Brighton return to the Amex on Saturday, to take on high-flying Wolves in the Premier League.
The Seagulls head into the game off the back of picking up their first away win in the Premier League this season and since last November, with a 1-0 victory over Newcastle.
However, Wolves tasted their first defeat in the Premier League this season last weekend, with a 2-0 defeat at home to Watford. Despite their defeat against the Hornets, Wolves will be still be full of confidence with their start to the season.
Brighton could be set to make changes to the side which beat Newcastle, with Pascal Gross and Martin Montoya all fit and in contention to return to the squad.
Gross has not featured since picking up an ankle injury against Fulham on the 1st September. Brighton will be without Davy Propper and potentially Glenn Murray for the visit of Wolves.
Propper suffered ankle ligament damage in the 1-0 win over West Ham at the Amex at the start of October. Propper is set to miss six to seven weeks of action so he will probably not be back in contention for Albion till December maybe even January.
Murray is set to miss the clash due to concussion which is suffered in the win over Newcastle last week when he collided with Federico Fernandez eight minutes into the game and Murray was knocked out and stretchered off the pitch, with him then being taken to hospital for scans.
The scans came back clear, but due to FA guidelines it states that players should not play or train for at least six and maybe up to 14 days depending on the severity of the concussion.
If Gross and Montoya are fit enough to play then I’d expect Brighton lineup as follows: Ryan, Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bong, Jahanbakhsh, Stephens, Kayal, Izquierdo, Gross, Locadia.
This side would see Gross, Montoya and Locadia replace Bruno, March and Murray. The Big decision for manager, Chris Hughton is who to start upfront out of Locadia and summer signing Florin Andone.
Locadia replaced Murray on Saturday, so I would expect him to get the nod over Andone, but it depends what type of striker Hughton wants up there. If he wants a striker with pace to get in behind and stretch the defence then Locadia will be the option.
However, If Hughton wants someone who can hold up the ball and win the ball in the air then he will go for Andone who has proven he can do this when he played for his previous club, Deportivo La Coruna, up front on his own.
Wolves have named the same lineup for their first nine games of the Premier League, so with the defeat last weekend, will manager Nuno Espírito Santo be tempted to tinker with his team?
I would think probably not as every team has a bit of an off day and maybe last Saturday was one of these for Wolves.
Add to this the Watford game was always going to be a tough ask against a side which has started well and were looking to bounce back from their 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth the previous week.
So, it wouldn’t be surprising if the same lineup as the previous nine games featured which would be: Rui Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Johnny, Boly, Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Helder Costa, Jota and Jimenez.
Wolves’ Danger Men
There are a few players Brighton will need to keep their eye out for. The main threat Wolves have possessed is their front three, who have been excellent.
Costa, Jota and Jimenez have three goals and three assists to their name, but it is more than their goal and assists return which has been impressive, it is the work rate and their chemistry.
The three of them have learnt how each other play in such a short space of time with Jimenez having only been at the club since June.
It’s not just the front three who will be dangerous, Ruben Neves will also be key. Neves already has one goal and one assist to his name and his form for Wolves over the last year has earnt him a place in Portugal’s squad in the last couple of international breaks.
What makes Neves so dangerous is his passing, creativity and set piece delivery so he is always a threat and will need to be closely watched by Brighton to avoid him having a say in the game.
The last player that will be key to Wolves, is full-back Doherty. Doherty has one goal and two assists to his name. Having watched him against Crystal Palace, in which his goal was the decisive one, he was dangerous going forward with his runs and his delivery into the box from the right wing caused the Eagles problems.
Wingers Will Be Key To How Brighton Get On
Brighton’s wide men will be key to how they get on on Saturday. Both Jahanbakhsh and Izquierdo impressed in the win over Newcastle.
Jahanbakhsh was a constant threat down the right wing and was constantly probing, trying to make things happen.
Izquierdo was a threat with his pace on the counter and also played a big part in the goal with his shot from outside the box deflecting off a defender and Kayal before going into the bottom corner.
What makes Izquierdo and Jahanbakhsh so dangerous is their confidence to take on shots from distance and with the form they both have at the moment you would not bet against them going in.
Saturday’s game will be a tough one, but I’m going to go for a narrow 2-1 win to Brighton.