Talking Tactics

How the pace of Ogbene has transformed Luton's attack

By Adrian Clarke 10 Feb 2024

Adrian Clarke analyses Luton's recent great goalscoring form and improvement in the final third

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Team analysis: Luton Town

Luton's gutsy 4-3 defeat at the hands of Arsenal in early December seems to have emboldened the Hatters to play with greater aggression and bravery – and it suits them.

Early in the campaign Rob Edwards’ side were perhaps guilty of showing their Premier League opponents too much respect.

It seems that Edwards was concerned about teams playing through his team's press as between August and November only 19 per cent of their "pressures" were inside the final third.

It was too easy for rival sides to enjoy comfortable possession and control matches against them.

That mentality has now changed, with Luton’s share of pressures inside the final third rising to 28 per cent since 1 December.

Being more hostile in advanced areas has unsettled opponents and helped Luton create far better goalscoring opportunities.

Across the last eight matches, only one team has outscored the Hatters' 19 Premier League goals. They had previously notched 13 goals in 14 matches.

PL goals scored last eight matches
Team Goals 
Spurs 20
Luton 19
Man City 18
Liverpool 18
Wolves 17

Increasing their aggression, gaining confidence in the surroundings, and feeling added comfort in an evolving style of play, Edwards’ players are now significantly more competitive.

In big moments, as this table below suggests, they are also showing better composure, hitting the target more regularly, and converting their chances.

Utilising their strengths

Luton's left-footed wing-back Alfie Doughty is one of the best set-piece takers in the division, creating 24 chances and four assists from corners and free-kicks so far.

That ranks him second only to West Ham United’s set-piece maestro James Ward-Prowse, who has created 33 chances and five assists in 2023/24.

The Hatters have made significant strides at dead-ball situations, scoring from at least one in six of their last nine Premier League matches.

Since the start of December no one has been better at this aspect of the game than Luton.

Finding the back of the net on seven occasions, with 28 per cent of the efforts in this period, they have been ruthlessly efficient.

Luton's set-piece threat*
Team Goals  Shots 
Luton 7 25
Everton 7 50
Arsenal 6 37
Wolves 5 33

*Since 1 December

Their key man from set plays is leading scorer Elijah Adebayo, who has registered four of his nine goals from these situations.

Defender Gabriel Osho, who scored against Arsenal and Newcastle United, also holds the distinction of boasting a 100 per cent goal record from headed shots.

A pair of difference makers

Searing pace is a rare commodity, but in the shape of right wing-back Chiedozie Ogbene, Luton have an individual who can affect matches with his speed.

He is statistically the second-fastest Premier League player this season.

Fastest players in 2023/24
Player Top speed
Micky Van de Ven 37.38km/h
Chiedozie Ogbene 36.93km/h
Pedro Neto 36.86km/h
Dominik Szoboszlai 36.76km/h

The Republic of Ireland star gave Newcastle's Dan Burn a particularly torrid time in last weekend’s 4-4 draw on Tyneside.

Blazing past the tall left-back five times in the opening 54 minutes, Ogbene’s presence ensured the Hatters carried a major threat down that side of the pitch, forcing Eddie Howe to substitute Burn just after the hour.

Ogbene’s dribbles v Newcastle 

For players who have featured for over 1,000 minutes, Ogbene’s 2.74 successful dribbles per match rank him third in the top flight, behind Mohammed Kudus and Eberechi Eze.

He has created 19 chances from open play as his speed and positivity help to push opponents back.

According to Opta Analyst, no team has a right full-back or wing-back who enjoys their average touch location higher up field than Luton, at 58.7m, as the graphic below shows.


Rejuvenated Ross Barkley is the other difference maker in this Luton side.

His surging runs down the centre of the pitch helped him score against Newcastle and Arsenal, and it was his brilliant tackle and surge at home to Brighton & Hove Albion that set up Adebayo for a quality first-half strike in the 4-0 success.

Marrying an abrasive style with quality on the ball, Barkley’s excellence has allowed Luton to rely less on creating the bulk of their chances from crosses or set plays.


Since the start of December, Barkley has been involved in twice as many attacking sequences as any Luton team-mate.

Setting the tone with his ball winning quality, and then driving the team forward with the ball at his feet, Barkley has been the catalyst for many of the Hatters' most promising raids in recent weeks.

Looking sharper by the game, he must be in contention for an international recall.

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