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Rob Edwards Still Insists He Can Pull The Hatters Out Of Danger

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By David Williams

Rob Edwards still believes he can get Luton Town out of relegation trouble, with the Hatters 18th in the Premier League and three points behind fourth-bottom Nottingham Forest.

The former Wales defender took some optimism – but no points – from Luton’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal as the Gunners moved to the top of the table, one point ahead of second-placed Liverpool.

Edwards said: “I believe we can do this, with every fibre of my being I believe in this group.

“We are competing in this league, we have had a lot of injuries and it has knocked our rhythm. We’re in the games we’re playing. We weren’t out of it.”

Captain Martin Odegaard opened the scoring before Daiki Hashioka turned the ball into his own net as Arsenal returned to the top of the table, holding a one-point advantage over Liverpool and Manchester City.

Edwards added: “I’m really proud to represent this football club at the moment. Our supporters understand what we’re going through. It’s difficult. Arsenal give you nothing.

“I saw us create decent openings and get behind them but we didn’t capitalise. The lads are giving us so much out of possession, it’s hard to get on the front foot. But we didn’t go under. You can always guarantee that.

“I’ve believed it from day one [that we can avoid relegation]. Towards the end of January, I thought ‘I really like what I’m seeing’. We’re competing in this league, but injuries have knocked us.

“I still see a team that’s competing. We’re in it. Arsenal don’t give anything away but we weren’t out of it. The players are with me, they believe, and all their focus has to go onto Saturday now.”

Arsenal had just three days to prepare for Wednesday night’s game after Sunday’s goalless draw at title rivals City.

Mikel Arteta made five changes for the visit of the Hatters, including the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson while resting Declan Rice among others, and was pleased with what he saw in their first of eight scheduled fixtures in April.

“They responded really well and I’m so happy with that. It was a wonderful game,” Arteta said.

“When they get their moment, they have to take it and they certainly did today. They give me every reason (to pick them) every day.

“If we had lost the game it would’ve been because we made the changes and it’s not as simple as that. You have to do what is right, what they deserve and it’s good confidence.”

With Bukayo Saka injured, Smith Rowe impressed after he was recalled to the XI.

Arteta said: “I love him as a player (Smith Rowe). It’s a joy to watch him with the way he moves and how physical he is as well. He helped us a lot to win the game also today.”

Odegaard was the difference between the sides on the night. The Norwegian combined with Kai Havertz after 24 minutes before rifling an effort into Thomas Kaminski’s bottom left corner.

Arteta talked up the skipper’s influence in helping his side try and claim their first league title since the 2003-04 season.

The Spaniard added: “He’s a really important player and we needed that balance and the chemistry certain players have and how they train, build relationships, Martin is vital to connect. The standard which he sets is outstanding.”

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