July 19, 2024

Why Ross Barkley and Alfie Doughty can steer Luton to safety at 3/1 – Jones Knows | Football News


Luton have been fluttering their survival eyes at Jones Knows – and now is the time to take the plunge at 3/1. Our tipster makes the case.

1pt on Luton to avoid Premier League relegation (3/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Luton will get battered everywhere they’d go. Relegation was nailed on.

Perhaps Derby would finally rid themselves of the worst team in Premier League history tag after their haul of just 11 points in 07/08?

Well, Luton already have 15 points with another 57 points to play for.

After initially struggling with a sense of belonging at this level, Rob Edwards has got his players believing that the Luton way can flourish in the Premier League. They are only getting better.

Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool all felt this at Kenilworth Road with Luton coming out of those three games with just a 5-7 aggregate score defeat.

Crystal Palace and Newcastle felt the Luton force and left with no points whilst 15 of their last 17 games have been settled by a one-goal margin (W4 L8) or drawn (3) highlighting their competitive nature.

The most recent of those one-goal margin games was perhaps their most impressive performance of the season. Falling 3-0 down to Chelsea at home would usually be enough for the cue to be on the rack or the towel to be thrown in. Not Luton. This is a group that keep fighting no matter the circumstances.

Chelsea didn’t know what hit them in the final 20 minutes of that encounter as Luton scored twice, had another ruled out and hit the woodwork twice in a spell of domination that left an experienced manager in Mauricio Pochettino flummoxed and unable to stem the flow.

Chelsea were fortunate as the expected goals metrics of 2.53 vs 1.50 painted the picture of the quality of chances Luton spurned.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Luton and Chelsea.

Edwards has built a team that thrives on making every pass a positive one, sending quality crosses into the box and being devastating from set pieces.

It’s not Manchester City levels of being easy on the eye but it’s a direct and bruising style that they’re mastering – and when you become comfortable and confident in playing a certain style, you become a very dangerous team.

As the below table identifies, Luton are happy to relinquish possession.


But when they get the ball, it’s all about playing forward and with purpose.


And from a betting standpoint, it’s these types of teams I want carrying my cash. Luton have been fluttering their survival eyes at me for a while – and now is the time to take the plunge at the 3/1 with Sky Bet on them avoiding the drop rating as a fair chunk of value.

Of course, a productive blueprint and team spirit will only get you so far. Teams need Premier League quality to survive. And in Ross Barkley and Alfie Doughty, Luton have the finesse to go with the fight.

Barkley biting back

Ross Barkley

There looked nowhere to go for Barkley as he was hustled and harried by Conor Gallagher in midfield.

A possession turnover was surely imminent.

Cole Palmer was getting on his bike.

But this version of Barkley sees things others don’t.

As Gallagher steamed in for the challenge, the Luton man cheekily flicked the ball between his legs and away he went to get his team moving up the pitch. Against the team who had made him surplus to requirements, he was the best midfielder on the pitch.

It was one of many moments during another head-turning performance from the midfielder who has been reborn in his new surroundings. After coming close to falling out of love with the game, him and Luton are a match made in heaven.

Cupid does work in mysterious ways.

Barkley – when at his best – has the ability to glide with the ball. Not many are born with this trait. Jude Bellingham has it. Zinedine Zidane had it. When Barkley is at his best, he moves likes those two.

Inconsistency has always been the issue but with Edwards happy to build his midfield around the skillset of the 30-year-old, Barkley is gliding again.

Ross Barkley plays a pass under pressure from Julian Alvarez
Only Mohamed Kudus has made more completed dribbles than Ross Barkley since October 27

Life does seem to be beginning at 30 for Barkley.

Only Mohamed Kudus has completed more dribbles in the Premier League since Barkley burst back into the Luton team in October. That ability to surge past challenges in central midfield is setting the tone for Luton’s attacking metrics to rocket.

“He’s a special player and person,” Edwards said after the Chelsea game. “It’s great he’s found a home and he’s happy. We allow him to be the best Ross Barkley possible.”

Luton’s secret weapon: Doughty’s delivery

Alfie Doughty

I was screaming “Alfie Doughty” at the top of my lungs during Monday Night Football‘s recent Team of the Season debate with Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

Impressive left-backs have been hard to find this season with Destiny Udogie at Tottenham making a strong claim but in terms of importance and consistently high attacking output, Doughty should have been at least in the conversation.

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Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher pick their Premier League team of the season so far.

Intelligent, strong and possessing one of the best left pegs in the game, the 24-year-old, who was playing on loan in the Isthmian League Premier Division for Kingstonian just five years ago, has taken the step up to Premier League football in his stride.

Doughty is a phenomenal crosser of a ball so pushing him to the forefront of the gameplan into aerially dominant strikers might seem like one-dimensional football but if that dimension is creating chances, then why not go all-in on it. That’s what Edwards is doing.

Doughty leads the way for Luton across all their key creative metrics, ranking first for assists (4) and chances created (35), while his crossing statistics from dead ball and open play have him mixing it with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Ward-Prowse for accuracy when assessing the league as a whole.

He is a gem of a footballer, and along with Barkley, is capable of providing the ammunition to keep Luton a Premier League side.

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