December always looked a tough way to sign-off in 2020 and so it proved.
Despite taking a highly credible 4 points off Chelsea and Spurs, as well as stretching Man Utd to the limit, the fact remains we lost 4 matches.
Most disappointing was the failure to get a single point against Villa or Burnley, underlining that you can never predict where the points will be won and lost in the Premier League.
That’s why I’m not taking this one lightly.
You can also factor in a remarkably bad track record against Brighton if any reminder is needed about how tough this is likely to be.
My take on the Seagulls is that they’re in every game but too often lack the devilment to come out on top.
It doesn’t surprise me that they’ve drawn 7 games (the most in the PL) because they’re good between the boxes.
They’ll need to improve a win ratio of 2 in 16 though unless they want to spend the whole season just above or just inside the bottom three.
Danny Welbeck and Adam Lallana were interesting summer additions and the former has already scored a few important goals.
Both come with bad injury records though and there’s a chance neither will feature in this game.
Highly rated full-back Tariq Lamptey is definitely out as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
They only won one home league match in 2020 so needless to say they’ll hope 2021 offers improvement.
The home end
I swapped some thoughts with Seagulls fan Scott from We Are Brighton. If you want to read my responses to him, you can do so here. This is what he had to say ahead of the game:
Brighton are stuck in a rut and Graham Potter does not seem to have any way to get us out of it. We won just one match out of 17 at the Amex in the whole of 2020 and have just equalled our club record worst ever home run of 12 games without victory.
Whilst a lot of Brighton’s football has been good, Potter has found no way for us to put the ball in the back of the net. He said in the summer that he did not think we needed a new striker – something every Seagulls supporter could see that we did – because he could coach improvements out of the likes of Neal Maupay, Aaron Connolly, Leandro Trossard and Alireza Jahanbakhsh. If anything, they have all gone backwards this season.
Combine that with constantly chopping and changing his team and playing players out-of-position – we named no striker in a winnable home game against Arsenal in midweek – and you have a manager who seems to be running out of ideas.
Not many bosses survive runs of two wins in 16 as we are on this season or five wins in 34 as our record in 2020 was. Brighton though rather foolishly handed Potter a new six-year contract after just six months and four Premier League wins last November, so there seems little prospect of him being sacked, even if we go down which right now looks a very real possibility.
What can Wolves expect at the Amex? We will probably play well in the first half, have plenty of the ball but not be able to do much with it. Brighton are notoriously poor early in the second half and from there it is normally an uphill struggle.
Neither team has exactly shone in front of goal this season, but we have kept only three clean sheets and two of those came against Fulham and Burnley. Any side who is above 16th in the table can therefore expect to score against us, so presuming Wolves can keep a clean sheet at the other end then there is every chance you will pick up a rare victory against Brighton to start 2021.
The cat was well and truly thrown amongst the pigeons at Old Trafford with the young lads who came in all performing well. Who can possibly predict what Nuno will do?
We’ve got to try and go for the win and that means playing with a recognised striker so Fabio would start for me, regardless of the shape.
I’d keep Hoever at right-back simply because he did well and gave me more reassurance than Semedo in both directions.
There’s probably a temptation to go with three at the back, keep things tight and have faith that our attackers will be the ones to find the breakthrough.
I do have a concern about set pieces and a lack of physicality, but we got through against Spurs and Utd so no reason we can’t do it again.
Last time out
It was an entertaining 2-2 draw at The Amex last season, with all the goals being scored in the first half. Both teams had the lead and lost it before things slowed down in the second half.
A trademark stalemate at Molineux later in the season was probably a fair result. I don’t remember much about the game other than the fact we could have lost it in the second half.
A hearty pat on the back to BG who was the only one to correctly forecast a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford. Liz still leads the overall standings at the end of Gameweek 16.
As always if you’d like to join in, simply leave your prediction for this game in the comment section below, which is where you’ll find my best guess.
Up The Wolves!