Ex-Arsenal striker felt Luton keeper Krul was 'up against it' during hefty City defeat

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ITV pundit looks at the goals conceded during Tuesday night’s cup exit

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright felt Luton keeper Tim Krul had a night where he was ‘up against it’ when beaten six times during the Hatters’ 6-2 FA Cup defeat to Manchester City last night.

The 35-year-old was named in the starting XI for only the sixth time this season and second against top flight opposition, having played against League Two Gillingham and League One Exeter City in the Carabao Cup, both matches with third tier side Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup and then the 2-1 victory at top flight Everton in the previous round. Having joined Town in the summer after racking up 17 appearances for Norwich City in all competitions last term, Krul was picking the ball out of his net straight away, as with just four minutes gone, Erling Haaland got his prolific evening started by finishing off Kevin De Bruyne’s cross from close range.

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He was doing so once more when the Norwegian international was freed to run clean through on goal shortly afterwards, before finally being able to showcase his talents, denying Jack Grealish and then flying out to prevent Haaland from completing a quickfire hat-trick, also making a wonderful double stop from De Bruyne and City’s talisman. The visitors robot-like forward did eventually go on to complete his first half treble with a terrific dinked finish when beating the offside trap once more, but after the break, and Luton making a game of it by getting back to 3-2, Krul was at his best to save from Matheus Nunes.

Town keeper Tim Krul in discussion with referee Anthony Taylor - pic: Liam SmithTown keeper Tim Krul in discussion with referee Anthony Taylor - pic: Liam Smith
Town keeper Tim Krul in discussion with referee Anthony Taylor - pic: Liam Smith

He was given no chance when Haaland added a fourth, but the Dutch international’s evening then started to go slightly awry on 58 minutes when Haaland’s low shot went straight through his legs, while Mateo Kovacic beat from outside the box, despite the fierce shot being fairly central. Krul did recover to keep the score from reaching double figures, with terrific stops from Jeremy Doku and De Bruyne, while keeping out a number of other attempts that were deflected on their way through to him, City having 17 attempts on the night, with a massive 15 of them on target.

Discussing his performance on ITV, Wright said of the ex-Newcastle and Brighton stopper: “Obviously you’re training with the guys every day, so you hope that you’ve got some kind of rapport with them, some kind of relationship with them. But when you’re coming into a game of this magnitude, against the players you’re playing against, you really want your goalkeeper to be as sharp as he can be and I think on some of those goals, you can’t blame him, but on some you feel like a sharper keeper might have got something to it. I don’t want to take anything from City, they were very clinical and the keeper came up against it.

Looking at the goals he conceded, on Haaland’s fifth, Wright continued: “Once he opens up and goes on the left foot, the keeper might be a bit disappointed with that. Can he get down a bit quicker? Were his legs too wide? The fact is he’s just blasted it through him.” Meanwhile, fellow pundit Roy Keane said: “It’s difficult for the keeper. When the keeper hasn’t been playing regularly, facing the speed and power of those shots, it's very difficult for the goalkeeper. You talk about outfield players getting up to speed, four, five, six games, I think it’s even harder for a goalkeeper, I really do.”

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Writing on Instagram afterwards, Krul admitted Town had run into one of the best teams currently on the planet as he now set his sights on doing what he can to help Luton win their battle against the drop, adding: “We didn't get the result we were hoping for, but we were up against a world-class team. We have 13 more finals to play to reach our target. We will learn from tonight's match and give everything we have to get the wins in the upcoming weeks. Thank you for the amazing support.”