Manchester United secured a hard-fought 1-0 win over Luton Town at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.
The underdog visitors sat deep in an attempt to frustrate United and were largely successful before Victor Lindelof fired home shortly before the hour mark to steer the Red Devils to a much-needed victory.
United did suffer throughout the game and lost both Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Hojlund to injury, further adding to Erik ten Hag’s headache.
How the game unfolded
Luton barely even touched the ball inside the first ten minutes but goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski made the most of his first involvement with an outstanding save to deny Hojlund from near point-blank range.
Scott McTominay headed over the bar five minutes later and it wasn’t long before Alejandro Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes blazed high as well, with United boasting close to 75% possession midway through the first half and looking like the only team likely to score.
United’s pressure was relentless but Luton stood firm in their defensive shape, and the visitors even had a chance to take the lead when Carlton Morris’ header drew an impressive save from Andre Onana.
Shortly before the interval, Garnacho failed to make the most of a great sight of goal, which largely summed up United’s first half. Erik ten Hag’s side were clearly on top but, aside from Hojlund’s first sight of goal, failed to ask any real questions of Kaminski.
The second half got off to a similar start as Hojlund sent a free header wide from a corner after just a few minutes.
The tension around Old Trafford began to build and so fans were ecstatic to see Lindelof rifle into the back of the net on the hour mark after some penalty box pinball.
Rashford struck straight at the grateful Kaminski as United searched for a second, before Fernandes saw a great chance blocked by Jordan Clark from inside the six-yard box.
Luton tried to get forward for an equaliser but simply could not get on the ball enough. United would knock on the door for the remainder of the game but ultimately had to settle for a 1-0 win.
Man Utd player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Andre Onana – 6/10 – Had a shaky pass out from the back in the first half but made up for it with a smart save to deny Morris.
RB: Diogo Dalot – 5/10 – United started off attacking down the right but quickly focused their efforts on the opposite wing, meaning Dalot was rarely involved.
CB: Harry Maguire – 7/10 – Rarely tested defensively but really impressed with the ball at his feet. Some glorious switches of play to try and make something happen.
CB: Victor Lindelof – 8/10 – Started off quiet but quickly grew into the game and was clearly inspired by his goal as he ended on a high.
LB: Sergio Reguilon – 6/10 – Some really intelligent movement to aid Garnacho but wasn’t strong enough on the ball. Guilty of crossing far too early.
DM: Scott McTominay – 5/10 – Not dynamic enough. Had to focus solely on trying to pass Luton into submission which simply isn’t his game. Not the right skillset for a match like this.
made up for it.
LM: Alejandro Garnacho – 7/10 – United’s danger man. Garnacho looked lively and determined to get into the box every single time he got the ball. Luton struggled to contain him.
ST: Rasmus Hojlund – 6/10 – Got into some nice positions and was unfortunate not to open his Premier League account here. Forced off injured late on.
SUB: Mason Mount (40′ for Eriksen) – 6/10
SUB: Antony (68′ for Garnacho) – 6/10
SUB: Anthony Martial (78′ for Hojlund) – N/A
Subs not used: Altay Bayindir (GK), Raphael Varane, Sofyan Amrabat, Kobbie Mainoo, Hannibal Mejbri, Facundo Pellistri