Wolves determined to make a bright start to 2021

Make no mistake about it, this is a big game for Wolves.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Manchester United and Fabio Silva of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Manchester United and Fabio Silva of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

A first victory at the Amex for Nuno Espirito Santo would be a much-welcome start to 2021.

Beating Brighton, although they only won once at home in 2020, is not a given of course.

After all, this match is of vast importance to them, too, as they find themselves at the wrong end of the table – determined to pull away from the drop zone.

But following a run of four defeats from six games, the onus is on Wolves to come out on top and properly get some momentum going over the coming weeks.

Performances as of late, in fairness, have been pretty good.

Nuno’s pack showed immense character to come from behind and draw with Tottenham at Molineux last weekend. A point was the least they deserved from that match.

They also should have came away from Old Trafford with a point on Tuesday night, but they fell to a cruel stoppage-time winner from Marcus Rashford – taking a decisive deflection off Romain Saiss.

Now, the time has come to start racking up a run of positive results.

Having got games against Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United out of the way in a difficult December, they will be hoping to take advantage of a more favourable run of fixtures.

Yes, they have to face the Blues again at the end of the month but before then is this trip to the south east coast, a home game against Everton and the much-anticipated Black Country derby with Albion – an FA Cup game against Crystal Palace among those also offering an opportunity to raise spirits.

And while there are no easy games in the top flight and injuries have left the squad stretched, Wolves certainly can make the most of those.

The January transfer window is upon us and the club have made no secret of their desire to recruit a new centre forward to ‘rebalance the squad’ while star man Raul Jimenez continues his recovery from surgery for a fractured skull.

Having scored just 15 goals in 16 league matches, it is a matter of urgency and, hopefully, someone will be brought in fairly soon.

For this clash with the Seagulls at least, though, they have to make the most of what they have got.

Fabio Silva – after coming off the bench against United – could return to the starting line-up and offer a more traditional forward presence against Graham Potter’s charges.

Going with Pedro Neto and Adama Traore, looking to utilise their immense speed, on the counter last time out did bring some promising moments.

But the lack of a target man when crosses were swung in from the flanks was hugely noticeable.

Nuno also has a decision to make at right-wing-back after Ki-Jana Hoever’s assured display on his full top-flight bow.

Ki-Jana Hoever impressed at United (AMA)

Nelson Semedo has not been all that convincing since joining from Barcelona but did look pretty solid against Tottenham, so it appears he will probably get the nod.

After shining as the sweeper at United, it will also be interesting to see whether Saiss is kept there and skipper Conor Coady deployed on the right of the back three.

It seemed that decision was done to help guide Hoever through the game, but it did bring a nice balance to the defence, with natural left-footer Max Kilman doing better on his stronger side.

There are still question marks over the fitness of Fernando Marcal, Leander Dendoncker and Willy Boly.

Marcal picked up a knock against Spurs which he has been struggling with while Dendoncker and Boly have both missed the last three matches.

Ultimately, though, Wolves are out to begin the new year in fine fashion.

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