Wolves vs Brighton predictions: Seagulls seeking Molineux success
Last weekend Brighton finally got the win that recent performances had been promising — and it was worth the wait.
Victory over Champions League-challenging Chelsea would have been sweet enough on its own, and to thrash them 4-1 even better.
But to do so against a team led by former manager Graham Potter had Brighton supporters on cloud nine.
Manager Roberto De Zerbi would have been particularly pleased as while Brighton had played well in all five previous matches under him, they had yet to win a single one.
To break the curse in emphatic fashion against the man who preceded him will have lifted a huge weight off his shoulders.
Now they visit a Wolves side who will still be very much feeling the weight of the world upon them.
Manager Bruno Lage has gone but there has been little suggestion of an upturn in performances under interim boss Steve Davis.
Now second from bottom in the league and with many of their fellow strugglers starting to find their form, Wolves are starting to look in serious danger.
Wolves’ goalscoring woes go from bad to worse following last weekend’s red card for Diego Costa, who will now not feature until Boxing Day.
With each of Raul Jimenez, Pedro Neto, Sasa Kalajdzic and Chiquinho unavailable until after the World Cup — and for much of the season in the case of the latter pair — Davis will be without five of his first-choice attacking options.
Midfielder Matheus Nunes’ shoulder injury is not as serious as first feared but he is unlikely to return this weekend and defender Toti is also a week or two away despite returning to training.
De Zerbi will be pleased at the relative lack of injuries among his Brighton squad with only Jakub Moder — who is a long-term absentee — and defender Joel Veltman expected to miss out this weekend.
Wolves’ points-per-game tally has barely changed since they sacked Lage, going from 0.75 under their former manager to 0.8 under Davis — if that rate continues, they are on track to collect just 30 points this term.
A lack of goals is an obvious danger to Wolves’ survival hopes as they have scored a paltry six in 13 league games — less than a third as many as Brighton’s 19.
While Brighton’s 4-1 win Chelsea was their first victory in six since De Zerbi took charge, the Seagulls had been very unfortunate in most of those games.
During that run, only Manchester City significantly outperformed Brighton in terms of expected goals.
De Zerbi’s men racked up an incredible 1.7 expected goals without scoring in a 0-0 draw against Nottingham Forest, who recorded just 0.1 xG.
Brighton also outperformed Brentford’s xG when losing at the Gtech Community Stadium and deserved a point on the balance of chances against Tottenham, while deservedly drawing 3-3 at Liverpool.
While their lack of attacking options and 19th-place league position are obviously major concerns for Wolves, the biggest worry has to be the fact that there has been no bounce following the departure of Lage — if anything, given the opponents and number of goals conceded, they have got worse.
Their former manager might not have been every supporter’s cup of tea but he was not the only problem in a squad that looks increasingly jaded and desperately short of attacking options.
Costa’s red card last week only adds to their goalscoring worries and it is hard to see Davis’ men creating much of note against De Zerbi’s inventive and attacking Brighton side.
The Seagulls have slipped back into their old ways of failing to make the most of their opportunities, which is a continued source of frustration.
However, they usually create a huge number of chances and once their attackers start building confidence, Brighton should start taking one or two of those — or four, as was the case against Chelsea.