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Starting XI: Luton Town vs. Manchester United

The Reds travel to Bedfordshire in the Carabao Cup

Luton Town v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images

Everything that you need to know ahead of Tuesday’s match:

(1) Manchester United travel to Kenilworth Road for a third round Carabao Cup tie against Luton Town just days after a shock 3-1 defeat in their Premier League opener. Donny van de Beek, who came off the bench to score his first goal for the club, was about the only bright spot for the men in red. Not the ideal way to kick off a season.

(2) With an abbreviated offseason punctured by several of the club’s top players leaving for international duty earlier this month, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced to mix and match in the Crystal Palace loss. Even with Paul Pogba making a surprise return from COVID-19, United found themselves a bit shorthanded — and it showed.

(3) Tuesday’s trip to Luton Town should allow Solskjaer to give minutes to Odion Ighalo, Nemanja Matić, Fred, Brandon Williams, and Eric Bailly. Plus, other players on the fringe of the first team squad — like Teden Mengi — could make the bench. Expect to see Dean Henderson make his debut in goal, especially with Sergio Romero away from the club.

(4) Solskjaer on his plans for the Luton Town match:

You have got to recover and prepare for the next one. We have got Luton on Tuesday. We will obviously need to give game time to some of the other players as well, and train with the ones who need training, and improve. The bottom line is that we have to be ready because the league has started. The season has started.

(5) Three months ago, Luton Town looked all but guaranteed for the drop to League One. Today, though, they’re near the top of the Championship table with a 100% record on the young season. Most of the thanks for this rapid turnaround goes to the return of Nathan Jones as manager during the coronavirus shutdown. Luton Town were six points from safety when play resumed — and they’ve only lost once since.

(6) In his first spell with the club, Jones lifted the Hatters from League Two strugglers all the way to the top of League One. The problem? He left for Stoke City during that title-winning season with very little notice given to the board or his players. To say it was a stormy exit would be a massive understatement. Jones had a horrid time in the Potteries — lasting just eight months at Stoke — before making an unexpected return to Kenilworth Road and steering Luton Town out of the relegation zone.

(7) Jones, normally a 4-4-2 diamond fanatic, has surprisingly been using a 4-3-3 formation so far this season. Glenn Rea, Pelly Ruddock, and Luke Berry play in midfield, while James Collins leads the line with Elliot Lee on his left and Harry Cornick on the right flank. Luton Town typically play very up-tempo with a high, energetic press, although it remains to be seen whether those tactics will be used against higher-league opposition like Manchester United.

(8) On Saturday, the Hatters defeated Wayne Rooney’s Derby County 2-1 to continue their unbeaten start to the season. Luke Berry and Jordan Clark both scored to move Luton Town up to third in the Championship.

(9) As expected when playing away in cup competitions, Manchester United will need to adjust to the more modest accommodations of lower league football...

(10) Nathan Jones on playing this cup tie with no fans:

When Man United come to town, it’s always a big occasion. It’s really sad — I wouldn’t quite say tragic — that our fans won’t be there to see such a big game against such a big club. It would have been fantastic for them to see the calibre of players that Man United have at Kenilworth Road. It really would have been an occasion. And it still will be. Perhaps not as electric as it would have been, but it’s the times we live in.

(11) If Manchester United defeat Luton Town on Tuesday, that might set up a double dose of Brighton & Hove Albion next week.