Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will not underestimate Luton but insists going to Kenilworth Road is the same as any other ground.

The Hatters have beaten Newcastle and Brighton at home, drawn with Liverpool and pushed Manchester City and Arsenal close before losing by the odd goal.

They surprisingly lost to fellow strugglers Sheffield United when they visited last weekend but Ten Hag will not read much into that result.

“It doesn’t matter who you face, if you play the best or the worst or in between, it doesn’t matter,” said the Dutchman, whose side have won five and drawn one of their last six matches.

“We respect every opponent and definitely we are not in a position to underestimate any opponent, so we will not do.

“We have to play our best because we have seen their performances across the season are very good, and especially the last weeks, they are really improving. I have a lot of respect for this team, and we have to play our best football.”

United are unbeaten in the last 12 meetings against Luton in all competitions, winning 10 and drawing two.

Their record against newly-promoted clubs – winning the last 11 games and conceding just five – is the best since the latter years of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign when he won 12 in succession between 2011 and 2013.

And while Kenilworth Road has its own individual idiosyncrasies which most Premier League clubs will not be accustomed to, Ten Hag dismissed what effect that may have on his side.

“The pitch, is it smaller or longer? (Is it) 11 v 11? No referees are coming?” he added.

“Every ambience is different, we have to deal with the circumstances, it’s about playing football 11 v 11, we have to make it our game.

“Every ambience is different, of course, that is what I want to say and we have to deal with the circumstances. We have to make it our game.”

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder praised his side’s character as they put last week’s thrashing by Aston Villa behind them to claim a first away win of the season at Luton.

The 5-0 loss at Bramall Lane last Saturday left the Blades 10 points adrift of Premier League safety, but they bounced back with a deserved 3-1 victory at Kenilworth Road.

Luton could not summon the intensity with which they dispatched Brighton 4-0 here 11 days previously. Instead, and despite dominating the ball in the first half, they allowed the visitors the spaces they needed to take control of the game by the break.

First, Cameron Archer recovered his composure after slamming wide from eight yards to seconds later give his team the lead, charging defender Gabe Osho off the ball before turning a clever finish inside Thomas Kaminski’s near post.

James McAtee doubled the lead from the penalty spot after a pitchside VAR review ruled handball against Reece Burke, as the Blades took a two-goal lead for the first time this campaign.

Carlton Morris got one back from 12 yards, another onfield review adjudging that Vinicius Souza had handled at a Luton corner.

But the Brazilian redeemed himself to net the clinching goal 18 minutes from time, rounding off a clinical counter-attack to slam home the Blades’ third and cut the gap to safety to seven points.

“It’s been long time coming,” said Wilder of his team’s first win on the road. “It shouldn’t be February. The club have come close on quite a number of occasions.

“It’s been a difficult week. I didn’t think they would have expected it to be any different, in terms of (my) message.

“It’s going to be there for a while that (Villa) result and performance, and the whole feel of it. So hopefully we can use last Saturday night, no hiding place. You have to own it as a manager. The players have to own it.

“What do you do? You work a little bit harder, tune in a little bit more to your week’s work, deliver good training sessions which they have done right the way through.

“I believe there was a steely attitude (against Luton), you feel it sometimes as a manager. There was desire to put what went wrong last week in today’s performance, and we did.

“Last week was certainly not how we set up this club since 2016 and through my time and through (former boss) Paul’s (Heckingbottom’s) time. It’s not what the club is built on, it’s not what we cherish.”

Luton boss Rob Edwards reflected on a missed opportunity against the league’s bottom side to add to the 11 points his team had taken from their previous six games.

“Tough day for us,” he said. “We made a couple of costly errors. It doesn’t matter how much of the ball you have, it’s what you do with it that counts.

“Goals change everyone’s emotions in a game. Key moments today we came up a little bit short.

“When we had loads of possession in the final third, we were not precise or quick or slick enough. We didn’t work the goalkeeper enough.”

Rob Edwards predicted striker Elijah Adebayo has a “high ceiling” to what he can achieve after Luton’s hat-trick hero helped his side to a 4-0 win against Brighton at Kenilworth Road.

The 26-year-old has now scored eight goals in the Premier League this season, with Luton moving out of the bottom three for the first time in nearly two months following the victory.

Adebayo scored his first after just 19 seconds, getting there ahead of goalkeeper Jason Steele to reach Carlton Morris’s header back across goal to nod home.

Chiedozie Ogbene added a second less than two minutes later, beating Steele to the ball as both raced to meet Albert Sambi Lokonga’s ball over the top and sliding it in to cap a sensational opening.

Brighton fell further behind before the break when Adebayo grabbed his second, staying onside to receive Ross Barkley’s pass and lashing the ball inside the near post.

And Adebayo completed his hat-trick after 56 minutes, heading in from Alfie Doughty’s corner as Brighton’s defence did little more than stand and watch.

It was comfortably the Hatters’ best win since returning to the top flight, with Adebayo’s goals the difference.

“He’s become more reliable without the ball,” said Edwards.

“His work-rate has always been great but he’s seeing how important it is to press hard, press the goalkeeper, press his man. He does that tirelessly.

“He’s going to be really difficult to play against. He can defend set-pieces, he’s a threat in the six-yard box, because of his hold-up play and pressing and he’s scoring some goal goals.

“He’s progressing really well.

“He’s got a really high ceiling. If he stays focused and keeps working hard, he can go a long way and have a really good career.”

It was Luton’s third win in five league matches as their bid to survive in the top flight picked up more momentum ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle.

“It’s still only three points,” said Edwards. “It’s good for our confidence and belief. Tonight will get more headlines because of who it was against.

“We were ruthless, and maybe we could have been more ruthless. I was still jumping around at 4-0 because we got a bit sloppy at times.

“We’ve got to keep our foot down. We’ve got to be at full-tilt every day, otherwise we’ve got no chance.”

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi reflected on a defeat for which his side must take collective responsibility.

“It’s difficult to explain,” he said. “We are all responsible for this defeat. It’s very tough to accept, to understand. But I think we can learn a lot from this day, this game.

“We have to remember very well this defeat. But in the same way we have to forget. They are all responsible, me first of all.

“We have to remember from where we started. We are Brighton, we are a good team, we have good players. But to show our qualities, we have to push every day.”

Luton moved out of the Premier League relegation zone as an Elijah Adebayo hat-trick stunned Brighton.

The Hatters leapfrogged Everton with a fantastic 4-0 victory at home to Roberto De Zerbi’s side, who fell behind to Adebayo’s first inside the opening minute.

Kenilworth Road was truly rocking shortly afterwards as Chiedozie Ogbene doubled the lead before Adebayo struck either side of the interval to complete a famous win for Rob Edwards’ men.

Everton slipped into the drop zone after drawing 0-0 in a forgettable contest at Fulham.

At the top of the table, Arsenal ran out 2-1 winners at Nottingham Forest to move up to second behind leaders Liverpool.

After a dull first half, Gabriel Jesus broke the deadlock with a finish from an acute angle before laying on the second for Bukayo Saka.

Substitute Taiwo Awoniyi halved the deficit late on but the Gunners saw out stoppage time to take the three points.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa’s 17-match unbeaten run at home in the league came to a shuddering halt as they were thrashed 3-1 by Newcastle.

A double from defender Fabian Schar had the away side in charge at the break and they extended their lead through an Alex Moreno own goal – with Ollie Watkins hitting a late consolation for Villa.

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An Eberechi Eze brace helped Crystal Palace twice rally from behind to beat bottom club Sheffield United 3-2 at Selhurst Park.

Ben Brereton-Diaz put the Blades ahead in the first minute and they retook the lead through James McAtee after Eze had levelled for the hosts.

England international Eze was again on hand to equalise with Michael Olise, who had provided the two assists for the Palace goals, hitting the winner to take some of the heat off under-pressure Eagles boss Roy Hodgson.

Luton scored twice in the opening two minutes and 17 seconds en route to a stunning 4-0 win against Brighton at Kenilworth Road.

Aided by a superb hat-trick from striker Elijah Adebayo, this was comfortably the hosts’ biggest Premier League win and their most commanding performance.

It was earned in swashbuckling style as they dismissed an insipid Brighton to move out of the relegation zone for the first time in nearly two months.

Chiedozie Ogbene also netted during a first half in which Roberto De Zerbi’s side simply could not cope with what came their way, a shadow of the team that won the corresponding fixture 4-1 on the opening weekend.

Luton made a start beyond manager Rob Edwards’ most rose-tinted expectations.

Adebayo headed his first after 19 seconds. Ogbene received the ball on the edge of the box and crossed to the far post towards Carlton Morris.

The Hatters captain, leaping determinedly above his marker, nodded back across goal to Adebayo, who got there before goalkeeper Jason Steele to convert.

Brighton barely had time to draw breath before it was two.

Albert Sambi Lokonga’s pinpoint pass dropped in behind the visitors’ defence, which had pushed up, leaving a straight race to the ball between Ogbene and Steele.

It was won comfortably by the fleet-footed Luton winger who toed it beyond the keeper and, with 137 seconds on the clock, poked into an empty goal to cap a breathtaking start.

Rarely, if ever, have Brighton under De Zerbi been so blown away as they were in the opening 25 minutes.

Jordan Clark came close to inflicting further damage when he cut in on his left foot and had a shot blocked by the legs of Steele.

By then, De Zerbi had already lost James Milner to injury, with any pre-game ploy to stymie Luton sinking into disarray.

The stats said Brighton had enjoyed 60 per cent possession but almost all of it had been in their own half, passing themselves in circles in a bid to navigate Luton’s ravenous high pressing.

Pascal Gross scooped a shot more in hope than expectation from outside the box as the Seagulls struggled to come to terms with their predicament.

Lewis Dunk stopped Adebayo with a finely-timed last-ditch slide inside the six-yard box as the striker bore down threatening to wrap the game up after 35 minutes, before Clark had his second good try of the night deflect inches wide.

It was a momentary reprieve.

Adebayo’s second and Luton’s third was a gem and owed everything to the timing of the striker’s run, hanging just behind Brighton’s defensive line until Ross Barkley released his pass.

The finish ripped past Steele at his near post.

Brighton had won three of their previous 15 league games, success this season season being propped up by progress in Europe and in the FA Cup.

Here, they showed nothing of the form that saw them start the campaign with five wins out of six.

Luton’s goals were getting easier to come by.

In the 55th minute Adebayo completed his hat-trick, heading in Alfie Doughty’s corner from amongst a static Brighton defence, the only movement towards the ball coming from striker Joao Pedro who inadvertently flicked it into his opposite number’s path.

Thomas Kaminski made a late save from Danny Welbeck which was worthy of his outfield team-mates’ efforts.

For Brighton, it had been a chastening night.

Rob Edwards believes Luton should have been awarded a late penalty at Kenilworth Road as they were made to settle for a goalless draw against League One Bolton in the FA Cup third round.

Alfie Doughty went down in the closing moments under a challenge from defender Will Forrester, seconds after he had been denied a likely winner when his shot came back off a post.

Edwards fielded a near full-strength side but it was not enough to find a way past the team currently second in the third tier.

Substitutes Andros Townsend and Jordan Clark both saw second-half efforts deflected wide as Luton laboured in vain to avoid a replay.

Chances for Ian Evatt’s side were at a premium, Josh Sheehan briefly worrying stand-in goalkeeper Tim Krul in the first half with a rasping drive that cleared the crossbar, but by and large this was a result earned via a determined, organised defensive effort.

Yet Edwards felt his team had been unfairly denied the chance to win the tie from the penalty spot after referee Andrew Madley was advised by VAR that Forrester had not committed an infringement in challenging Doughty for the ball.

“The big decision was a penalty on Alfie Doughty,” he said. “I never moan about decisions going against us but I’m not sure what VAR was thinking there with that one.

“I think Andrew Madley should have been told to go to the screen. I think that was a big mistake.

“Credit to Bolton. They’ve got a result and we go and do it again.”

The result means a replay which in turn will force a rearrangement of Luton’s upcoming Premier League visit to Burnley, now brought forward three days to January 12.

Edwards had hoped to take his players away on a warm-weather training camp after the game at Turf Moor, but that will now have to wait until after the rematch against Bolton.

“I’m disappointed that we’ve not managed to get the job done today,” he said. “The reality is we haven’t, and we have to go again.

“We’re on a different schedule now, we were going to be off (Monday), have a bit more time to plan for Burnley, but now we play them away on Friday night. That’s just the reality and we’ve got to deal with it.

“I respect the (FA Cup) hugely, it’s one I love and have grown up watching. I want us to progress in it. I respect Bolton Wanderers and everything (Ian Evatt) has done there.

“I genuinely feel whatever team I would have picked would be strong and be capable of winning the game.”

Bolton boss Evatt reflected that the decision not to award Luton a late penalty was fair.

“The referee made the decision and there were two experienced officials in the VAR hub who looked at it as well and both of them thought it wasn’t a penalty, so it wasn’t a penalty,” he said.

“There were enough guys looking at the incident to know whether it is or isn’t.”

Luton were frustrated by League One high-flyers Bolton as the teams played out a drab goalless draw in the FA Cup third round at Kenilworth Road.

Rob Edwards fielded a near-full strength side in spite of the hosts’ ongoing fight to survive in their debut Premier League campaign, but they were unable to break down the side currently sitting second in the third tier.

Alfie Doughty struck a post in the final moments, the nearest Luton came to finally picking Bolton off, that after substitutes Andros Townsend and Jordan Clarke had both gone close in the second half.

Bolton began well and looked a worthy match for Luton, limiting the hosts to a single long-range effort from Ross Barkley which was easily saved by Nathan Baxter in the opening 15 minutes.

At the other end, Josh Sheehan briefly had Tim Krul worried with a 25-yard piledriver that whistled over the crossbar.

Elijah Adebayo glanced a header across goal from Amari’i Bell’s outswinging cross on the half-hour mark that was watched safely behind by Baxter, as Luton struggled to match the kind of attacking intensity that had seen them cause such hardship here for Premier League opponents in recent months.

Barkley tried again from distance and found only the goalkeeper’s gloves.

Tahith Chong teed up Albert Sambi Lokonga late in the half to drive perhaps Luton’s best opening wide of the post from just outside the box.

Certainly it was as close as either side came to breaking the deadlock ahead of a welcome half-time interval.

Carlton Morris had the best chance of the game so far when he headed towards the top corner from Chiedozie Ogbene’s cross from right, a fine reflex save by Baxter beating it clear, before Doughty, unusually subdued by his own recent standards, saw a low effort aimed towards the far post deflected wide.

The longer it stayed goalless, the more the League One side seemed to grow in confidence.

Paris Maghoma and Victor Adeboyejo combined well in a central position high inside the Luton half, but the move was scrubbed out before either player could get a shot away.

Bolton had won four in a row in the league and 10 of their last 13, putting pressure on leaders Portsmouth in the race to reach the Championship.

Yet there was little sign here of Ian Evatt’s side keeping anything back for the promotion run-in. As the tie entered its final 20 minutes, they continued to match Luton’s organisation and work-rate beat for beat.

The hosts gamely kept at it without ever truly showing signs of top-flight class.

Townsend emerged from the bench and tested Baxter’s reach with a fine curling effort low towards the corner, that after fellow substitute Clarke had seen a rasping effort deflected wide.

Their growing frustrations were summed up when Doughty miscued horribly with a cross that sailed harmlessly into the rafters of the stand to the delight of the away supporters.

There was almost late drama when Doughty struck a post with a blistering drive, then Bolton survived a penalty scare when VAR was called on to check a Will Forrester challenge on the same player.

A draw and a replay were no more than Bolton deserved.

Chelsea survived a spirited late fightback by Luton to edge a dramatic match 3-2 at Kenilworth Road and end their four-game losing streak away from home.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side looked to be cruising to a first victory on the road since early November thanks to two goals from Cole Palmer – his second a sensational piece of individual skill – and one from Noni Madueke who scored for the second time in two games as the visitors took a 3-0 lead.

But that breathing room was sucked away by Luton during a frenetic final 10 minutes, when first Ross Barkley then Elijah Adebayo struck to offer their supporters hope of a spectacular recovery.

Yet Chelsea held their nerve, claiming back-to-back league wins for just the second time under Pochettino.

They had taken the lead after 12 minutes and it was a gift from Luton.

First, the defence was caught out up the pitch and allowed Nicolas Jackson to run in from the left and through on goal. His effort was saved well by the legs of Thomas Kaminski and the ball fell at the feet of Issa Kabore, who instead of clearing his lines played an inexplicable pass straight to the lurking Palmer who took a touch and lashed it home.

Luton looked to Barkley, the former Chelsea player, for a response and he nearly provided it almost instantly, hitting a free-kick from 20 yards out that curved around the wall and cleared the bar by inches.

Chelsea were on their worst run of away league defeats in 23 years, whilst Luton had just recorded back-to-back top-flight wins for the first time this season. Yet in the first half the visitors posed much the clearer threat, attacking with a directness that has often been lacking on the road.

After 37 minutes they got their second, and it was Madueke fresh from scoring the winner against Crystal Palace on Wednesday that got it.

The ball was worked from the left flank over to the right via Palmer playing in the number 10 role. He moved it on again to Madueke, whose route to goal was barred by Amari’i Bell. Luton’s captain backed off, encouraging the Chelsea winger to run outside him and find space to thump the ball high inside the near post into the top corner.

Luton’s key creative outlets, Barkley and Andros Townsend, had been largely nullified by Chelsea’s determined pressing and harrying.

Palmer slotted easily back into his role as the visitors’ principle attacking outlet after serving a one-match suspension, whilst Jackson and Armando Broja were lively and Malo Gusto looked an increasingly able deputy to the injured Reece James at right-back.

The third goal when it came on 70 minutes was well deserved.

Jackson was clever and strong in midfield to spin away from his man and play an early ball through the middle to Palmer. Kaminski raced out to meet him, but as Palmer reached it he outfoxed the Luton goalkeeper with the deftest roll of the ball beneath his studs, sat the covering Albert Sambi Lokonga down and knocked in Chelsea’s third.

Adebayo thought he had got one back when he headed in Alfie Doughty’s cross, but VAR called offside against the winger, before Adebayo headed his next chance against the bar.

There was life in Luton and they proved it with two goals in seven minutes to stun Chelsea.

First, Barkley headed what looked a consolation from a corner, then Adebayo reacted quickest to turn the ball home after Djordje Petrovic had saved from Doughty.

Luton pushed and pushed in the closing minutes but a determined Chelsea held firm.

Andros Townsend’s first-half goal saw Luton beat Newcastle 1-0 at Kenilworth Road to boost their Premier League survival hopes.

Eddie Howe’s visitors were made to look ordinary by a side tipped widely for the drop.

The winner came during Newcastle’s only spell of sustained first-half pressure as Luton’s star pair of Townsend and Ross Barkley combined at a corner.

The gap to safety now stands at just two points after a third victory on the Hatters’ top-flight return.

Luton had laid out the kit of captain Tom Lockyer in their dressing room, seven days after he suffered a cardiac arrest that forced the abandonment of their game against Bournemouth. The 29-year-old’s name rang around the ground throughout.

The hosts dominated the opening 15 minutes, though the game produced few chances. Jacob Brown stood up Jamaal Lascelles on the left and drilled into the arms of Martin Dubravka, who covered his near post well, while at the other end Callum Wilson nodded wide under pressure after Lewis Miley’s shot was blocked.

Bruno Guimaraes whacked an effort from 18 yards that cracked off the ribs of Gabriel Osho.

Luton failed to clear the resulting corner and Anthony Gordon’s ball back in was met by the head of Wilson, who planted Newcastle’s best chance of the half too near to Thomas Kaminski.

Newcastle were growing into the game until Luton’s opener after 25 minutes against the run of play.

Barkley was brave in getting his head to the ball six yards out as Alfie Doughty’s corner was whipped in, flicking it on to the back post where Townsend had slipped marker Kieran Trippier and nodded past Dubravka. Townsend held aloft the shirt of absent captain Lockyer in tribute.

Luton had led here against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City and taken just a point from those three games, but against a Newcastle side stretched by injuries, belief swept around Kenilworth Road that a big name would finally tumble.

Just after the half-hour mark it was almost two. Barkley, fresh from his hand in the goal, received the ball in space 30 yards from goal and tried his luck.

His effort flew over the goalkeeper before hammering back off the underside of the bar as home fans decried their luck.

Howe had seen enough. Eight minutes from the end of the half he gambled on two changes, Miley and Lascelles departing for Alexander Isak and Sven Botman.

It yielded little respite for this side. Within minutes Doughty had wrestled past Trippier into the box, Newcastle failed to clear as the ball broke loose, and Townsend was left free to test Dubravka with a firm effort.

The second half began in the same vein, Newcastle increasingly unsure of themselves in countering Luton’s threat. Adebayo was strong on the edge of the box to keep the ball and slide in Brown who rattled the bar with a rasping drive as the visitors clung on.

Newcastle finally rallied a response, and Gordon might have done better when he poked into the side netting from Trippier’s inviting cross. Isak thought he had levelled, bending the ball into the net but denied by the offside flag having moved early from Miguel Almiron’s pass.

Thereafter Newcastle bombarded Luton’s defence, which would not yield as the hosts put bodies on the line in a manner to make their captain proud.

Pep Guardiola believes his Manchester City side face a challenge to get back to winning ways at Luton this weekend.

The champions have gone four games without a Premier League win for the first time since 2017 after successive draws against Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham were followed by defeat at Aston Villa on Wednesday.

They will be expected to put that behind them at Kenilworth Road on Sunday but the promoted Hatters have produced some battling performances on their top-flight return and Guardiola expects another.

The City manager said: “They are doing really well for the way they play. Top clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal have struggled to win against them and it will be no different for us.

“But at the same time we’re ready for the challenge. We’ll keep working. That’s what we have to do.

“We’ll go to Luton, adapt for the pitch, the team, the style they play. They’ve done really good things but we will try impose our game and break their dynamic.”

City’s form has raised eyebrows with some observers questioning their hunger or whether they have become complacent after all their recent successes.

Yet none of this is a concern to Guardiola, who has guided City to five Premier League titles as well as Champions League glory.

The Spaniard said: “When you are winning a lot of games you are the best team in the world, when you are not winning it’s a crisis. We know it. It’s always exaggerated one way or another.

“What is important is to face the reality. We’re not used to playing four games without winning but we played against top teams. They’re always difficult.

“It is not the first time we have been in this position. In these eight years we’ve always had periods where we don’t get results.

“We have to try to end them as soon as possible but it happens, so we face it, challenge it. That is the situation, let’s do it, let’s go for it.”

City have Rodri and Jack Grealish available again after suspension and Jeremy Doku will be assessed after missing the Villa game through injury.

Pep Guardiola believes his Manchester City side face a challenge to get back to winning ways at Luton this weekend.

The champions have gone four games without a Premier League win for the first time since 2017 after successive draws against Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham were followed by defeat at Aston Villa on Wednesday.

They will be expected to put that behind them at Kenilworth Road on Sunday but the promoted Hatters have produced some battling performances on their top-flight return and Guardiola expects another.

The City manager said: “They are doing really well for the way they play. Top clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal have struggled to win against them and it will be no different for us.

“But at the same time we’re ready for the challenge. We’ll keep working. That’s what we have to do.

“We’ll go to Luton, adapt for the pitch, the team, the style they play. They’ve done really good things but we will try impose our game and break their dynamic.”

City’s form has raised eyebrows with some observers questioning their hunger or whether they have become complacent after all their recent successes.

Yet none of this is a concern to Guardiola, who has guided City to five Premier League titles as well as Champions League glory.

The Spaniard said: “When you are winning a lot of games you are the best team in the world, when you are not winning it’s a crisis. We know it. It’s always exaggerated one way or another.

“What is important is to face the reality. We’re not used to playing four games without winning but we played against top teams. They’re always difficult.

“It is not the first time we have been in this position. In these eight years we’ve always had periods where we don’t get results.

“We have to try to end them as soon as possible but it happens, so we face it, challenge it. That is the situation, let’s do it, let’s go for it.”

City have Rodri and Jack Grealish available again after suspension and Jeremy Doku will be assessed after missing the Villa game through injury.

Declan Rice believes Arsenal’s “never-say-die” attitude can lead them to Premier League glory this season.

The England midfielder headed home a last-gasp winner as Mikel Arteta’s side came from behind to secure a thrilling 4-3 victory at Luton on Tuesday night.

Rice nodded in Martin Odegaard’s cross to spark scenes of wild celebration in the away end after Kai Havertz had earlier drawn them level at Kenilworth Road.

The visitors had led 2-1 at half-time as Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus scored either side of Gabriel Osho’s equaliser but two errors from goalkeeper David Raya gifted Luton the lead.

Elijah Adebayo headed in a corner with Raya stranded as the Spain international came off his line and got nowhere near the ball before Ross Barkley’s shot squirmed under his body to take the roof off Luton’s famous old stadium.

Arsenal, though, proved their title-winning credentials by battling back to go five points clear before Wednesday night’s games, and Rice believes their knack of scoring late can galvanise the Gunners this season.

“I think last year they were eight points clear and obviously lost the title,” the £105million summer signing said.

“This year there definitely seems to be a different feel around the place in terms of being stern, being steady, being composed in big moments.

“Luton Town caused us a massive threat and it looked like we were going to drop points. But this season, it’s that never-say-die attitude that we’ve got that we keep pushing, keep fighting to the end and I think that’s our fifth goal in added time.

“I think we should start scoring some a bit earlier! But to score in added time, it shows what we are made of and we will never stop believing.”

Rice’s header was the ninth league goal Arsenal have scored in the 84th minute or beyond this campaign, with their late shows earning them an additional nine points.

Arteta was booked for his over-zealous celebrations following Rice’s winner and will now be banned from the dugout for Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.

For Luton, it was a tale of what might have been on a night when they went toe-to-toe with a team that spent 248 days at the top of the table last season before losing out to Manchester City.

“Proud. Devastated – the two words are proud and devastated,” experienced winger Andros Townsend said when asked to describe his feelings.

“Proud because it was an amazing performance against one of Europe’s best clubs, score three goals, press higher to not give them any time on the ball, to have chances.

“To still lose it, devastating, but on Sunday we’ve got Man City, so we have to drown our sorrows and then we have to take the positives and look forward to another tough game.”

Mikel Arteta hailed a “special night” for Arsenal after Declan Rice’s headed goal seven minutes into stoppage time secured a sensational 4-3 win against Luton at Kenilworth Road.

Rice climbed to nod home Martin Odegaard’s cross and seal a victory that sent his team five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

That outcome had looked unlikely when Ross Barkley squeezed a shot through goalkeeper David Raya to put the hosts 3-2 up early in the second half and send home fans into delirium.

But Arteta said: “I really enjoyed it, especially the end.

“It’s the incredible thing about football, emotions and the moments that you live together. It was a special night.

“Credit to Luton for the incredible atmosphere that they created and the way they played. They made life really difficult for us. But we found a way to win. The resilience and the the character and the quality showed.

“Playing every three days, and we have to win every game, the demands are there. It’s the way (the players) go about it, how much they want it.

“Today we conceded some goals we’ll be disappointed with. That’s part of it as well, it’s going to happen. It’s how we react to that.”

Arsenal had opened the scoring when Gabriel Martinelli tapped home after being set up by a low cross from Bukayo Saka, though Luton hit back quickly when Gabriel Osho headed in from a corner to make it 1-1.

Arteta’s side regained the lead before the break, Gabriel Jesus nodding beyond Thomas Kaminski at the far post after good link-up play between Saka and Ben White on the right, but they were again pegged back shortly after half-time by Elijah Adebayo who out-jumped the goalkeeper to equalise.

Barkley’s goal, an effort straight at Raya that passed through his hands and under his body, put Rob Edwards’ side in sight of a famous victory.

That lead was wiped out within minutes when Kai Havertz scored his third goal in four games, beating Kaminski to the ball to score from Jesus’s dinked pass into the box.

Then late drama as Rice’s intervention with virtually the game’s final touch broke Luton hearts and extended Arsenal’s winning run to four league games.

It was the fourth league game this season in which Arsenal scored a winning goal beyond the 85th minute after similarly late shows against Brentford, Manchester City and Manchester United, with Rice scoring in the 96th minute against the latter.

“We don’t want to draw, we want to win,” said Arteta. “That drive, that energy, that risk and that emotion we put in the pitch, you can sense it.

“We should have scored before with the chances that we had. We didn’t, but we tried until the end and we got rewarded.

The manager would not be drawn on the performance of Raya, who was arguably at fault for two of Luton’s goals.

He added: “It’s not about blaming, we’ve never done it and we’re not going to do it now. It’s about how the team reacts to that. I loved that response. I think we can defend much better there, for sure.”

Luton boss Edwards reflected on a game from which his team can take confidence despite a disappointing conclusion.

“I didn’t know what to say to the lads afterwards,” he said. “I’m proud. We mustn’t let that one moment affect us too much, we’ve got to look at the bigger picture.

“They did exactly what we asked of them and gave everything. We’ve just come up short tonight.

“We made it a really uncomfortable night for them, we tried to make it chaotic, be aggressive and brave. We can take some positivity from it, and we have to.”

Declan Rice scored a last-gasp winner to settle a seven-goal thriller at Luton, sparing the blushes of goalkeeper David Raya to send Arsenal five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Luton had looked on course to land a thoroughly deserved draw after two errors from Raya had seen them hit the front – only for the Gunners to rally and win it 4-3 at the death.

Raya embraced Rice at the full-time whistle after Kai Havertz had earlier drawn the visitors level in what proved to be a thrilling contest at Kenilworth Road.

The visitors had led 2-1 at half-time as Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus scored either side of a Gabriel Osho equaliser.

Raya, whose role as Arteta’s number one continues to be in the spotlight with Aaron Ramsdale warming the bench, then gifted two goals to Luton in the space of eight minutes as Elijah Adebayo and Ross Barkley turned the game on its head.

Havertz appeared to have salvaged a point for Arsenal but they pushed on to the last and £105million summer signing Rice nodded in a fine Martin Odegaard cross to wrap up the victory.

Having seemingly spent more time on his back than on the ball, Martinelli silenced a raucous home crowd with the opening goal.

Luton had started aggressively but played their part in falling behind as Amari’i Bell’s overhit backpass was put out for a throw by Thomas Kaminski. Jesus was quick off the mark to find Bukayo Saka, who laid the ball across for Martinelli to scuff home with their first effort on target.

The home fans would not be kept quiet for long, however, as Osho easily drifted away from the attentions of Martinelli to head home Alfie Doughty’s corner five minutes later.

In what was proving to be a mixed bag of a first half for Martinelli, he almost put Arsenal back in front after the half-hour having been slipped in by Jesus but his effort was superbly stopped by Kaminski.

The Hatters goalkeeper was on hand again soon after to push away a Saka strike after the England forward cut inside with ease.

Luton, though, could not make it into the half-time break on level terms as Ben White stood up a cross to the back post where Jesus headed in from close range.

Less than five minutes after the restart, however, the hosts equalised for the second time as Adebayo rose to head in another Doughty corner with Raya coming off his line and getting nowhere near the ball.

The roof came off Kenilworth Road as Luton hit the front for the first time soon after, Raya again at fault as Rob Edwards’ experienced heads combined with Andros Townsend feeding Barkley, whose low shot squirmed in under the Spanish goalkeeper.

All of Luton’s hard work was undone just three minutes later as Arsenal this time drew level, Havertz finishing off after a long ball had been steered into his path by Jesus.

The Gunners wanted a penalty after Saka was challenged in the box by Osho and Gabriel Magalhaes went down as he jostled for a cross but referee Sam Barratt pointed for a corner following a VAR check.

It was Arsenal pushing for a late winner and Kaminski turned a Havertz header over at the end of a slick move.

Rice would ultimately make the difference as Arsenal were patient in their build-up, Odegaard swapping passes with substitute Oleksandr Zinchenko before crossing in for Rice to head home.

Rob Edwards insists his Luton players have achieved nothing yet after a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace at Kenilworth Road saw them pull clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

It was a first home victory on their top-flight return for Edwards’ side and it came courtesy of late drama, culminating in a winning goal prodded in by substitute Jacob Brown seven minutes from time.

The game looked to be petering towards a drab goalless draw until defender Teden Mengi struck with 18 minutes to go, blasting a shot across goal and beyond Sam Johnstone from a corner to put Luton in sight of victory.

The lead was wiped out in seconds as virtually from kick-off Michael Oliseh collected the ball wide on the left, stepped inside and curled beautifully into the corner for a fine solo goal.

Yet Luton would have the final say, Brown getting in between defender Joachim Andersen and his goalkeeper to turn the ball home and propel his side to an historic win.

Edwards admitted his relief at seeing his side survive 12 minutes of stoppage time to finally get off the mark at home at the sixth attempt but emphasised the size of the task that still lies ahead.

“(It feels) really good,” he said. “Relief, I feel drained now, it was the longest game I’ve ever been a part of. Pleased for the supporters, pleased for everyone connected to the club.

“It’s been a long time coming here at home. I think we deserved a bit more than what we’ve got here in some of the games. We were close against Liverpool, close against Wolves, Burnley could have gone another way. But it’s taken until today.

“I don’t want the players having a party. We’ve done nothing (yet). We’ve got nine points. I don’t think that’s anything to be going out to the nightclub and having a flipping disco or a party.

“Enjoy it, but we’ve got to go again. Brentford’s really difficult next week, then we’ve got Arsenal and Man City to look forward to. We’ve got to keep improving and getting better.

“So enjoy the moment, enjoy the feeling, it’s nice. The players can enjoy their weekend. But it’s back to work quickly.”

The win was notable for a fine display by Ross Barkley in midfield, with the summer signing having played an increasingly influential role in recent matches.

“He allows us to play differently, allows us to be a different team,” said Edwards. “Ross is a really good player and he does help us, gives us more control.

“He has a 360 view of the pitch, he knows where the space is, he can calm things down for us. It was another big performance from him. He’s getting better every week.”

Palace boss Roy Hodgson reflected on a game that got away from his side as it hung in the balance at 1-1.

“A good goal from Luton’s point of view but a bad one from our point of view, especially at a time when we were playing well,” said Hodgson.

“We got the equaliser and should have been looking at consolidating and maybe going on to win the game.

“Congratulations to Luton for holding on and for a spirited performance.”

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