In an effort to recover from their losses to Nottingham Forest on Wednesday and the FA Cup semi final on Sunday, Brighton will be looking to rekindle their historical goal of being the first team to ever play in Europe. After losing 3-1 at the City Ground, the Seagulls sit four points outside the top seven and have not won back to back Premier League (PL) games since January.
There will be plenty of confidence that Roberto De Zerbi’s team can recover against Wolves because they haven’t lost consecutive top flight games in six months, if that is any consolation. That, along with their extremely strong H2H record against the visitors, who they have lost just three occasions to in their last 17 meetings (W6, D8), should offer supporters hope of notching a fifth victory in seven home games (D1, L1).
However, after coming to within touching distance of safety by defeating Crystal Palace 2-0 on Tuesday, the Midlands team will be anxious to undermine Brighton’s European dreams. After that result, Julen Lopetegui’s team had 37 points, which has been sufficient to stay in the top division in 16 of the previous 19 PL seasons.
The coach maintains that his team is still far from secure and that they must get more points from their final five games. Even though none of the visitors’ victories have come away from home, they must be feeling confident after a streak of three wins in their last four games (L1). Wolves have actually lost nine out of their sixteen Premier League away games (W2, D5), with both of their victories coming against opponents lower in the standings.
In seven of his eight goal scoring appearances for Brighton this season, Alexis Mac Allister has scored either the opening goal or the final goal. Despite being tasked with stopping him, Wolves defender Craig Dawson has only triumphed twice in ten matches against the Seagulls (D4, L4), with his team scoring at least two goals six times.
Danny Welbeck, a striker for Brighton, was able to enter the game against Forest as a substitute after experiencing an injury scare in the FA Cup, but it is uncertain whether Evan Ferguson, an Irish starlet who recently signed a new long term contract at the Amex, will be able to play due to an ankle injury.
Inactive for the hosts are Tariq Lamptey (knee), Jakub Moder (knee), Adam Lallana (thigh), Jakub Moder (knee) and Jeremy Sarmiento (ankle). The hosts could make a defensive substitution by inserting Joel Veltman at right back, which would allow Gross to go forward.
Therefore, Buonanotte’s reward for scoring the first goal at the City Ground may be relegation to the bench, and a fully recovered Welbeck is set to replace Julio Enciso at the forward line’s point.
For the visitors, long term knee injuries to Chiquinho and Sasa Kalajdzic continue to hamper Lopetegui’s plans, and Boubacar Traore is still gaining match fitness and is not yet being considered for inclusion.
Although Joao Gomes is a strong candidate to replace Hwang Hee-chan, Wolves are otherwise in good shape for the lengthy trip south, and Lopetegui would prefer to make few changes given the manner of his team’s Palace victory.
Diego Costa made a nuisance of himself on Tuesday night even if he was unable to add to his one goal total for the current Premier League season. Diego Costa should once again combine with Matheus Cunha in the final third.
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup
Steele, Veltman, Dunk, Webster, Estupinan, Caicedo, Gross, March, Mac Allister, Mitoma and Welbeck.
Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup
Sa, Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Bueno, Gomes, Neves, Lemina, Nunes, Cunha and Costa.
We predic: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolves have routinely struggled to produce away from their base of operations, and their chances of recording a first clean sheet on the road since August are slim.
Brighton may not be having a great month, but De Zerbi’s team has a history of rebounding well from setbacks, so we have optimism that the Seagulls will pick themselves up and keep their chances of qualifying for Europe alive.