‘Ball is now in Liverpool’s court’

Sami Mokbel, Mail Sport, at the Emirates Stadium:

Routine night for Arsenal. They go top. Psychologically that is a major boost. The ball is now in Liverpool’s court ahead of Sheffield United.

Emile Smith Rowe: ‘It’s been a tough season for me’

Emile Smith Rowe, Arsenal midfielder, speaking to TNT Sports:

I really enjoyed myself tonight, [I] spent a long time [away], it’s been a tough season for me. I’m delighted with the start tonight, and definitely the three points as well.

I was getting cramps after 15 minutes. I haven’t played as much as I would have liked. We changed the team a little bit today, so it was good for, not just me, but the other boys haven’t played so much this season.

We’re obviously happy with the three points. Maybe the performance wasn’t amazing, but we’ve got the three points.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal battles for possession with Daiki Hashioka and Andros Townsend of Luton Town during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Luton hitting bad form at wrong time

For so long this season Luton were punching above their weight, throwing in some shocks. I believed they would stay up.

Look, they still can, but they are hitting a bad patch at exactly the wrong time.

Rob Edwards’ side have not won any of their last 10 Premier League matches, their longest winless run since March 2008 in the top four tiers of English football.

They need to find three points from somewhere, otherwise, the drop looms.

It would be a real shame to lose them, but that’s top-flight footie.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Javier Garcia/Shutterstock (14418346an) Luton Town Manager Rob Edwards Arsenal v Luton Town, Premier League, Football, Emirates Stadium, London, UK - 03 Apr 2024
Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Luton Town - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 Luton Town's Ross Barkley and Teden Mengi look dejected after the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.

Leandro Trossard: ‘We’re pleased we got the points’

Leandro Trossard, Arsenal winger, speaking to TNT Sports:

We knew what we had to do and that’s got the win at home, I think we played well today, we got a lot of chances of playing, but overall was good, we’re pleased that we got the three points.

Everyone showed that they could play and made it hard for the manager, he’s happy with the performance of all of the players so couldn’t get better

Confidence levels among this group are really high. Hopefully, we can maintain this and we have to take game by game because it’s we playing every three days. That’s a nice one today and now we can look forward to the weekend.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Leandro Trossard of Arsenal is challenged by Fred Onyedinma of Luton Town during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Madley sticks to his guns

We don’t see it often, but referee Andy Madley stuck to his own decision tonight after VAR sent him to the monitor to check for a possible penalty.

It felt like a step in the right direction. A referee trusting his own judgment.

It’s what many of us have wanted to see for a while (sorry Brighton fans).

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Referee Andrew Madley looks at the VAR monitor following an incident inside the box during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Gtech Community Stadium on April 03, 2024 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

‘Not a game to remember’

Aadam Patel, Mail Sport, at the GTech Community Stadium:

Certainly not a game to remember. Roberto De Zerbi could hardly hide his frustration as Danny Welbeck missed a hat-trick of chances after coming on, with one last-ditch block by Kristoffer Ajer almost certainly denying Brighton a late winner. As it is, this is two more dropped points in their bid for Europe. For Brentford, another point towards safety

I’d go as far as saying Andy Madley was my MOTM after his refusal to overturn his own decision when he was sent to the VAR monitor. Just the second referee to do that in the Premier League all season.

SOFASCORE STATS: Arsenal 2-0 Luton

It was a straightforward night at the office for Arsenal.

There will be tougher days ahead in the Gunners’ quest for English supremity, but as you can see in the stats here, they had no worries tonight.

They limited Luton to just the one shot on target. The Arsenal defence could be the key if they are to win the league.

It’s the strongest out of the top three in my opinion.

Arsenal defence stop Luton scoring streak

A lot was made of Luton’s attacking prowess before tonight.

The Hatters were on the longest scoring streak in the division, netting in 18 straight league games.

But tonight, they never looked like scoring, in truth.

Arsenal go top

Arsenal never got out of second gear.

That is the match Mikel Arteta would have hoped for, his side got the goals to win the game while not having to exert too much energy.

The squad rotation was big and they will all be feeling fresh after that.

Just what they needed and they are sitting happily on top of the pile – for now at least.

You would expect them all to be camped in front of their televisions tomorrow night.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Mikel Arteta the head coach / manager of Arsenal applauds after the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)

FULL-TIME: Arsenal 2-0 Luton

It is the last chance of the game.

It wasn’t the best of watches, but Arsenal fans won’t care, the Gunners are back at the top of the table.

Two first-half goals were enough for Mikel Arteta’s side with Martin Odegaard opening the scoring before a Daiki Hashioka own goal.

It was a formality after that. Luton pushed but could not trouble the Arsenal backline, while the Gunners chilled throughout the second half.

For Luton, they stay in the bottom three, but there is no shame in losing at the Emirates.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Luton Town - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 Arsenal's David Raya and Jorginho celebrate after the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Luton Town - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 Luton Town's Alfie Doughty looks dejected after the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
20:25, 94

Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Ross Barkley has a go… miles over.

It’s been that kind of night for Luton. they have fought valiantly, but nothing has quite come off.

That’s surely the last effort of the match.

FULL-TIME: Brentford 0-0 Brighton

I need to stop predicting goals…

I said there would be goals at the Etihad on Sunday, but there were none. I predicted lots of goals in this game too, it ends in a stalemate.

Both Brentford and Brighton had their chances, but some poor finishing and brilliant defending means it ends all square.

A fair result in the end.

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Joao Pedro of Brighton & Hove Albion has a shot blocked during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Gtech Community Stadium on April 03, 2024 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Soccer Football - Premier League - Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion - Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi reacts REUTERS/Isabel Infantes NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
20:23, 92

Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Interesting photo, this.

It makes it look like this game has been played at lightning speed, it’s been quite the opposite.

Arsenal have been treating this like a training match, it’s been played at a very slow pace.

The Gunners got their two goals and relaxed. No relentlessness tonight.

Great for Arsenal fans, not for the neutral.

Arsenal's Brazilian midfielder #11 Gabriel Martinelli (L) fights for the ball with Luton Town's English midfielder #45 Alfie Doughty during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Luton Town at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 3, 2024. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
20:20, 88

Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Good save from Thomas Kaminski.

Luton had a chance of their own a minute ago, with Daiki Hashioka forcing a save from David Raya. It was a good effort.

Raya’s opposite number is then tested after giving the ball straight to Arsenal. Eddie Nketiah drags a shot back across goal and Kamiski gets low to save.

Best attacking period for a long time.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal shoots and misses whilst under pressure from Daiki Hashioka of Luton Town (obscured) during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
20:18, 87

WHAT A BLOCK! Brentford 0-0 Brighton

Danny Welbeck looked certain to fire Brighton into the lead late on as he came onto the ball in the box, however, Kristoffer Ajer slid from nowhere to block Welbeck’s strike with his boot.

He celebrated that as much as his equaliser against Man United at the weekend.

A goal-saving block.

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Danny Welbeck of Brighton & Hove Albion is challenged by Kristoffer Ajer of Brentford during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Gtech Community Stadium on April 03, 2024 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
20:16, 86

SUBSTITUTION: Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Emile Smith-Rowe’s night is up.

The young Gunner took his chance well, being involved in both goals and looking comfortable in the midfield.

Jorginho is on in his place.

20:13, 82

SUBSTITUTION: Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Luke Berry is on for Luton in place of Andros Townsend.

Berry has scored in all four divisions for the Hatters, an incredible career.

Can he produce another magical moment at the Emirates?

20:12, 81

CLOSE! Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Takehiro Tomiyasu doesn’t score many, but he just nearly bent Arsenal into a three-goal lead.

It was a lovely strike from the edge of the area, beautifully caressed, it didn’t look like a defender striking it – in my opinion.

The Gunners haven’t had many chances in the second half, that was the best one.

20:10, 79

CHANCE! Brentford 0-0 Brighton

Igor Julio has just flashed one wide from distance.

That ball was moving, you wouldn’t want to stand in the way of that, luckily no one did.

You feel it will take something special to open the scoring.

20:07, 76

SUBSTITUTIONS: Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Both sides have made some changes.

Gabriel Martinelli and Takehiro Tomiyasu are on in place of Reiss Nelson and Oleksandr Zinchenko for Arsenal. They have such a strong squad.

Luton Town have decided to bring on Cauley Woodrow in place of Fred Onyedima, so his first Premier League start has come to an end.

20:05, 75

Brentford 0-0 Brighton

Bryan Mbuemo is on for Brentford and already causing problems.

He has just has an effort blocked from inside the area, with three Brighton players converging on him.

Could Mbuemo be the key to a goal?

Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo shoots under pressure from Brighton and Hove Albion's Jan Paul van Hecke during the Premier League match at the Gtech Community Stadium, London. Picture date: Wednesday April 3, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Brentford. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
20:01, 70

Arsenal 2-0 Luton

That’s a poor cross from Alfie Doughty.

The Luton left-back drives into the box on the left-hand side and should fire it across the box for a lurking Carlton Morris, but he decides to try and ink it. It goes over everyone.

That was an opportunity for the Hatters.

19:58, 67

YELLOW CARD: Arsenal 2-0 Luton (Havertz)

Oh no, what are you doing Kai Havertz?

Havertz goes down under the challenge of Jordan Clark, although there is no challenge – it’s a clear dive.

Very theatrical from the German attacker. Seconds later he is replaced by Eddie Nketiah.

Thomas Partey also comes off, with Decland Rice coming on in his place.

I’m surprised Mikel Arteta has felt the need to turn to Rice.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Kai Havertz of Arsenal receives a yellow card from referee Craig Pawson during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Arsenal's Declan Rice (right) replaces Arsenal's Thomas Partey during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Wednesday April 3, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
19:54, 64

Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Sami Mokbel, Mail Sport, at the Emirates Stadium:

Arsenal haven’t shifted out of second gear. They’ve hardly needed to. This is an important exercise, too, for their fringe players who will be be needed in the run in. An all round positive night for the Gunners so far.

Arsenal's Leandro Trossard, right, challenges for the ball with Luton Town's Fred Onyedinma during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Luton Town at the Emirates Stadium, London, Wednesday, Apr. 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
19:53, 58

CHANCE! Brentford 0-0 Brighton

Adam Lallana comes close for the visitors.

The former England international plays a lovely one-two withJoao Pedro and when he gest the ball back lets fly of a shot which flies over the bar.

The Seagulls are pushing in search of that opener.

19:49, 58

Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Martin Odegaard is bringing out the tricks.

The Arsenal captain produces a lovely turn in the box after receiving the ball from Kai Havertz but eventually loses the ball after trying a roulette.

Nifty feet from the midfielder.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Martin Odegaard of Arsenal makes a break during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
19:47, 56

Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Reiss Nelson goes down under the challenge of Tahith Chong and wants a penalty… it was outside the box.

I’m not sure he was even touched anyway.

It’s clear to see why Craig Pawson waved that one on.

19:45, 54

SUBSTITUTION: Arsenal 2-0 Luton

Remember, Luton have scored in 18 successive league games. they aren’t out of this yet.

Rob Edwards is now bringing on the player who scored their last, Thaith Chong, who comes on for Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.

Can he get another goal in north London?

19:40, 49

Arsenal 2-0 Luton

It’s been a similar start to the first half – not very intense.

This is all Arsenal have to do though, pass it around and enjoy their football.

At this rate they won’t have to risk any first-teamers either, which is good for them with the amount of games coming their way.

SECOND HALF!

Right then, action is back underway at both the Emirates and the GTech Community Stadium.

Are there any twist in the tale in either of these games?

There is at the Etihad, Aston Villa have just equalised to make it 1-1.

The news has seeped through to the Emirates, and the fans start cheering.

Arsenal's Reiss Nelson (left) and Luton Town's Issa Kabore battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Wednesday April 3, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Havertz firing for Gunners

Kai Havertz has come in for a lot of criticism this season, but I must say, he has been excellent recently.

The German international is keeping Gabriel Jesus out of the side and it is easy to see why.

With his assist for the opener, Havertz now has 12 goal contributions in the Premier League this season.

Man City lead Villa

Anything Arsenal can do, so can Manchester City.

The Gunners’ title rivals have just gone 1-0 up at home to Aston Villa thanks to Rodri.

If you want to see what is going on in the 8.15pm kick-off, check out our live blog below.

WATCH: Odegaard opens the scoring

A typical Arsenal goal.

The opener showed their pressing tenacity, passing skill, and expert finishing in one swift move.

Martin Odegaard loves a first-time finish.

HALF-TIME: Arsenal 2-0 Luton

After a cagey start, Arsenal are well on their way to three points.

The Gunners shook off their ring rust after five changes and a goal from their captain, Martin Odegaard, and an own goal from Daiki Hashioka have them two goals to the good.

This looks like a foregone conclusion now. Luton have had some chances, but Arsenal are picking the ball off their midfield far too easily.

Can the Hatters prove me wrong and respond after the break?

Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Luton Town - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 Arsenal's Reiss Nelson with teammates celebrate after Luton Town's Daiki Hashioka scores an own goal and Arsenal's second Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Luton Town - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 Luton Town manager Rob Edwards REUTERS/Toby Melville NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.

HALF-TIME: Brentford 0-0 Brighton

That is the last action of the half.

I think we are all a little surprised that referee Andy Madley has gone against his VAR team, but it’s refreshing to see.

It’s easy to see why Brighton are frustrated, but ultimately they now have to focus on the second half.

19:20, 48

NO PENALTY! Brentford 0-0 Brighton

Well, this is unusual.

The referee is sent to the screen to check for a penalty, which normally means it will be given, but he sticks to his original decision.

There’s a first time for everything!

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Referee Andrew Madley looks at the VAR monitor following an incident inside the box during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Gtech Community Stadium on April 03, 2024 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Soccer Football - Premier League - Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion - Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 A big screen displays a VAR review message REUTERS/Isabel Infantes NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
19:19, 47

VAR CHECKING BRIGHTON PENALTY! Brentford 0-0 Brighton

Mark Flekken produces a strong save to divert Baleba’s shot for a corner.

He scrambled for it and just about reached it.

From the following corner, Lewis Dunk is dragged to the ground by Yoane Wissa.

VAR is checking…

19:13, 44

GOAL!!! Arsenal 2-0 Luton (Hashioka OG 44′)

I thought Reiss Nelson had just netted a goal on his first league start in four years, but it’s an own goal.

Emile Smith-Rowe dances into the box before pulling it across goal from the byline, and it bounces off Daiki Hashioka, under pressure from Nelson, and into the net

Arsenal won’t care who put it in though, they are two goals to the good.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal passes the ball to teammate Reiss Nelson (obscured) ahead of their team's second goal, an own goal scored by Daiki Hashioka of Luton Town (obscured) during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Javier Garcia/Shutterstock (14418346ad) Reiss Nelson of Arsenal scores a goal to make it 2-0 Arsenal v Luton Town, Premier League, Football, Emirates Stadium, London, UK - 03 Apr 2024
19:13, 42

GOOD SAVE! Arsenal 1-0 Luton

Thomas Kaminski is keeping Luton in this game.

The hatters lose the ball in midfield again and Ben White pounces before it’s slid into the path of Kai Havertz.

The German attacker then fires one straight at Kamiski, who does well to get low and parry it away.

Then moments later, Thomas Partey somehow misses from close range. A bit of ring rust I suspect.

19:06, 34

Arsenal 1-0 Luton

Close to a second for Arsenal.

Emile Smith-Rowe stings the palms of Thomas Kaminski and then everyone tries to have a crack inside the area, but bodies are flying everywhere.

There are a few bodies on the floor following that piece of play. It’s all happening!

19:04, 32

CHANCE! Brentford 0-0 Brighton

It has been a tightly contested contest in west London so far, but Ivan Toney very nearly just opened the scoring.

Toney is sent through by Yoane Wissa, chops onto his left foot, but sends a tame effort dribbling into the goalkeeper’s hands.

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 3: Brentford's Ivan Toney looks on as Brighton & Hove Albion's goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen saves his shot at goal during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Gtech Community Stadium on April 3, 2024 in Brentford, England.(Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images)
19:01, 31

Arsenal 1-0 Luton

Andros Townsend is causing Arsenal problems.

The Luton winger whips in a lovely ball for Jordan Clark to attack, but he gets his header all wrong and it goes wide.

Encouraging signs from the visitors.

18:58, 27

CHANCE! Arsenal 1-0 Luton

Luton nearly bite straight back!

It takes a good save from David Raya to keep out Carlton Morris after lovely work by Andros Townsend.

That would have made it interesting.

18:54, 24

GOAL!!! Arsenal 1-0 Luton (Odegaard 24′)

Arsenal’s skipper opens the scoring.

It’s a lovely goal which started with Emile Smith-Rowe winning the ball high up the pitch.

Martin Odegaard plays a lovely give-and-go with Kai Havertz, before an expertly taken first-time finish.

The Emirates breathes a sigh of relief, even though it’s only been 24 minutes…

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Martin Odegaard of Arsenal scores his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)
Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Luton Town - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 Arsenal's Martin Odegaard celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
18:53, 23

Arsenal 0-0 Luton

Arsenal are flowing forward with more intent now.

Leandro Trossard crosses well for Kai Havertz, but the German attacker can’t reach it.

The ball then comes back to the Belgian winger who has a dig from deep, which is blocked.

18:51, 21

Arsenal 0-0 Luton

Better from Arsenal.

The ball is sprayed to Emile Smith-Rowe, who has ago and his shot takes a double deflection before being collected by Thomas Kaminski.

It brings the classic chant of ‘Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal’ from the fans.

A beautiful, melodic song…

18:50, 20

Arsenal 0-0 Luton

What a pass that is by Ross Barkley.

The Luton midfielder sprays it from deep into the path of Alfie Doughty on the right, but the left-back crosses straight into the head of Jordan Clark and out for a goal kick. Unlucky.

It was a brilliant ball by Barkley though. Sumptuous.

18:47, 17

Arsenal 0-0 Luton

Arsenal have nearly passed half as many times as they did against Man City, already.

The Gunners have completed 110 passes to Luton’s 16. They only attempted 269 at the Etihad.

You feel they will reach that total pretty quickly.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal is challenged by Fred Onyedinma of Luton Town during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
18:44, 14

Arsenal 0-0 Luton

Oleksandr Zinchenko is trying to get the crod going.

The atmosphere has been a little flat, despite me predicting it wouldn’t be, and perhaps that is because of what is happening on the pitch.

Not much doing for the Gunners so far, and the fans are reacting to that.

Arsenal 0-0 Luton

I really hope this isn’t a continuation of Sunday at the Etihad.

Arsenal have not got going as of yet, but Ben White has just had a cross tipped over for a corner after a mistake at the back by Luton.

Oleksandr Zinchenko then lets fly after the set-piece, but it’s blocked. A bit better from the Gunners.

Arsenal 0-0 Luton

Isaan Khan, Mail Sport, at the Emirates Stadium:

This is a huge game for Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe. It could well be there only chance until the season’s close to show their worth to Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal 0-0 Luton

Any Arsenal fans that wanted to see a fast start may have to be patient.

The early stages have shown that Arsenal will have the majority of the ball, as expected, but will have to work hard to break down this Luton side.

The Hatters will be happy to try and break when they can.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Kai Havertz of Arsenal and Daiki Hashioka of Luton Town chase the ball during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

KICK-OFF!

Both of our 7.30pm games have got underway.

Both have huge importance in terms of the title race, European football, and the fight for survival.

A very tasty evening in store.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Luton Town - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 Arsenal players huddle before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 3: Brentford's manager Thomas Frank (right) greets Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto de Zerbi during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Gtech Community Stadium on April 3, 2024 in Brentford, England.(Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Confusion: Toney does START

Aadam Patel, Mail Sport, at the GTech Community Stadium:

Hold on! Ivan Toney has walked out and looks like he is fit to start!

Who knows at this point!

‘Interested to see how Thomas Partey gets on’

Sami Mokbel, Mail Sport, at the Emirates Stadium:

I’m most interested to see how Thomas Partey gets on tonight as he returns to the starting XI for the first time in months. Brilliant player, and arguably the most complete midfielder at the club (even with Declan Rice). If they can keep him fit, his return is a major boost for the run-in.

Here come the teams

You can feel the importance of this game in the crowd.

There are nerves, plus a willingness for their side to win. You know what that means, a good atmosphere.

Sadly we have to listen to the Premier League music, it’s not the best.

Toney injured in warm-up

Aadam Patel, Mail Sport, at the GTech Community Stadium:

Late switch for the home side here with Ivan Toney getting injured in the warm-up. In comes Bryan Mbeumo for his first Brentford start since December.

Not good news for Brentford fans…

Big night for Smith-Rowe

Emile Smith-Rowe – a player with lots of talent who has been blighted by injury.

He hasn’t had many chances this season, but tonight is a big one for him.

Impress tonight, you never know, he may just get more game time as the Gunners push for the title.

Or, he will at the very least impress potential suiters in the summer.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal warms up prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Klopp expecting an Arsenal win

It seems Jurgen Klopp is keeping his focus on his own team, despite Arsenal and Manchester City playing tonight.

Speaking today, he said:

I didn’t even know they [Arsenal and city] play [tonight]. I expect them always to win.

I told you one story, years ago, I watched a game and wanted Leicester to win [against Manchester City in 2019] and it didn’t happen.

File photo dated 31-03-2024 of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who does not care that his side are now considered favourites to win the Premier League. Issue date: Wednesday April 3, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

Battle at the bottom

Brentford and Luton fans, this is the situation you are in.

So, if the Bees win tonight they can go above Crystal Palace in 14th, potentially putting a gap between them and the bottom three.

In Luton’s case, it is unlikely even with a win they will be out of the bottom three, but it would mean they go level on points with Nottingham Forest.

All to play for.

How it stands at the top

After Liverpool’s win at the weekend and the draw between Arsenal and Manchester City, this is how the top of the table looks tonight.

Come the end of the night, Arsenal could be back at the summit. I think we all expect that they will be.

Brighton could possibly rise to seventh with a win at Brentford in their fight for European football. There is a lot at stake.

The table is changing every day at this rate.

Mikel Arteta: ‘Saka hasn’t been able to do everything we needed for him to start’

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal manager, speaking to TNT Sports:

He [Bukayo Saka] had to come off against Man City feeling something and he hasn’t been able to do everything that we needed to give him the chance to start. So we have decided not to play him.

First league start of the season for Nelson

I wondered if Mikel Arteta would rotate his squad, and he has.

The Arsenal boss has decided to make five changes, one of those being Reiss Nelson, who comes in to make his first league start of the season.

Nelson can cause damage when he wants to, he scored some big goals last season.

in the absence of Bukayo Saka, he has to step up.

LONDON COLNEY, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Reiss Nelson of Arsenal during a training session at Sobha Realty Training Centre on April 02, 2024 in London Colney, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Title-race run in

You can’t take your eyes off this Premier League title race for one second.

Yes, I’ll admit, Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash didn’t live up to the hype, but the result still left the top three extremely close.

Arsenal are the first team in action tonight, before Manchester City face Aston Villa at 8.15pm and Liverpool play Sheffield United at Anfield tomorrow.

Looking at the run-in, who do you think will win the Premier League title?

Last Time Out: Rice last-gasp header downs Luton in seven-goal thriller

I remember vividly watching Declan Rice leap above the Luton defence and saying ‘goal’ before he even laid his head on the material of the ball. I know, it’s a special talent I have.

Wild celebrations then ensued in the Arsenal away end at Kenilworth Road. At that time, I thought that it could be the Gunners’ year. It just felt like they had that mentality that they lacked last campaign. I still feel that now.

It was a sensational game. One moment you thought Arsenal could batter Luton, the next it looked like the Hatters had completed a memorable comeback.

In the end, Declan Rice showed what he was made of by securing a 4-3 win in the final minute of stoppage time.

It was a Premier League classic. It would be great for the neutral if tonight was the same.

LUTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Declan Rice of Arsenal scores the team's fourth goal in the last minute of added time to win the match 4-3 during the Premier League match between Luton Town and Arsenal FC at Kenilworth Road on December 05, 2023 in Luton, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LUTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Declan Rice of Arsenal celebrates victory with teammate Gabriel after defeating Luton Town 4-3 with a last minute winner during the Premier League match between Luton Town and Arsenal FC at Kenilworth Road on December 05, 2023 in Luton, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Declan Rice of Arsenal celebrates scoring their sides fourth goal with team-mate Martin Odegaard of Arsenal Luton Town v Arsenal, Premier League, Football, Kenilworth Road, Luton, UK - 05 Dec 2023EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Zemanek/Shutterstock (14243828cv)

Brentford’s leaky defence

I think it’s fair to say, it’s not been the best of seasons for Brentford.

We are used to seeing them punch above their weight – they even fought for a spot in Europe last season – but maybe now they are in the position that should be expected of them.

Still, I have to mention that their defence has been extremely poor at times this season. Thomas Frank’s side have conceded in each of their last seven league matches.

Marry that up with Brighton’s attacking efficiency and you have a recipe for disaster – if you’re a Brentford fan.

I guess that means we can expect goals… I hope.

Manchester United's Mason Mount scores their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Gtech Community Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday March 30, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Brentford. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Thomas Frank claims ‘would have lost faith in the football gods’ if Brentford failed to equalise against Man United

Aadam Patel, Mail Sport, at the GTech Community Stadium:

In his programme notes, Thomas Frank says he ‘would have lost faith in the football gods’ if his Brentford side failed to equalise against Manchester United on Saturday and added that Brentford ‘destroyed’ United.His side remain unchanged for the visit of Brighton tonight

Brighton Line-Up – Pedro STARTS

Well then, Joao Pedro is trusted from the start.

The Brazilian is one of four changes to Roberto De Zerbi’s side that lost at Anfield on Sunday.

Adam Lallana also comes in, while Igor Julio and Facundo Buonanotte are both in from the start.

Brentford Starting XI – Bees unchanged

Unsurprisingly, Brentford are unchanged.

They were brilliant against Manchester United the other night, so if they can play anything like that, you feel a win is coming their way.

It means Bryan Mbuemo remains on the bench though.

Luton Town Team News – THREE changes

There is some positive injury news for Luton, Alfie Doughty is fit enough to start.

It’s a big day for midfielder Fred Onyedinma as he makes his first Premier League start – what a place to make it.

Daiki Hashioka and Jordan Clark start once again. Tahith Chong, who scored at Spurs is only fit enough for the bench.

Arsenal Team News – Saka OUT

There is our answer.

Bukayo Saka is at the Emirates, but he will not be involved tonight. I think he has earned the rest.

Declan Rice has also been rested and will take a place on the bench.

Reiss Nelson makes his first start of the season, while Emile Smith Rowe, Leandro Trossard, Reiss Nelson, and Oleksandr Zinchenko all start.

Arsenal arrive at the Emirates

The Gunners are in the building.

Bukayo Saka has been spotted coming off the team bus, will he feature this evening?

We will find out in less than five minutes.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka of Arsenal arrive at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on April 03, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Birthday celebrations in store for Jesus?

While Easter Sunday would have been the perfect day for Gabriel Jesus to mark his return to the starting line-up with a goal, his birthday wouldn’t be a bad time to get back in the goals.

Jesus celebrates his 27th birthday today and has a previous history of netting on his birthday. The Brazilian striker netted in a 2-0 win over Leicester City for his former club Manchester City in 2021.

If Jesus scores tonight, he will become the first player in Premier League history to score a goal on his birthday for two different clubs.

I love these stats. I really hope he features now.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30: Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal celebrates their goal to make it 0-1 during the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Arsenal FC at City Ground on January 30, 2024 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

Forest form increases pressure on Luton

When Nottingham Forest were handed a four-point deduction after breaching the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules, it meant Luton leaped above them and out of the relegation zone.

However, it hasn’t taken long for the Hatters to fall back into 18th place. After the defeat to Spurs, and with Forest picking up four points from a possible six, Luton look in real danger.

Not all hope is lost though. Rob Edwards’ side have scored in 18 successive matches, and if they continue to do so for the rest of the season, they will be in the fight until the very end.

Their task to stay up gets no easier with their trip to the Emirates tonight.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Luton Town - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - March 30, 2024 Luton Town's Cauley Woodrow looks dejected after the match Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.

Joao Pedro’s return

Brighton will finally have their top scorer back tonight.

Joao Pedro has netted 19 times in all competitions for the Seagulls but has been out since early February through injury.

Roberto De Zerbi said yesterday that he ‘hadn’t decided’ how much time Pedro will get on the pitch today. Either way, it’s good news for Brighton fans that he is back in the squad.

Will he be in from the start though?

Time to give Saka a rest?

I’ve heard many Arsenal fans calling for Mikel Arteta to rest Bukayo Saka tonight, as well as many other first-teamers.

Saka has only missed one league match in the last three seasons, meaning he has featured in 104 out of a possible 105 league games.

The 22-year-old hobbled off against Manchester City at the weekend, and although Mikel Arteta has stated he is ‘fine’, tonight could be the perfect opportunity to give Saka some much-needed rest.

Luton could be without 13 players themselves, so will be a far cry from full strength. Maybe it’s time for Arteta to trust some of his fringe players to get the job done.

It will be interesting to see how Arsenal line up.

epa11253430 Arsenal's Bukayo Saka recovers after a clash during the English Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal in Manchester, Britain, 31 March 2024. EPA/PETER POWELL EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos, 'live' services or NFTs. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Brighton to end London losing streak?

It’s fair to say Brighton have not enjoyed their trips to the capital this season.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side have visited London six times this campaign, not coming away with a win from any of them.

This could be a good opportunity to change that record and Brentford are winless in their last four home games have only won three out of their last 19 league games.

This could mean we could just be in for a draw though…

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: Jack Hinshelwood of Brighton & Hove Albion scores his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford FC at American Express Community Stadium on December 06, 2023 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Gunners looking to shoot down Reds from top with win over Luton

Arsenal have the chance to leap back above Liverpool tonight, who don’t play until tomorrow.

The Gunners are back in action at the Emirates as they face Luton, in what on paper would seem like a straightforward evening for them. However, matches in a title race are never simple.

I remember sitting down to watch Arsenal face a relegation-threatened Southampton at home last season, and they needed two late goals to salvage a point.

It must be noted that the Gunners are much stronger this season though. I fully expect them to make a statement tonight.

Having said that, Luton are in desperate need of three points in their hunt for survival. Which is what makes this match so interesting.

I’m sure Liverpool and Nottingham Forest fans will be watching.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Marriott/Shutterstock (14381860bv) Arsenal team huddle at the Arsenal v Brentford EPL match, at the Emirates Stadium, London, UK on 9th March, 2024. Arsenal v Brentford, Premier League, Football, Emirates Stadium, London, UK - 09 Mar 2024
EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists (outside the EU), club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images (+15 in extra time). No use to emulate moving images. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications/services. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ian Stephen/ProSports/Shutterstock (14412477o) GOAL 0-1 Luton Town forward Tahith Chong (14) scores and celebrates during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Luton Town at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London Tottenham Hotspur v Luton Town, Premier League - 30 Mar 2024

What we have in store

London is the focal point for our two 7.30pm games tonight.

Both the top and bottom will be affected by what happens in the capital this evening, so let’s have a look at the fixtures we are bringing you in this live blog:

  • Arsenal vs Luton 19:30 BST
  • Brentford vs Brighton 19:30 BST
Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Luton Town - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 Merchandise for sale outside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Toby Melville NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.

The title race continues…

A lens will be zoomed in on the top of the table tonight.

The matches are coming thick and fast, Arsenal already have the opportunity to return to the top of the table tonight after they relinquished their spot at the summit on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Brighton will be aiming to avoid a fifth successive away defeat as they travel to Brentford. I know, I was shocked when I read this stat too.

Nothing is ever straightforward this time of the season, and that’s why I love it. So, expect the unexpected.

Will Arsenal be sitting pretty at the top of the tree for 24 hours, minimum? Can Brentford build on their performance against Manchester United?

Let’s get into the action.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Luton Town - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 3, 2024 General view inside the stadium before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: General view inside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Gtech Community Stadium on April 03, 2024 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Key Updates

  • SOFASCORE STATS: Arsenal 2-0 Luton
  • FULL-TIME: Arsenal 2-0 Luton
  • FULL-TIME: Brentford 0-0 Brighton
  • SECOND HALF!
  • HALF-TIME: Arsenal 2-0 Luton
  • HALF-TIME: Brentford 0-0 Brighton
  • NO PENALTY! Brentford 0-0 Brighton
  • GOAL!!! Arsenal 2-0 Luton (Hashioka OG 44′)
  • GOAL!!! Arsenal 1-0 Luton (Odegaard 24′)
  • How it stands at the top
  • Brighton Line-Up – Pedro STARTS
  • Brentford Starting XI – Bees unchanged
  • Luton Town Team News – THREE changes
  • Arsenal Team News – Saka OUT
  • What we have in store
  • The title race continues…

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