Wolves may take heart from their performance against an impressive Brighton team but it was an opportunity due to individual errors. Brighton started strongly as Adam Lallana curled home, but Wolves responded almost immediately with an incisive break from Guedes. A lengthy VAR delay then led to a Neves penalty but not long after Kaoru Mitoma beat Semedo at the back post to equalise. Minutes later Semedo was sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, and a balanced and committed second half performance was undone by a Pascal Groß winner after 83 minutes.
It might be harsh on Sá who made a couple of big saves and couldn’t do much for any of the three well-taken Brighton finishes. He came out well to take a couple of corners and set off at least one counterattack with a trademark long kick, but it’s hard to offer a much higher rating after three goals conceded.
Semedo looked lost, struggling from the start when both fullbacks were exposed but unlike Bueno, he couldn’t wise up to the changes. He was out of position for the break for the first goal, got towered over by Mitoma for the second and recklessly got sent off, effectively giving the game away for Wolves. Really poor from a player who is experienced enough to know better.
Collins and Kilman are naturally exposed by Wolves’ current approach, and especially so by Brighton’s desire to attack the inside channels on approach to the box early on. Collins made a vital early block, won a crucial 1 on 1 challenge and doing his best to step up out of defence when the game opened up in the last 25 minutes. He was sadly stood up for the third goal, a crucial black mark on an otherwise solid day for the Irishman.
Kilman’s performances last season set high expectations, meaning that the onus is on him for defensive stability for Wolves. He did reasonably well, winning plenty in the air and blocking a number of crosses when Brighton threatened early. He will hope to for higher defensive standards for a group in which he should be a real leader.
Bueno continues to look at home in the Premier League. Initially left on an island as Brighton looked to outman Wolves on the flanks, he adjusted once Podence dropped in slightly to add more protection and his positioning improved. He linked well with Podence going forward, and had a penalty shout on an early burst into the Brighton box, but a knock would be that he was beaten too often one on one.
Traoré was the best player in a Wolves shirt, offering energy in midfield and covering plenty of ground to help out in attack and defence. He set up Wolves’ equaliser with a sensational first time pass to Guedes and his defensive positioning was almost vital as Wolves were able to hold Brighton out for most of the second half.
An imperfect game from the legendary Portuguese, he did help Wolves tick over in possession and worked hard to help them try to maintain something of a press when down to ten men. Him and Neves no longer have the luxury of controlling midfields like they once did and Moutinho often looks scrappy as a result, but he can offer better than he did today.
Neves as always has high expectations for Wolves and sees a high amount of the ball on an ideal day. The midfield battle didn’t suit his relative lack of athleticism perfectly (losing half of his defensive duels) and he wasn’t as flawless in possession as he is on his best (77% passing, 4/6 long passes successful per SofaScore). He did however slot his penalty away nervelessly, and as captain gets some credit for a team performance which appeared to show a lot more spirit than has been the case of late.
Wolves and Guedes will hope that today kick starts the Portugese attacker’s career in the Premier League. He looked threatening throughout, going past players and keeping his head to finish well for an excellent solo goal, his first of the season. His ability to carry the ball directly and finish might make him the long-needed replacement for Diogo Jota.
Unlucky to be hooked at half time so Wolves could replace Semedo, Podence linked well with Bueno and worked to help the Spaniard defensively too after a shaky first ten minutes. He appeared on the opposite side of the pitch to swing a cross in and win the penalty and that fluidity and willingness to drift across the pitch is something that could unlock some of his better qualities if he can continue to do so.
Hwang’s role through the middle today was typically low on service for a Wolves team who have struggled to find a functional attacking system. Thrust in Diego Costa’s absence, the South Korean did what could be asked of him, working hard to win free kicks, avoiding giving away possession and making a couple of tidy runs with the ball. He deserved the good ovation when he was replaced.
Jonny played the second half but struggled again after a series of tough games. Regularly out of position, his defensive absence let Brighton in for their winning goal and he has lost his sharpness on the ball. 2 ACL injuries appear to have taken their toll on a man who has been an excellent Wolves servant.
Traore’s introduction got the crowd going but the reality didn’t meet the hype. He forced a smart save from Sanchez but other than that he couldn’t spark much.
Brought on in an unconventional role to support Bueno and use his attacking skills. Didn’t have much of an opportunity to influence the game but got on the ball when he could in attack.