Talking Points | Wolves vs Brighton

After successive defeats on the road, Wolves are back in the home comforts of Molineux on Saturday afternoon as Bruno Lage’s men invite Brighton & Hove Albion to the West Midlands for their latest Premier League clash, and there are plenty of pre-match talking points to explore.

#1 Getting back to winning ways

Two teams who are looking to get back to winning ways this weekend are going head-to-head at Molineux on Saturday afternoon, after both Wolves and Brighton have seen their Premier League runs stall in recent weeks. The sides are in need of points to end their campaigns on a high, with Wolves still in with the chance of European football, while the Seagulls are aiming for their best ever top-flight finish.

But it’s not been plane sailing recently, with Wolves only winning just three times in their last nine matches, while Brighton are struggling to put a run of positive results together themselves. Off the back of a comprehensive defeat away to Manchester City, Brighton returned to the Amex last weekend and would have felt confident in taking down Southampton following victories over Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in recent weeks. It was all going well for Brighton, who were two goals up after 44 minutes thanks to Danny Welbeck’s tap-in and a Mohammed Salisu own goal, but James Ward-Prowse’s brace saw the Saints snatch a point.

#2 Recent results favour the hosts

For those who like to look at the form books ahead of kick-off, they will find that fortune favours this weekend’s hosts in recent times, especially when it comes to playing at Molineux. Wolves have won their last two league games against Brighton, which is as many as they had in their previous 16 against them. Lage’s men are also looking to complete the league double over the Seagulls for the first time in history.

The Seagulls used to be a bogey team for Wolves when the matches were played in the West Midlands, with Brighton having won each of their first six away league games at Molineux between 1979 and 1991. However, since then, the visitors have won just one of their 11 league visits to the golden palace, last triumphing 2-0 in April 2017. However, seven of those recent clashes between the sides at Molineux have ended in a draw, including a pair of goalless stalemates in the last three meetings. That run was halted last season, when goals from Adama Traore and Morgan Gibbs-White earned a 2-1 win for the hosts.

That scoreline, as well as a solitary 1-0, has been common for Wolves this season, with 22 of their Premier League games this season have been settled by a margin of just one goal, in which the side in old gold have the record of 11 wins and 11 defeats this campaign – only three teams have ever had more in a 38-game campaign, Everton’s 23 in 2002/03, Fulham’s 24 in 2005/06 and Sheffield United’s 24 in 2020/21.

#3 Brighton better on the road

Brighton might not have had the best run at the Amex since the turn of the year, with the Seagulls failing to win and only picking up four points from their eight home games, but it’s away from East Sussex where Brighton’s form has been picking up. otter’s men earned victories against Arsenal and Tottenham in recent weeks, as Leandro Trossard and Enock Mwepu found the back of the net against the Gunners before the Belgian scored the winner at Spurs.

Although European places are out of their reach, the side currently sat 11th in the Premier League table still have something to play for in the final four matches of the season as they look to achieve the club’s best league finishing position. The Seagulls ended the 1981/82 Division One campaign in 13th place and are yet to better that position in their history, with their recent bests seeing them finish the 2017/18 and 2019/20 terms in 15th, meaning the visitors should be confident of ending their season on a high.

#4 Decisions to be made

With Wolves being unable to find the back of the net in their last two outings, Lage might be tempted into switching his attacking line-up for the third time in succession on Saturday afternoon. The head coach changed his front three selection by pairing Raul Jimenez alongside Fabio Silva for the first time after the Mexican returned to the side following a two-match suspension. In his pre-match press conference, Lage said the injured trio of Ruben Neves, Daniel Podence and Maximilian Kilman would be unlikely to play this weekend, meaning decisions need to be made across the pitch this weekend.

For Brighton, Yves Bissouma is back in contention following his own two-game ban. No player has been booked more often in the top-flight this season than the midfielder, who has been yellow carded 10 times in 22 appearances. With that latest booking, he also had the (dis)honour of being the first Brighton player to be booked 10 times in a single Premier League campaign. While Jakub Molder is a long-term absentee and Tariq Lamptey will be assessed, Bissouma is expected to be Graham Potter’s only change from the 2-2 draw with Southampton, coming in place of Alexis Mac Allister.