Both teams were hopeful of automatic promotion a few weeks ago but Sheffield United now look away and clear. If this match ends a draw, then the Blades can effectively secure promotion due to their goal difference. Luton or Boro must win to keep any chance of finishing 2nd alive. Both have been in good form recently with Luton unbeaten in 11 straight league games. Michael Carrick has really got Boro ticking by winning 17 of their last 24 contests in the Championship.
A must win game if either side is to have any hope of automatic promotion, and I’ve put together all the numbers you’ll need for a bet builder in this exciting clash. As always, check out my Stats Pack Guide if you need some extra assistance.
Rob Edwards has been having some decent success with a 3-5-2 formation. It allows The Hatters to have strong defensive foundations in addition to countering menacingly.
Right wing back, on loan from Leeds, Cody Drameh has been one of their standout performers, whilst Carlton Morris upfront is a beast at Championship level. Reece Burke and Gabe Osho are injured for Luton and won’t feature.
Middlesbrough trio McNair, Forss and Tommy Smith all came off injured vs Hull City in midweek and could be doubtful here. Anfernee Dijksteel and Isaiah Jones may well come into the side as replacements but some of these injury assessments will be game time decisions.
Carrick may stick with his recent 4-4-2 system, but he has employed a 4-2-3-1 formation on most occasions since taking over on Teesside.
Luton average 1.26 goals for and just 0.86 against. Their defence has been remarkably strong under Rob Edwards and is totally legitimate with an xGA of 0.91. The Hatters only concede 2.72 SOT against per match which is remarkably low. They are less potent offensively, only averaging 12.16 shots per game with 3.70 on target.
The Town average close to 6 corners per game and just 4.67 against. Corner overs are probably something to look out for here. Cards have been average to high in their fixtures averaging a total of 4.28 in each game.
Middlesbrough average an impressive 1.91 goals per game and 1.21 against. They have strong xG and xGA numbers although have been slightly overachieving offensively. This can be explained by some brilliant individual finishers though. Boro have a surprisingly low shot total (12.49) per game but 4.19 have been on target.
The Teesiders average exactly 6 corners per game and 4.21 against. Cards have been middling to high at 4.04 in each contest. These numbers are very similar to Luton and the corner market especially has some interest here at Kenilworth Road.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Carlton Morris and Cauley Woodrow both average over 3 shots per game for Luton. Woodrow is slightly more accurate, but both can usually be relied upon to hit the target at least once in each game.
Nobody else on this list really stands out as a potential shooter. Doughty and Campbell usually fire in at least one effort per game but Luton tend to rely on their strikers to fire at goal. Doughty is often on set piece duty so will surely have at least one effort and maybe even find the target.
Chuba Akpom is known for his goals, but his actual shooting numbers are slightly lower than expected. He averages just 2.83 shots per game with 1.32 on target. Quality over quantity is very much the name of the game with Akpom though.
Archer averages 2.54 shots per game and Forss 1.92. Both have roughly a 45% accuracy rate. Jones and Hackney both average at least one shot per 90 mins and could be considered.
Player Goals and Assists
Carlton Morris has scored 19 goals and will be the clear main threat for Luton. There is a huge weight on his shoulders though because no other player has anywhere close to his level of goals.
Of the projected starters, Campbell and Mpanzu both have three goals, whilst Cauley Woodrow has only netted twice. Elijah Adebayo is another option for Luton, and he has scored 7 times, but could be on the bench for this game.
Chuba Akpom has scored a ridiculous 28 goals and has been in amazing form. He has scored at least one goal in 8 of his last 9 games and as good as Luton’s defence is, he will be very difficult to contain.
Forss is next on the list with 10 goals but could be an injury doubt, so Archer is likely to be the secondary threat for Boro. Archer leads them for assists with five. Isaiah Jones could be a key man for the visitors on the right wing and has also contributed in different ways.
Luton only average around 47% possession and despite being at home are unlikely to have that much of the ball here. None of their players average more than 40 passes per 90 mins. There is simply no interest in taking any of their passing lines, unless you are looking at under markets.
Middlesbrough average around 57% possession and like to have plenty of the ball under Michael Carrick. Centre back Darragh Lenihan averages over 70 passes per 90 mins and is the standout figure due to his position on the field and also likely nature to last the full match.
Luton Cards and Fouls
Carlton Morris is a very physical striker. He will work hard and press hard for his team. He averages close to a couple of fouls per game and has racked up 11 cards. He can be relied upon to get stuck in with the Sky cameras on show.
Alfie Doughty plays left wing back for Luton and could be under serious pressure from Isaiah Jones. He fouls on average 1.65 times per 90 mins and most opponents try to work the Luton left hand side due to Drameh’s strength on the other flank. Lockyer will be asked to do a job on Chuba Akpom which will be a difficult matchup for him.
Isaiah Jones is a menace due to his high agility and dribbling rate. If he lines up on the right, then Alfie Doughty could be in for a horrible evening. Chuba Akpom is of course going to be a major problem for Luton as well. He’s fouled 2.34 times per match and the entire Luton defence is going to have to do a job on him. Two other players who generally draw at least one foul are Hackney and Archer.
Match-Ups to watch
Alfie Doughty vs Isaiah Jones
Tom Lockyer vs Chuba Akpom
Carlton Morris vs Darragh Lenihan
Middlesbrough Cards and Fouls
Tommy Smith is doubtful for this match due to injury but leads the way with 10 cards and 1.22 fouls per 90 mins. Both Howson and Hackney will get stuck into the midfield with Hackney especially offering up nearly two fouls per 90 mins. Lenihan may well have to take up the responsibility of dealing with Carlton Morris in this match.
A couple of Luton defenders Bell and Lockyer are surprisingly good at drawing fouls – close to 1.50 per 90 mins. This is interesting because if any of the Boro attackers are over enthusiastic then they could rack up a few fouls or even cards.
Isiah Jones is on Bell’s side of the field and might be most at risk. Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu is going to be a clear target in midfield. Both strikers Morris and either Woodrow or Adebayo will have to be dealt with accordingly.
Match-Ups to watch
Darragh Lenihan vs Carlton Morris
Hayden Hackney vs Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu
Isaiah Jones vs Amari’i Bell
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
This should be a cracker of a game in the hunt for Premier League football, and this should make for a great bet builder. You can check out my picks for the game, at a tasty 6/1, below.
Luton vs Middlesbrough
Morris averages 1.06 shots on target P/90 from 3.05 shots P/90.
Middlesbrough concede 3.70 shots on target P/90.
Luton average 5.88 corners for per game, and concede 4.67 corners per game.
Middlesbrough average 6.00 corners per game, and 4.21 against per game.
Doughty averages 1.65 fouls P/90, and has 10 cards to his name this season.
Likely opponent Isaiah Jones is fouled 2.79 times P/90.