Since confirming promotion to the Premier League with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Coventry City in the play-off final at Wembley in May, Luton Town have been put under an intense spotlight by fans and pundits alike.
Whether it be memes all over social media about Kenilworth Road, as the Hatters’ quirky home isn’t the most conventional or lavish stadium in the top flight, or suggestions that Luton will be lucky to better Derby County’s worst-ever points tally (12), Rob Edwards’ side have been under immense scrutiny.
After BBC pundit Gareth Crooks recently claimed that the Bedfordshire side cannot be taken seriously and would be relegated by Christmas following a slow start to the season, Edwards clearly felt he had no choice but to hit back at the constant criticism, claiming: “I think after three games it is disrespectful. It does hurt when you hear comments like that. When people tell you that, it’s hard to shy away from it.
“At this level in the Premier League you’re going to be shot at, people are going to have their opinions and I suppose that’s what he’s paid to do but I think it was a disrespectful comment.
“We have reached out to Mr Crooks so he can come in and we can show him what we do with our plan and that we’re not a team to be laughed at.
“Our job is to get good results and performances and to change people’s minds.”
Indeed, Burnley’s 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on the first Monday Night Football following the recent international break means Luton are now the only team in the Premier League who are yet to pick up a point at this stage, and that is always going to welcome criticism.
But you have to remember that the Hatters have gone from a non-league side to a Premier League outfit in just a decade, and they are still adapting to life in the top flight — therefore aren’t going to be favourites in the football odds today. When you consider that they faced high-flying Brighton at the Amex, Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the in-form West Ham United prior to the break, before going to Fulham on their return, it’s easier to understand why they have zero points.
Improvement is needed though. Luton were tipped to be a tricky side this season, and they are proving to be that — as we’re sure Marco Silva and David Moyes would testify. But they allowed Fulham to have 78% possession at Craven Cottage as they sat back in a low block in a bid to frustrate the hosts, while they registered just two shots on target and completed just 222 passes.
On the road, and in desperate need of a point, Edwards obviously believes that is the right way to set up and we’re sure we will see that a lot from Luton in away games this season. At ‘the Kenny’, however, they need to attempt to win games as they aren’t going to avoid relegation by picking up singles here and there.
The Hatters now have a run of games in which they really should be able to pick up points, as they face Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley at home either side of a trip to fellow strugglers Everton. If they are still rooted bottom of the table with no points after that, then criticism perhaps becomes fair and they could be in serious danger as they face two sides shortening in the Premier League title odds in the form of Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.