Arsenal players celebrating a goal against Luton

Arsenal 2-0 Luton: Gunners go top of Premier League after a routine win

Jurgen Klopp’s side meet Sheffield United on Thursday at Anfield with the chance to reclaim the lead. But for now, it is Arsenal at the summit. Sealing victory via Martin Odegaard’s first-half strike and a Daiki Hashioka own goal.

Arteta made five changes for the visitors, who caused the Gunners untold problems in the reverse fixture. But this contest was far more one-sided. Arsenal barely got out of second gear and Arteta got the luxury of rotating without it impacting performance.

The opener was scored by the hosts’ outstanding captain in the 24th minute. The lesser used Emile Smith Rowe – making his first start since January – picked the pocket of Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu and fed Kai Havertz, who squared to Odegaard to side-foot home. In-form Havertz has now been involved in five goals in his last six appearances at the Emirates.

Arsenal’s second knocked the stuffing out of Rob Edwards’ depleted side (missing 11 senior players) entirely. With Smith Rowe involved again. The forward escaped wide left and waited for the perfect moment to tease a cross towards the run of Reiss Nelson. Forcing Hashioka to turn inadvertently into his net.

How title-chasing Arsenal reclaimed top spot

Having battled to a commendable goalless draw at Manchester City four days prior, suffering without the ball for the majority, Wednesday’s meeting with Luton was not a night for overexertion by title-chasing Arsenal, who remain unbeaten in 2024.

Arteta deployed his charges to deliver a professional but profitable performance. It is exactly what they did – lift off in a season-defining month. Champions League commitments will add to Premier League pressures, with eight games to contest across a busy April.

Many of the big guns were rested as a result – Bukayo Saka was not included in the matchday squad at all, while Declan Rice was only used as a second-half substitute.

Odegaard, a permanent fixture in midfield, scored his 10th goal of the season to set the Gunners on course for a straightforward evening.

Smith Rowe made the difference. He dispossessed the dawdling Mpanzu inside the visitors’ half before the Norwegian exchanged passes with Havertz to slam a left-footed finish beyond Thomas Kaminski.

Luton tried but suffered a second setback. A minute before the break when Hashioka turned Smith Rowe’s low center into his net.

The injury-hit Hatters posed very little threat in north London – only managing to amass an xG of 0.18 – and failed to score for the first time in 19 league outings.

Arsenal return to action at Brighton on Saturday.Ahead of next week’s European first leg with Bayern. While Luton’s quest for survival continues at home to Bournemouth.

Luton remain 18th, three points shy of safety, with seven games left to pull off an increasingly unlikely escape.

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