The route to Luton today may be familiar to most of the Arsenal players since it is the location of the club’s airport of choice, but the journey to Kenilworth Road will be their first and it is likely to be a unique experience for them.
Older Arsenal fans will know that the compact ground holds few good memories for their club.
The last time Luton Town and Arsenal played each other in any competition was in December 1991. Then the Hatters won 1-0 at Kenilworth Road.
That extended a winless run for Arsenal at Kenilworth Road to 10 matches in all competitions. Their last win there came almost 40 years ago, 2-1 under Don Howe in January 1984.
Luton manager Rob Edwards hopes the Gunners will have another unpleasant visit tonight.
“The Kenny is different. It is a little bit tighter, it is intimidating,” he told the club website. “It is unique. The ground is different, it is a bit of a leveller. We’ve had a lot of tight games there so far this season, hopefully this can be another one.
“It’s different for them. It’s very, very old school and the level of these players now and where they’ve been playing for a long time, they’re used to these huge stadiums now. Kenilworth Road is just not that. It’s just intense and it’s on top of you and it’s quite unique.”
Luton’s most famous win over Arsenal came at Wembley in 1988 in the League Cup final, when they came from behind to beat the holders 3-2, thanks to a late winner from club legend Brian Stein.
One of the greatest days in our history! 🧡 pic.twitter.com/DNoOBg2DMI— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) December 5, 2023
Arsenal generally have a good record against teams they are facing for the first time in the Premier League, winning six of seven matches.
But the last time they played a Premier League newbie, they lost, going down 2-0 at Brentford in the opening match of the 2021/22 season.
It could be a milestone evening for Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, who is set to make his 200th appearance for the club in all competitions.
Aged 22 years and 191 days today, he would be the second-youngest English player to reach the landmark for Arsenal after Cliff Bastin, who was 22 years and 16 days at the time, and the youngest overall since Cesc Fabregas in 2008, aged 21 years and 118 days.