Brighton made it three consecutive top-flight wins for the first time since 1981 thanks to Glenn Murray’s 100th goal for Brighton.
Murray’s strike was the difference against Wolves, who have reversed their high-flying September form to make it two defeats in a row, while Brighton continue to distance themselves further from the relegation zone.
Wolves started the game with the lion’s share of the possession and persisted to threaten the Brighton goal. Matt Doherty looked sharp from the outset, and whilst the Seagulls produced good counter-attacking football, they were unable to unnerve Wolves who dominated the early stages at the Amex.
A controversial decision came fifteen minutes into the game, when Matt Doherty’s shot seemingly struck the arm of Jose Izquierdo which was raised up by his head. It isn’t a natural position for his arm, though Anthony Taylor waved play on despite protestations from the Wolves bench.
Nuno’s side continued to threaten and dominate and had 78% possession at one point in the first half, but Brighton’s resilience at home was showing as they couldn’t be broken down and continued to create dangerous counter-attacking chances of their own. Shane Duffy wasted a chance which saw his header flick the wrong side of the post and go wide.
Brighton continued the second half how they ended the first. They were rewarded for their efforts when a scuffed shot found its way to the back post where their in-form Brighton striker, Glenn Murray, was waiting to tuck the ball away into the bottom corner to bring up a century for the Seagulls
Wolves boss Nuno changed up the Wolves side to try to get them to click, introducing Jota and Cavaleiro. However, they still failed to really threaten Mat Ryan’s goal. It was a nervy finish for Brighton, with Doherty and Bennett going close in the final minutes of the game, but they managed to hold on to secure the three points and record three successive Premier League victories for the first time in their history.
Brighton’s three consecutive Premier League wins
Brighton are a team who are considered to be fighting for survival since arriving in the Premier League and at this stage, you’d be wrong to think otherwise. However, stringing together three consecutive wins in this league is no easy task; Hughton’s side are seemingly turning the Amex into a fortress.
This could be a turning point for Brighton, to build on their positive start to begin to show their fans and spectators that they could be long-term participants in the division; not simply in the Premier League for a few seasons before an inevitable relegation to the Championship.
Is form temporary?
Wolves have started the season very well and despite back to back defeats against similar quality opposition, they were the in-form team during September. Since returning from the international break, they lost for the first time at home this season against Watford, and now today on the road against Brighton.
They have still created chances in these games and for long spells were arguably the better side but they have still not overcome their issues with converting their chances. They had 21 attempts at the Brighton goal today and were unable to score, which is concerning when other teams around them need fewer opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net.
Wolves will still have a positive outlook on the season ahead but will have to consider either more clinical players and sacrifice their style and cohesion or just practice their shooting in training… a lot.
Controversial decisions lead to controversial discussions
The handball appeal in the first half was a hard one to turn down by the officials and begs the question whether inconsistencies between referee decisions are something we accept in the game or whether VAR should be implemented much quicker.
VAR will be used in 15 Premier League games this season and would have been helpful in potentially changing the game here. Where teams won’t get decisions, there will be 15 games where VAR will effectively change the outcome of a match.
If Wolves were given that penalty and scored, it’s hard not to think that they may have converted more if Brighton had to risk opening up to pull one back, therefore likely changing the outcome of the game. It’s important that the Premier League don’t drag this out and commit to either the traditional method of referees and accept human error or to move forward with technology and create a consistent a fair officiating system in the Premier League.
Glenn Murray’s 100th
Outside of the Brighton faithful, there are few goals that will be remembered by the rest of the world scored by Glen Murray. However, when people think of Brighton, they think Glenn Murray. He scored his first goal for Brighton back in the 2007-08 season when they were in League One.
The 35-year-old has been essential for the Seagulls in the Premier League since re-joining on Deadline Day of the January 2017 window. It’s hard to look past Glenn Murray as their first choice striker; he is always in the right place at the right time and doesn’t need too many chances to find the back of the net.
Congratulations go out to Glenn Murray on such a phenomenal personal achievement, especially considering he’s moved to other clubs since Brighton’s time in League One.
The table is taking shape
This result today brings these teams within one point of each other with Wolves in 9th and Brighton in 11th, on 15 and 14 points respectively. Both of these teams have had considerably better starts and have effectively separated themselves from the current relegation mini-league that has formed.
Currently, both sets of fans from today’s game can take comfort in the fact that they have more points and are performing better than those below them. It’s too early to write them out of the relegation scrap but they are certainly putting forward a case to compete for the best of the rest top spot. Avoiding relegation will be both club’s primary target but they can certainly achieve much more this season.
Man of the Match: Glenn Murray
He was the difference between the two sides today. Despite Wolves having prolonged spells of possession and creating threatening chances, Brighton were never out of the game. He led from the front and capped off the victory with his 100th goal for the club.
Our best wishes go out to former Wolves manager Glenn Hoddle who was taken to hospital when falling ill at the BT studios.