The Amex Stadium welcomed Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, in a game that could have a major impact at either end of the table. A win for Brighton would see them shrug off their loss to Nottingham Forest and resume their push for the club’s first ever European campaign.
Meanwhile for the visitors, a win on the road could see them win their fourth game in six matches – and reach the magical 40 point tally which almost guarantees their status as a Premier League club next season.
BHA: Steele; Estupinan, Dunk, Webster, Veltman; Gilmour, Groß; Enciso, Undav, March; Welbeck
WOL: Sa; Bueno, Kilman, Dawson, Semedo; Nunes, Lemina, Neves, Gomes; Costa, Neto
Dennis Undav ensured that the Seagulls got off to a flying start despite De Zerbi heavily rotating his side with stars Caicedo, MacAllister and Mitoma on bench. Undav opened his tally for the campaign after Welbeck’s miscued backheel miraculously found the striker, who turned the ball into an empty net.
Things were not looking too bright for the visitors, as just 7 minutes later Brighton doubled their lead. Groß tucked in the second after Enciso capitalised on a Nunes error to set up his team mate on the counter. The Seagulls were well and truly running rampant on the South Coast.
Wolves were in far too deep, and in the 26th minute they found themselves conceding yet another goal. Enciso found Groß on the edge of the box, and the midfielder controlled it well – the ball sat up for him to strike a sweet volley that nestled into the top right corner.
The Seagulls were soaring high as in the 39th minute, when Welbeck added their 4th of the afternoon – rising highest to meet Estupinan’s cross before heading it past a helpless Sa in net. This signalled the half time interval, and a chance for Wolves to regroup after an utterly dominant Brighton performance.
Nathan Collins was one of three half-time substitutes introduced by Lopetegui, and he had far from the desired impact. Just three minutes into the second half, his misplaced pass landed right at the feet of Danny Welbeck – who thumped in Brighton’s fifth of the tie, and his second goal of the day.
It was a horror show for the West Midlands side, as mistake after mistake allowed Brighton to dish out even more punishment. Kaoru Mitoma pounced on a mistake by Nunes and Sa to spring Undav free, who gracefully chipped the Wolves ‘keeper to double his tally in the match and score the Seagulls’ sixth.
It was absolute pandemonium for the visitors, as just a few minutes later Gilmour nearly struck one in from outside the box but his effort was skewed just wide of the post. Just when you thought Wolves finally stopped conceding sloppy chances, Estupinan found himself unmarked as he made a darting run through the Wanderers defence – only to narrowly misplace his shot. Yet another mistake played Caicedo in with a chance to make it seven, but the Ecuadorian’s poor touch saw the chance evade him.
Fortunately for the visitors, their night of terror ended there as the referee signalled for the full-time whistle putting Wolves out of their misery.
With this loss, Wolves have recorded their greatest loss in the Premier League. They now have a tricky end to their campaign, as they host a resurgent Villa next before an away trip to Manchester United, followed by a relegation six-pointer against Everton. They’ll end their season at the Emirates, facing the team that’s currently at the top of the table.
As for the home side, this win takes them one point behind Liverpool in 7th. However, the Seagulls possess a game in hand over Jurgen Klopps’s side – and they’ve played two games less than Spurs, so Roberto De Zerbi’s side could rise to fifth! They play Manchester United on Thursday – could a late Champions League push be on the cards for Roberto De Zerbi’s men?