The Championship play-off final pits Luton Town against Coventry City, with one club receiving the ultimate prize and riches that come with Premier League football after a remarkable rise up the English Football League ladder.
The two clubs were promoted out of League Two in 2018 following relegations caused by various off-field issues and come into this game in the strongest position they have been in for decades, owned by people who care with two seriously impressive managers in the respective dugouts. Luton’s defeat in the first leg at Sunderland is their only loss in 16 while Coventry have lost one of their last 19 and kept a rampant Middlesbrough at bay in their semi-final.
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Coventry vs Luton starting LINEUPS
Decision for Coventry in attack
Mark Robins has total faith in his squad to carry out a game plan and has a pretty settled XI, captain Liam Kelly returned at the end of the season while Ben Sheaf made his comeback during the semi-final win over Middlesbrough. Robins often goes 3-4-2-1 away from home and 3-4-1-2 at home with Matty Godden and Jamie Allen generally the pair to switch. Quite what he does at a neutral venue remains to be seen but with Luton playing a back three, it is plausible that he opts for the extra striker.
Edwards to stick with the group that saw them reach the final
Since January, Rob Edwards has stuck to an XI that carries out his preferred game plan near-perfectly and he is unlikely to make a change to the team that saw off Sunderland over two legs. That means Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, who helped the club win promotion out of non-league less than a decade ago, will start behind the most powerful front pairing in English football – Elijah Adebayo and Carlton Morris.
coventry vs luton TEAM STATS
Coventry overperforming defensively
Like their Wembley opponents, Coventry have built success on solid foundations, impressively so considering they have five defenders on loan, three of whom are likely to start the final. Despite that, their xG against is mid-table in the Championship, showcasing the tight margins within the division. Coventry are strong at defending set-pieces but have given up more than all but six Championship teams, including 14 over two legs against Middlesbrough.
Luton conceding less than a goal per game
Luton Town’s rise to the top has been built on solid foundations and Rob Edwards has continued that in a division that often sees victories on tight margins. Luton have conceded less than 1 xGA per 90 minutes and managed to overperform that in actual goals conceded. They don’t give up many clear opportunities either, conceding less than three shots on target per 90.
Coventry vs Luton SHOTS AND SHOTS ON TARGET STATS
Coventry midfielders supporting the attack
Viktor Gyokeres was well-marshalled by Middlesbrough’s defence recently so reliance has fallen upon their midfielder. Gustavo Hamer has managed two or more shots in 13 of his last 16 matches and a shot on target in seven of his last nine while Ben Sheaf, who plays deeper, has managed two or more shots in his last five 90’s and a shot on target in four of those.
Luton front two shooting a lot
Luton’s front two have averaged a lot of shots per 90 minutes played and they have shown no signs of slowing down. Elijah Adebayo managed four shots in both play-off matches against Sunderland and will fancy his chances up against young loanees Luke McNally and Callum Doyle. Carlton Morris is another powerhouse and he has managed at least three shots and one shot on target in 12 of his last 17 matches.
coventry vs Luton GOALS AND ASSISTS STATS
Hamer and Gyok the golden pair for Coventry
Mark Robins has been able to rely upon two of the finest players in the Championship to drive their promotion charge and they showed their importance by linking up for the winner against Middlesbrough in the semi-final. Gyokeres has mustered over 30 goal contributions and Gustavo Hamer over 20 – Hamer can be backed at 3’s for your bet builder.
Morris looking for 21 at Wembley
Carlton Morris has had the season of a lifetime, breaking the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career after ending the season strongly, with nine goals in his last 15 matches – he’s available to score anytime at 3.20 if you want to back him for your bet builder. Adebayo is unsurprisingly second in the goalscorers list and his recent shooting run will make him a threat.
Coventry vs Luton PASSING STATS
Coventry don’t want the ball
Like Luton, Coventry’s rise has been about structure and solidity, happy to stay solid and set their forwards away in as few passes as possible. Their three matches with Middlesbrough saw them average 33% possession. When they played Luton earlier in the season, Gustavo Hamer saw most of the ball with 58 attempted passes but has since been tasked with a more advanced role.
Luton more than comfortable without the ball
Luton Town have averaged 46.2% of the ball over the course of the Championship season and their last five matches have seen them average 38, 38, 40, 40 and 38%. In their previous encounter with Coventry, they had half of the possession during the 90.
COVENTRY CARDS AND FOULS STATS
Godden and Gyok pressing from the front
If Coventry are to win this game, they are going to need to get their pressing angles right to stop Luton getting the right deliveries into their front two. It’s a good job Viktor Gyokeres and Matty Godden are happy to make tackles, the former committing two or more fouls in his last three matches while the latter has fouled an opponent in his last eight appearances.
It’s a good job for Luton that their defence are used to being on the end of a foul. Tom Lockyer is fouled over once per 90 minutes while left-centre-back Amari’i Bell has been fouled in six of his last seven matches – he will be going up against Godden. Elsewhere, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu is fouled over once per 90 minutes and was fouled three times against Coventry last time the two sides met.
Coventry vs Luton Key Matchups
Matty Godden vs Amari’i Bell
Kyle McFadzean vs Elijah Adebayo
Gustavo Hamer vs Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu
LUTON CARDS AND FOULS STATS
Front two throwing considerable weight around
Few defences will enjoy coming up against Elijah Adebayo and Carlton Morris and the pair aren’t afraid to throw their weight around, committing over 1.7 fouls per 90. Adebayo has committed a foul in his last 11 starts and given away two or more free-kicks in six of his last eight matches. Morris, meanwhile, has committed a foul in 17 of his last 18 appearances.
As the main threat, Viktor Gyokeres understandably receives a lot of knocks as teams try to knock him off his stride. Luton are fully aware of this – they committed five fouls on him last time the two teams played each other. His support act, Gustavo Hamer, has been fouled in each of his last eight matches, one of the downsides to him playing closer to Gyokeres rather than a deeper role.
Coventry vs Luton Key Matchups
Gabriel Osho vs Viktor Gyokeres
Marvelous Nakamba vs Gustavo Hamer
Carlton Morris vs Callum Doyle