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The ‘powerful’ Luton Town tactic Manchester United must be aware of



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This Sunday, Manchester United travel to Kenilworth Road for the first time ever in the Premier League, and the hosts will be up for a fight.

Luton have picked up just 11 points at home this season, but many teams who picked up three points in Bedfordshire had to fight incredibly hard for them, the intense atmosphere and close proximity of fans to the pitch giving opposition sides a difficult time – and Manchester United‘s trip there under Erik ten Hag will be no different.

This is especially true at set pieces, where they have been one of the strongest sides in the Premier League this season. ‘Lob City’ Luton have an incredibly physical side and players capable of delivering the ball powerfully, and with the crowd being so close to the pitch, it becomes overwhelming for opposition sides to defend them.

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As per Opta, Rob Edwards’ side have 10 goals from set pieces in the Premier League this season, almost a third of their total goals scored coming from these situations. United have struggled with these, conceding 9 goals from set pieces. They have allowed more shots from set pieces than any other side in the league, and Luton will highlight this as an area where they can hurt United.

United’s away form under Erik ten Hag hasn’t been the best; this season, they have picked it up, but before that, United faced many struggles in away grounds with intense atmospheres. The win away at Aston Villa last Sunday was a big step for the Red Devils, but they face a different kind of test this weekend against a side that thrives where United are weak.

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United are still favourites for the game, but the likes of Raphaël Varane, Harry Maguire, André Onana and Casemiro will be key to United defending the air from set plays. It would not be too much of a surprise to see Scott Mctominay in the side in place of Kobbie Mainoo, too; his ability in both boxes and duel-winning qualities will be a useful asset for Ten Hag against Luton.

Mainoo’s composure, something United have grown reliant on, would be a huge miss if this was the case, but Ten Hag will have to weigh up the opportunity cost of this in place of Mctominay’s physical benefits. It is also important to remember that Mainoo is just 18 years old; he is a player with a huge future, and United must protect that future by managing his health appropriately.

United look as though they are starting to turn a corner under Erik ten Hag, and this Sunday poses another fantastic opportunity to continue this mid-season revival and put pressure on the sides above them. If they can limit Luton from their set plays, then they will be in a very strong position to do this.