his inexperience at times as a head coach and needs to be winning games against teams like Luton to keep as many fans onside as he can.
Ben: Yes a lot of heated tension between ex-manager Lopetegui and the board. Gary O'Neil had done a great job at Bournemouth keeping them up considering they were one of the favourites to be relegated last season. Gary O'Neil has a much better relationship with the board and has managed to get some signings before the transfer window ends.
Q: The last time Wolves and the Hatters met was an FA Cup 3rd round game at The Kenny 10 years ago, could you have imagined the next time we’d meet would be a Premier League fixture? Also, what have you made of our rise through the leagues since then?
DA: 3. Wolves fans try and forget that game! That was a real turning point for us as our manager Stale Solbakken got sacked after that game and we ended up going down to League One! Luton’s story has been fantastic. Whatever happens with Luton this season, their fans should be so proud. A fantastic achievement and hopefully this will lay the foundations for Luton to kick on in the future.
Ben: I have a lot of respect for Luton they have risen through the ranks and have made it to the top. I watched the Championship final against Coventry and I was hoping Luton would make it to the Premier League. Also, such a statement for Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu to become the first player to go from Non-League through to the Premier League. What an achievement! Nothing but praise for him.
Q: Rob Edwards played 100 games for Wolves, are your fanbase pleased for him with the success he’s had with Forest Green Rovers and Luton?
DA: Rob Edwards has a great reputation at Wolves so it’s great to see him do so well. I have a feeling he would have come to Wolves in the summer if the timing was better. He’s obviously well thought of in football and done well so far in such a short career.
Ben: Rob Edwards played well for Wolves, sad to see him leave. But when I heard he was succeeding with Forest Green Rovers and Luton, my thought was 'Good for him'.
Q: Looking at your squad, who should we be worried about facing this Saturday?
DA: Pedro Neto is on fire at the moment, already got a handful of assists and looks sharp. I’d also keep an eye on new signing Jean-Ricner Bellegarde. I’d assume he will start on Saturday but he had a really good debut against Liverpool last weekend. Lots of quality going forward, we just need to put the ball in the back of the net!
Ben: An obvious choice would be Neto! He absolutely pocketed Joe Gomez in the first half. Hwang Hee Chang, is our goal threat currently as well as Sasa Kalajdzic but he is not playing or starting a lot recently.
Q: Ruben Neves left during the summer window, has there been an obvious replacement for him or are you handling that gap in the squad well?
DA: Ruben Neves was a fantastic player and we were incredibly lucky to have him as long as we did. I think the club did quite well to bring in a few central midfielders last January so it made the transition this summer quite easy. I’d assume we will start Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes there but we also have some other young midfielders who should get some minutes on Saturday too.
Ben: With Ruben Neves leaving there have been some gaps but the team seem to be coping okay Lemina is a solid CDM for us and Joao Gomes and our new CM Bellegarde has electric for his first debut against Liverpool.
Q: Who do you expect in either squad to shine on Saturday?
DA: Like I mentioned previously, keep a close eye on Neto and Bellegarde. The two midfielders Lemina and Gomes will also have a big impact on the game. Wolves fans will definitely be keeping a closer eye on Ryan Giles. A lot of fans were disappointed to see him leave at such a low price so we’ll be intrigued to see how he does. I also like Carlton Morris, I think he will be crucial if Luton grab points this season.
Ben: I expect both clubs to have their moments but I would expect Wolves to shine brighter, but this is football anything can happen.
Q: There is a lot of noise in the media, especially from a BBC pundit who describes us as ‘not being serious about survival’, what do you make of us so far? Do you think we are being serious about surviving in the Premier League?
DA: I think that is disrespectful towards Luton, especially so early in the season. With how quickly the club has risen, there will be a winning and positive mentality there. I’m slightly concerned ahead of this game, I don’t think Luton away will be as easy as some teams expect.
Ben: The media will be the media. I would love Luton to stay up to prove others and the media wrong. I think you have fought hard. Playing against West Ham and only losing 2-1 is a respectable loss, it's not like you are getting thrashed, day in day out. The Fulham game, you were severely unlucky to lose you at least deserved a draw. I think every team is serious in trying to survive in the Premier League, Luton included.
Q: Finally, what is your score prediction?
DA: I think it will be a tricky one but I’m backing Wolves to edge it 2-1.
Ben: My Score prediction is Luton 1-2 Wolves. But it's going to be an end-to-end game.