Luton 2-3 Chelsea: Player ratings as Blues hold off Hatters fightback

  • Chelsea beat Luton 3-2 at Kenilworth Road in Saturday's early kick-off
  • Cole Palmer brace and one from Noni Madueke had Blues cruising
  • Hatters mounted late fightback but just fell short
Palmer was superb
Palmer was superb / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Chelsea just about held on to secure a 3-2 win away at Luton Town on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues went three up at Kenilworth Road but conceded twice late on as the Hatters opened the door to secure a point.

But Mauricio Pochettino's side withstood the pressure to take three precious points back to Stamford Bridge.

How the game unfolded

The first chance of the afternoon went the way of Chelsea when Noni Madueke dribbled into the box and teed up Conor Gallagher, who was denied by the feet of Thomas Kaminski.

Chelsea took the lead soon after on the 12-minute mark. Issa Kabore's poor pass out from the back was cut out by Cole Palmer, and he found the bottom corner with a fine finish from just inside the box.

A low cross from Armando Broja was brushed clear of goal by Kaminski's toe as the visitors sought to build on their early advantage.

Luton managed to pen Chelsea back for much of the first half, but the Blues added a second goal just before the break. Levi Colwill played the ball inside for Palmer, who shifted possession on to Madueke. The winger managed to create a yard of separation and fired into the roof of Kaminski's net with his weaker right foot.

After the interval, Luton carved out their first chance of note. A lofted cross from Andros Townsend was guided on by Elijah Adebayo into the path of Chiedozie Ogbene, but he was denied by a firm Colwill block.

Tahith Chong's cross through the corridor of uncertainty then caught Chelsea cold, but Adebayo wasn't quick enough to react at the back post and a golden opportunity passed them by.

Luton were punished when Palmer scored down the other end. Nicolas Jackson turned away from Teden Mengi and released Chelsea's number 20, who rolled his way past Kaminski and then weaved between Gabriel Osho and Amari'i Bell to slot the ball into an empty net.

The Hatters thought they had found an immediate reply through Adebayo, who headed in a cross from Alfie Doughty. However, the wing-back had strayed into an offside position and the goal was chalked off after a VAR check.

Adebayo then rattled the crossbar with a thumping header, before Ross Barkley got on the scoresheet from the corner which followed, pouncing after Madueke missed the ball in front of him.

Djordje Petrovic tipped a bullet header from Carlton Morris on to the bar as Luton looked to mount a remarkable comeback late on, and Kenilworth Road erupted when Adebayo knocked in a rebound from a Doughty header soon after.

Thiago Silva was on hand to clear a low cross from Chong after the Dutchman was picked out by a clever back-heel from Barkley and Chelsea managed to cling on.

Luton Town player ratings (3-4-2-1)

Noni Madueke, Ross Barkley
Barkley was excellent / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

GK: Thomas Kaminski - 5/10 - Not much he could have done about the first two strikes, though it's never great to be rounded for a goal like for Chelsea's third.

CB: Teden Mengi - 6/10 - Defended well for the most part and was Luton's most reliable outlet from the back.

CB: Gabriel Osho - 5/10 - Likewise not calamitous, just a little short of quality against a team constructed for £1bn.

CB: Amari'i Bell - 5/10 - Same again. Got forward at every attempt.

RM: Issa Kabore - 2/10 - An inexplicable error gifted Chelsea the lead and a foothold. Withdrawn at the break.

CM: Albert Sambi Lokonga - 6/10 - Another decent and battling display in the heart of midfield for a man whose loan was en route to being cut short a little while ago.

CM: Ross Barkley - 8/10 - An old school deep-lying playmaker's performance in his new role against his former side.

LM: Alfie Doughty - 7/10 - Kept at it all afternoon with his dangerous crosses and was eventually rewarded with an assist.

RF: Andros Townsend - 5/10 - Most of his crosses were hit-and-hope, only on occasion finding a suitable recipient.

LF: Jacob Brown - 4/10 - Rarely involved until being taken off at half-time.

CF: Elijah Adebayo - 8/10 - Put himself about and asked tough questions of Chelsea's defenders.


SUB: Tahith Chong (46' for Kabore) - 7/10

SUB: Chiedozie Ogbene (46' for Brown) - 7/10

SUB: Carlton Morris (62' for Townsend) - 5/10

SUB: Cauley Woodrow (90' for Sambi Lokonga) - N/A

Subs not used: Tim Krul (GK), Mads Juel Andersen, Ryan Giles, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Jordan Clark, Cauley Woodrow


Rob Edwards - 7/10 - Luton held their own and the scoreline was not indicative of their spirit or desire.

Chelsea player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Noni Madueke
Madueke scored again / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

GK: Djordje Petrovic - 7/10 - On hand to claim several crosses and ease the pressure. Made several fine saves late on to rescue Chelsea.

RB: Malo Gusto - 5/10 - Chelsea's smallest defender was up against it from the off in a physical game.

CB: Axel Disasi - 6/10 - Got his head on absolutely everything until Luton grabbed their first goal, at which point Chelsea started losing the aerial battle.

CB: Thiago Silva - 7/10 - Also imperious until Chelsea were under the cosh late on. The Blues ultimately benefitted from his experience. Looked shellshocked at full-time.

LB: Levi Colwill - 6/10 - Had no issues at all until Ogbene started running at full flight in the closing stages.

CM: Conor Gallagher - 5/10 - Did the basics well but lacked his usual dynamism, though this could be attributed to a heavy knock sustained early on.

CM: Moises Caicedo - 5/10 - Couldn't get a grip of the game even when Chelsea were in the ascendancy.

RM: Noni Madueke - 8/10 - Repaid Pochettino's faith once again with a fine goal. Growing in confidence.

AM: Cole Palmer - 9/10 - Utterly outstanding. The shining light in what's been an underwhelming season for Chelsea so far.

LM: Nicolas Jackson - 8/10 - Held the ball up well even in wide areas and grabbed an assist for his troubles. Worked hard to stifle Luton towards the end.

CF: Armando Broja - 6/10 - Started brightly with some tricky runs between Luton defenders, though the Hatters soon wised up.


SUB: Christopher Nkunku (62' for Broja) - 5/10

SUB: Enzo Fernandez (81' for Madueke) - 5/10

SUB: Alfie Gilchrist (90' for Palmer) - N/A

Subs not used: Marcus Bettinelli (GK), Lucas Bergstrom (GK), Ian Maatsen, Alex Matos, Raheem Sterling, Mykhailo Mudryk


Mauricio Pochettino - 7/10 - Chelsea were great for 70 minutes but nearly threw it away. Ultimately a good day but boy was it close.

Player of the match - Cole Palmer (Chelsea)