After a disappointing defeat to Watford, Wolves travel down south as they face a Brighton side who have won their last two.
Wolves never really got going against Watford as The Hornets scored two quickfire goals in just 58 seconds to race ahead. Nuno tried to change things with the introduction of Ivan Cavaleiro, Adama Traore and Ruben Vinagre. It was in fact, the latter, who made the most impact as he used his pace and trickery to attack Watford’s defence.
It says something that both Wolves wing-backs, Matt Doherty and Jonny Otto were both substituted as Watford marshaled Wolves’ wide players well. They also lost the midfield battle against an impressive Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Wolves had been unbeaten in 6 prior to that game and had kept the same starting 11 for all 9 Premier League games, breaking a record in the process. Wolves are 9th on 15 points which is still extremely good going.
There looks like they’ll be at least one change this weekend as Nuno aims to help his team bounce back.
Meanwhile, Brighton have won their last 2 and moved up the table to 12th. They’re 4 points behind Wolves and have some very winnable fixtures to come, especially those they have at home.
Yet this weekend, I’m sure they will have rather faced a number of other sides than Wolves who will be raring to go.
Brighton beat Newcastle 1-0 at St James Park and previous to that they beat West Ham 1-0. Before that, they had lost 2 on the spin against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.
All signs would point to a low scoring affair this Saturday. Wolves have only conceded 8 goals this season. Only Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool, and City have conceded less. It’s in attack where Wolves could do with scoring more.
For Brighton, they have scored 10 and conceded 13. Their top scorer Glenn Murray is on 5 goals, but is injured and likely won’t feature. It’s after a nasty incident last week against Newcastle, where Murray was knocked unconscious and swallowed his tongue, after colliding with Federico Fernandez.
It will be interesting to see whether Chris Hughton starts with ex-Wolves target Jurgen Locadia or if he gives a rare start to £6m summer signing Florin Andone. Locadia was so close to joining Wolves on deadline day last year but a move fell through at the last moment which left Wolves scrambling for a striker. They tried to move for Loic Remy among others but Wolves didn’t sign a striker. That didn’t stop Wolves from storming the league, however.
Locadia joined Brighton for £15m and has only scored one Premier League goal in 11 games.
Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy will pose a threat offensively from set pieces, whilst will be solid at dealing with aerial balls into their box. Solly March and Jose Izquierdo, who’s recently returned from injury, will provide pace and trickery up top.
For Wolves, Diogo Jota may well be moved to the bench and replaced by either Ivan Cavaleiro or Adama Traore. Jota looks like he needs a break where he can then come back and hopefully rediscover his form from last year. You’d think Cavaleiro will start with Traore an option off the bench. Ruben Vinagre will be wanting to continue where he left off against Watford, but he will be restricted to the bench after Jonny’s impressive start to the season.
If this was at Molineux, I would fancy Wolves to nick it but at The Amex, Brighton are usually better so a score draw looks likely this time.
Will we see Leander Dendoncker? Only Nuno knows.
Predicted team (3-4-3).
Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Costa, Jimenez, Cavaleiro.
Predicted score – Brighton 1-1 Wolves.