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  • By Charlie Stong at Emirates Stadium

Much-changed Gunners see off Luton and go top - for 24 hours at least



Arsenal 2 (Odegaard 24, Hashioka 44 (og))

Luton Town 0


Much-changed Arsenal saw off a depleted Luton Town side to move to the top of the Premier League table - for 24 hours at least.


With eight games in less than four weeks in the month of April, Manager Mikel Arteta saw this game against the relegation-threatened Hatters as a chance to rest some legs. 


In all there were five changes to the team which started Sunday's 0-0 draw at Manchester City.


And despite some nervy moments in the second half here, the Gunners got the win - thanks to a fine first-half strike from the ever brilliant Martin Odegaard - and an own goal from Daiki Hashioka.


Luton made things difficult for the Gunners in the opening stages. The home side were reduced to a couple of long-range shots and a bobbling effort from Emile Smith Rowe, which took a couple of deflections off Hatters defenders before it was comfortably saved by Thomas Kaminski.


But the Gunners did take the lead through Odegaard on 24 minutes. Smith Rowe caught the Luton defence in possession, fed Odegaard, who played the ball out right to Kai Havertz. Havertz drew defenders towards him, allowing Odegaard space to the left, towards which Havertz returned the ball, and Odegaard slammed it home with his left foot.


Most notable of Arteta's changes was the omission of Declan Rice - the midfielder starting on the bench for the first time in the league this season.


Oleksandr Zinchenko, in for the rested Jakub Kiwior, made a nervy start, giving the ball away three times in key areas in the first half alone, all with no real punishment coming from the Hatters. He was eventually substituted in the second half.


Thomas Partey - another new starter here - had a chance to make it 2-0 five minutes before half-time, but the ball was nicked off his toes at the very last. 


But the Gunners did double their lead on 44 minutes. Smith Rowe was again involved. Afforded acres of space down the left, Smith Rowe took the ball to the byline just yards from goal, pulled it back and the unfortunate Daiki Hashioka beat Reiss Nelson - another rare starter - to the ball, bundling it over the line for an own goal.


On the stroke of half-time Ross Barkley's free-kick was easily saved by David Raya - the Hatters' only real effort of note.


The second half was more nervy for the Gunners, with Luton pushing forward with more regularity. However the Hatters remained toothless in the final third.


The only real effort of the second half came with 10 minutes remaining, substitute Takehiro Tomiyasu curling a shot just wide of Kaminski's left-hand post.


Job done. Over to Liverpool.


Teams:

Arsenal: Raya, Saliba, White, Partey (Rice 67), Gabriel, Odegaard, Smith Rowe (Jorginho 85), Trossard, Nelson (Martinelli 74), Havertz (Nketiah 67), Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 74)

Luton: Kaminsky, Barkley, Morris, Kabore, Mengi, Mpanzu (Chong 54), Clark, Hashioka, Townsend (Berry 81), Onyedinma (Woodrow 75), Doughty

Referee: Craig Pawson


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