Luton Town 2-3 Chelsea: 3 Blues lessons learned

Luton Town v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Luton Town v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Chelsea concluded the year on a high note, securing a victory over Luton Town. The win marked Chelsea's first success on the road after a streak of four consecutive losses. It brought a positive conclusion to what had otherwise been a challenging year in terms of performance for the men's team.

Here are three insights garnered from the match.

1. The Blues started strong and kept it going.

Mauricio Pochettino's team opened the scoring in a match for only the seventh time. Luton Town opted not to sit deep; instead, they pressed Chelsea up top. Their high spirits were evident following a victory over Sheffield United on Boxing Day. Additionally, the unpredictable form of the visitors contributed to a positive outlook. Recent performances against Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal likely bolstered their confidence in facing Chelsea.

However, Chelsea remained resolute and successfully thwarted Luton's attack. Cole Palmer emerged as Chelsea's standout player, scoring twice and providing one assist. His ability to read the game allowed him to capitalize on a defensive lapse from Luton, opening the scoring. Noni Madueke made the most of his starting opportunity, concluding a brilliant team move from Chelsea with an emphatic finish. In his new role, Nicolas Jackson, slightly withdrawn from the striker position, demonstrated commendable hold-up play and vision. It was particularly evident in finding Palmer, who displayed admirable composure to secure his second goal in the second half.

2. Questionable second-half changes once again from Pochettino.

The changes made by the Argentine manager in the second half left fans perplexed once again. On paper, substituting Christopher Nkunku for Armando Broja seemed reasonable. However, instead of deploying the Frenchman in his preferred role behind the striker or as an inside forward, he was made to play up top. This decision allowed Luton's tall defenders to easily handle Chelsea's long balls from the back, as they were pressing Chelsea's backline. Despite this, Pochettino refused to reposition Jackson, who would have done a better job there.

Another puzzling move was bringing on Enzo Fernandez for Madueke and instructing him to play behind Nkunku rather than allowing him to control and dictate play from the middle. At a time when Luton appeared threatening, such a change could have given Chelsea better control. However, Pochettino once again resisted making the necessary adjustment.

3. Chelsea hold on to the lead thanks to Djordje Petrovic, Thiago Silva, and goalframe.

Not many would have anticipated a comeback from Luton while being down three nil. However, the changes from manager Rob Edwards in the second half injected fresh hope. With nothing to lose, Luton's players began to apply pressure, causing the Blues to feel the heat. Crosses from both sides created headaches for Chelsea.

Luton Town managed to pull one back through former Blues midfielder Ross Barkley, who headed in from a corner. Elijah Adebayo, who had a goal ruled out due to offside minutes before Barkley's goal, brought them within one goal of securing a point against Chelsea. Pochettino's changes also played a significant role in allowing Luton back into the game.

Without some remarkable saves from Petrovic, brilliant clearances from Silva, and the goal frame being struck twice late in the match, the Hatters might have even won the game. The disappointment on Silva's face after full-time reflected how close Chelsea came to spoiling their New Year.