Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate




By Bulldog Drummond

There are three football grounds that are hosting Premier League matches which you might want to visit if you really don’t like the excitement that can be caused by someone scoring a goal.

For these are the grounds where in contrast to the 28 goals scored at Arsenal’s stadium this season exactly half that number of goals have been scored.

These goal-bereft football deserts are the homes of Crystal Palace (six goals for, eight against), Luton Town (ditto) and Everton (five scored, nine conceded).  Here we can see those numbers compared with Arsenal.


3 Arsenal 8 6 2 0 20 8 12 20
16 Crystal Palace 6 1 2 3 6 8 -2 5
17 Luton Town 6 1 2 3 6 8 -2 5
20 Everton 7 1 1 5 5 9 -4 -6


So it does look like today’s game could be a rather gloomy affair, with the only suggestion of hope being that Arsenal have witnessed 12 goals in their six away games this season – nine for Arsenal and three for the opposition.

In fact, we have the situation where Luton score one goal a game at home and Arsenal score 1.5 goals a game away from home.   Luton concede 1.3 goals at home and Arsenal concede 0.5 goals away.   Whichever way we look at it, Arsenal are likely to win by a single goal – probably 0-1.  Second choice would be 1-2.

And there is no sign of improvement, for Luton Town have the lowest number of home points in their last six league games for any team except for Everton.   What is saving them from utter oblivion however is they also have the sixth-best home defence.  It all sounds a bit grim, and it is.  This is the smallest ground in the league, so only 10,265 get to be bored stupid.

And in case there is thought that this is a decline for this season from last year’s great start to the campaign in the chart below we also include Arsenal’s position last season in the first half dozen games away from home…


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
17 Luton Town home 2023/24 6 1 2 3 6 8 -2 5
3 Arsenal away 2023/24 6 4 1 1 9 3 6 13
1 Arsenal away 2022/23 6 4 1 1 11 4 7 13


Yes, two goals fewer scored by Arsenal away from home this season compared to last, and one goal fewer conceded, but otherwise, away from home this season is identical to last season for the first six away games.

However, if we forget the home and away form and instead look at the last six games, Arsenal have been scoring 2.17 goals a game and conceding 0.83 goals a game which suggests a 2-1 win to Arsenal in tonight’s match rather than a 0-1.  That might make it a bit more exciting.

The last six games (home and away)


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
2 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 13 5 +8 13
15 Luton Town 6 1 2 3 7 11 -4 5


Now last season for Luton was, of course, a promotion season but it can’t really have looked like it for the Luton fans for much of the time – they won fewer than half of their home games (10 out of 23) and scored just 31 goals (1.35 goals a game).  By contrast last season Arsenal scored 53 goals in 19 home games, winning just on three-quarters of those home games scoring an average of 2.8 goals a game.

Indeed even last season when Luton came third in the Championship and gained promotion they were halfway down the league in terms of goals scored, scoring 30 goals fewer than the top scorers in the division – Burnley.   But Luton had the second-best defence in the Championship last campaign, and that is what took them up.

What we must also note is that they have not been hammered to bits since the first two games.  They have only won two league games this season but five of their defeats have been by a single goal.

So overall we can see that although Luton Town are a team that suffers defeats, but they are for the most part narrow defeats. 

Their approach is to pull back into defence and concede possession.  In fact this season they have the lowest possession rate of any team in the league – just 35.3%.  In contrast, Arsenal have a possession average rate in league games of 60.8%

Last season Luton didn’t win any of their first five games but were undefeated in the last 14 games of the season.  They then lost the first of their playoff games but then won the other two. 

This season their victories have been over Palace and Everton, two fairly feeble teams.  So we might expect an Arsenal win, but this looks like it could be a really grim game.

One Reply to “Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate”

  1. A scorelines of 4-3 certainly wasn’t a grim watch was it? I respect your analysis though.. it was a one goal margin. Well done the Arsenal

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