Wolves go six games unbeaten in all competitions, holding Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton to a goalless draw.
After securing the first Black Country Derby in front of fans for 12 years beating Brentford 3-2 in midweek, Wolves were tasked to face Brighton, who previously had scored in every game at the Amex dating back to February 2023 when they lost to Fulham 1-0.
Gary O’Neil made just three changes to his first 11, bringing in Craig Dawson, Mario Lemina and Pedro Neto, who replaced Santiago Bueno, Joe Hodge and Jean Ricner-Bellegarde.
Let’s take a look at what we have learnt from this fixture.
1. Rock Solid
As previously mentioned, Brighton are used to scoring at home, and have scored in every fixture at the Amex since February 2023.
With this in mind, Wolves had a very big task to keep Brighton from scoring, and they did that to a high standard. Both Max Kilman and Dawson had great games, reading the play well and defending well in one on one situations, and should be given much credit for their performances.
With Bueno improving with every appearance you would think he’s close to making a breakthrough into the defence, but Dawson would have put any concern over his place to bed with his performance and the whole team just seems to work better as a unit with him in the side.
2. Deadly on the Counter
Wolves looked threatening on the counter all night, and gave Brighton issues for the full 90 minutes.
Neto’s return would have been a huge help in Gary O’Neil’s plans to hurt Brighton on the break, and for the whole fixture his plan seemed to have worked. Whilst we didn’t put the ball in the back of the net, we certainly had the better chances despite Brighton’s dominance with the ball.
The game shaped out to suit Wolves a lot more than Brighton, with De Zerbi’s team struggling to break the solid defence down and the pace of Matheus Cunha and Neto to counter gave us a really good chance at winning the game, but I feel a lot of people are more than happy to come away with a point.
3. 14 points since December
Since the fifth of December, Wolves have picked up 14 points out of a possible 21, only Liverpool have gained more points since this date with 17.
It’s a great feeling knowing that we have good momentum going in to what can be the defining part of the season, and if you look back to the season under Bruno Lage, it was around this time where we started to lose the hinges and things started to turn sour. This doesn’t seem to be the case with O’Neil, and the players seem to trust what he is trying to do and you can see that in every performance they put out.
At the start of the season, Wolves seemed destined to be in a relegation scrap, but full credit to the manager and the players for the quality they have shown. There’s a real feel good factor around the club at the moment, let’s hope this form continues over the next couple of months.
4. Still no Striker
With Sasa Kalajdzic and Fabio Silva both leaving the club in the transfer window, Wolves are left with just Nathan Fraser as a recognised ‘number nine’.
Due to various reports, Wolves want to add a striker to the team, but still face tough restrictions from FFP. A loan deal is the more probable deal if one was to happen, with names like Armando Broja and Che Adams being mentioned.
I think this game showed how much we need to bring someone in, as every time we attacked we didn’t have that focal point in the box to aim for. Maybe the decision to let Kalajdzic go without a replacement in line may have been the wrong decision.
5.Possible European Spot?
Wolves are just three points away from a European spot.
With a signing or two in the winter market and the return of Hwang Hee Chan soon maybe we can see a push to bring European spot back to Molineux.
It would be a huge ask and by no means are we expected to pull off what could be seen as a miracle, but we have thrived of the underdog status as of recent so you can never say never. Let’s just enjoy the performances these players are providing for us and see where we are in the next few months.