On Friday, fifth-placed Luton Town will host fourth-placed Nottingham Forest in what is a big clash in the EFL Championship. In the reverse fixture, it was a goalless draw at Nottingham. Coming into this game, Luton lost 0-2 away at Huddersfield Town, and Forest won 2-0 at home against Birmingham City.
Luton Town come into this game after having lost 0-2 to Huddersfield Town away from home. The Hatters’ automatic promotion hopes took a blow. This loss leaves Luton with a record of 18 wins, 11 draws, and 12 losses. Despite the loss against Huddersfield, Luton, throughout the season, have overperformed in the attack. The Hatters were expected to score 55 goals until now, but they have scored 59, which is four more than expected.
The above image shows the shot map of Luton Town this season, excluding penalties. The Hatters have missed a few big chances that had an xG value of 0.35 or greater. But in general, Luton have scored more than expected. The team’s top goalscorer is Elijah Adebayo, with 15 strikes to his name. In the second place, is Harry Cornick with 10.
James Bree has been the Hatters’ most successful threat creator this season from both open play as well as set-pieces. Judging by xT scores, Bree has created more than twice the threat of the next best Luton player this season. Hence, it is no surprise to see him as the joint top assist provider for Luton.
Nottingham Forest come into this clash with a 2-0 win over Birmingham City at home. Keinan Davies and Scott McKenna scored for Forest in that game. That victory means Forest have won 19 games this season (they have also drawn and lost 10 games each). Nottingham have scored the third most goals this season, only behind Fulham and Bournemouth, but it is in defence that they are truly shining, according to the xGA. xGA predicted Forest to let in 46 goals, but they have shipped only 36 goals, a whole 10 goals fewer.
Nottingham Forest are not only overperforming in defence but also in attack, relative to the rest of the league. They have a higher goals per 90 (1.42) than xG per 90 (1.3). Forest players have completed a solid 69% of the dribbles this season. One area where Forest are above average but not good is creativity. They rank between the 55th and 65th percentile in assists per 90, xA per 90, key passes per 90, smart passes per 90, and through balls per 90.
This match is the game of the week. Nottingham Forest have the momentum coming into this game, as they are unbeaten in their last 10 Championship games, but Luton Town may provide a good challenge to them.