Brighton & Hove Albion vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: 3 Key Battles

Brighton & Hove Albion will take on Wolverhampton Wanderers in a Premier League fixture on Monday night.

The Seagulls return to Premier League action after drawing 0-0 with West Ham United on January 3. They advanced to the fourth round of the FA Cup by beating Stoke City 4-2 earlier this month.

The Wanderers, on the other hand, saw off Brentford 3-2 after extra time at Molineux in the FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday evening. They are yet to play in the Premier League so far in January, with their last outing being a 3-0 win over Everton on December 30.

On that note, let us take a look at the key battles on the pitch.

#Joao Pedro vs Nelson Semedo

Joao Pedro has been one of the successes of Brighton’s season. The Brazilian forward netted his 16th goal of the campaign in the 4-2 victory over Stoke City in the FA Cup before the 16-day break in fixtures. Given his form and contributions, he is among the first names on Roberto de Zerbi’s team sheet.

Brighton could line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Wolves, with Pedro operating from the left flank. In that case, he could come up against Wolves’ right wing-back Nelson Semedo. As Pedro is arguably Brighton’s biggest threat going forward, Semedo has to be on his toes and defend very well against him.

The Portugal international may need to curb his inclination to bomb forward at every opportunity. Semedo must deal with Pedro first before thinking of providing Wolves with attacking flair. On the other hand, Pedro will look to pin Semedo back as much as possible, allowing left-back Pervis Estupinan to overlap and underlap.

#Mario Lemina vs Pascal Gros

Mario Lemina came off the bench to help Wolves see off Brentford in the FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday evening. So, he will be relatively fresher than some of his teammates to face Brighton on Monday evening.

Sitting as a shield in front of a back three, Lemina will be expected to recycle possession and disrupt Brighton’s free-flowing, possession-based football. With his passing range and vision, Pascal Gros is the main instigator of most of the Brighton attacks from a deeper midfield role. Lemina must keep close tabs on Gros and restrict him from getting time on the ball.

If Lemina can stop Gros from influencing the game, Wolves’ chances of getting a positive result at the Amex Stadium will become higher.

#Matheus Cunha vs Lewis Dunk

Matheus Cunha has not been a prolific goalscorer during his time so far at Wolves but his winning goal against Brentford in the FA Cup third round should give him confidence heading into this league fixture. He has fielded up front in Hwang Hee-chan’s absence, impressing Gary O’Neil with his flexibility. And the Brazilian is expected to lead the Wolves attack at the Amex Stadium.

Stopping Cunha in attack is tough, as the Wolves forward is tricky and can use his pace to outrun defenders. This implies that Brighton skipper Lewis Dunk will have his work cut out on Monday. The England international has been the leader of the hosts’ defence, and he along with Jan Paul van Hecke will have to be on their toes to stop Cunha from getting into goalscoring positions.

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