Brighton v Wolves: Old Gold may edge tight tussle
Both Brighton and Wolves are defying pre-season predictions thus far. Mark O'Haire previews Sunday's Premier League match-up between the pair from The Amex.
Brighton v Wolves
Sunday December 8, 16:30
Live on Sky Sports
Sunday December 8, 16:30
Live on Sky Sports
Brighton impress against big guns
Brighton earned a first-ever victory at Arsenal on Thursday with a 2-1 triumph pushing the Seagulls four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone. Adam Webster had given the visitors a first-half lead before the under-fire hosts hit back, only for summer signing Neal Maupay to seal the deal when converting Aaron Mooy's cross with 10 minutes to play.
Graham Potter's group had given leaders Liverpool a late scare on Saturday and carried on from where they left off at Anfield. Brighton's first Premier League win since November 2 was built on guts and determination as Maupay and 19-year-old Aaron Connolly tormented a lacklustre Arsenal, while Webster and Lewis Dunk were solid at the back for the Seagulls.
The former Ostersunds boss was delighted with his team's efforts post-match, saying: "It's a nice moment for us. It gives us a little bit of belief. It was a good game for us, not perfect but we showed real courage and belief."
Solly March is hoping to be fit enough to return to the fold on Sunday but Jose Izquierdo remains the only confirmed absentee for Potter.
Wolves extend unbeaten streak
Wolves are enjoying their best unbeaten run (W5-D5-L0) in the top-flight since 1972 after strikes from Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone helped to see off West Ham 2-0 at Molineux in midweek. Nuno Espirito Santo's side moved back up to fifth in the Premier League as they extended their fine form since losing to Chelsea in mid-September.
It has been quite a turnaround for the Black Country boys, who failed to record a win in their first six games. Spanish winger Adama Traore has played a key role over this period and was excellent again on Wednesday, whilst assist-king Joao Moutinho also played a leading role in the opening goal. Goalkeeper Rui Patricio was largely untroubled.
Wolves could easily have added to the score having landed seven shots on-target and Nuno praised his players post-match, saying: "We're trying to create habits and routines we didn't have, but want to have on a daily basis. Every day we have to be committed. It's about the way players play, rest, recover, eat and sleep. They are competing until the last minute."
Little to choose between well-matched pair
Brighton have won three of their last four league games against Wolves; drawing the other, while keeping a clean sheet in each match. However, recent meetings have been shorn of entertainment as since 2012, neither team has have scored more than twice in any of the nine encounters between the pair, with Wolves failing to score at all on six occasions.
Brighton 2.78 have returned an equal W4-D0-L4 dating back to the beginning of October with the Seagulls collecting 11 of their 18-point tally at The Amex (W3-D2-L2). Meanwhile, Graham Potter's outfit have pocketed W5-D3-L2 when taking on teams outside of the top-six this term, but only W0-D0-L6 when facing the Premier League's elite thus far.
With qualification for the Europa League seeing Wolves' 2.94 season start early, the Old Gold have remained remarkably competitive across all competitions. The Black Country club have notched in all bar two of 28 matches and are looking to go 11 top-flight matches unbeaten for the first time since 1962. The visitors have W2-D4-L1 on their league travels.
Old Gold to make their mark
As already alluded to above, recent matches between Brighton and Wolves have often failed to ignite. The last six league meetings have produced just five goals, as two tussles concluded goalless. Looking back further, the past nine match-ups between the duo have delivered Under 2.5 Goals and a repeat can be backed at 1.65 on Sunday.
Collectively, the two teams have seen Under 2.5 Goals cop in 10 of their combined 14 home/away games. However, Wolves' penchant for getting on the scoresheet and avoiding defeat is what makes most appeal here, especially so considering seven of Brighton's last 10 Premier League goals have been scored via set-piece situations.
Under 2.5 Goals is naturally a big runner but I prefer the 1.75 available on Wolves double chance and Wolves to score Over 0.5 Goals.
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