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Wolves vs Brighton: Match Preview

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Three points albeit a game hand, Wolves need to produce a result against visiting side Brighton & Hove Albion if they want to continue their fight for a European place finish as both sides clash at Molineux Stadium.

Bruno Lage’s side has had a really good season, sitting eighth as things stand. Not only the points total but overall quality in West Midlands’ club has improved under the Portuguese manager. Their ever-reliable defence has conceded 29 goals one more than third-placed Chelsea and is the best besides the top three top teams in the Premier League.

As for Potter’s side, it will be considered a season where the team has failed to capitalize on a very bright start to the season where the side sat fifth in the league position to now sitting in eleventh place. Up till gameweek 10, the side drew against Arsenal and came back from 2-0 down to draw the game at Anfield. But a series of defeats from mid-February to mid-March saw the team lose six on the bounce and Brighton lose all of their momentum.

WHERE AND WHEN?

Venue: Molineux Stadium.
Date: Saturday, 30th April 2022.
Time: 15:00 (BST).

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistant referee: Dan Robathan, Derek Eaton.
Fourth official: James Linington.
VAR: Michael Salisbury.
Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin.

RECENT FORM

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ recent Premier League form: L-L-W-L-W

Brighton & Hove Albion’s recent Premier League form: D-L-W-W-L

TEAM NEWS

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Wolverhampton trio of Ruben Neves, Daniel Podence and Max Kilman all remain sidelined with injuries but Bruno Lage is optimistic that all the three can return before the end of the season. Nelson Semedo who is now back after starting his first game since February while retaining his place with Johnny starting at the opposite flank.

Malian international Yves Bissouma will be back in the starting lineup after missing two matches due to suspension as he accumulated 10 yellow cards for the season. Jakub Moder is ruled out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury, while right-back Tariq Lamptey is doubtful with a knock and he will be assessed ahead of kickoff so Solly March or Joel Veltman could start as a right-back or right wing-back depending on the system Potter choices for the game.

MATCH ANALYSIS

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Wolves’ hopes of playing European football have slowly looked unlikely given the team’s lackluster performances in the past few weeks. According to xG, Wolves have underperformed in each of their last four Premier League encounters. That is not good enough if you are a team chasing a European place. Goals are still an issue for the Midlands side. Raul Jimenez, the team’s primary goal scorer has not looked like himself since returning from injuries. Hwang Hee-chan, after an explosive start has not been able to replicate his good form with only 2 goals in the last 20 league appearances & the loan signing of Trincao has not gone according to plan. Bruno Lage needs to invest in a very sensible fashion this summer if he wants to continue the good work he has done this season.

Brighton are on route to their best ever Premier League finish but they could have done so much more this year. Their expected goals stand at 39 goals but they have managed to score only 31 due to poor finishing this year. They faced the same problem last year and with a great recruitment team behind them, it was expected they could figure out a solution for this problem. They brought in Andi Zeqiri but immediately loaned to Augsburg, Denis Undav and he too was loaned to Union SG, his former side. Every player in the team has performed exactly accordingly, no one has misfired or overperformed, it is just that they need to go all out for a good striker who gives them 15 goals a year. If Burnley go down they can have a look at Wout Weghorst who is exactly the profile that they need to target and if the Clarets go down, he will be available for a cut-price deal.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Romain Saïss

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Romain Saiss has now been a Wolves player since 2016. He made 204 appearances for the club and helped them win a promotion & solidify their status as a team that will always knock on the doors for a European spot. As always Saiss has been a consistent performer for his side this season. He works very hard for his team and awareness allows him to ‘bring the game to him’ which means he is always in control and does not get drifted in the flow of the game. He makes more interceptions than tackles which shows his positional awareness and in three Premier League seasons, he’s only made one error leading to a shot. Bruno Lage, who considers him ‘Maldini-esque’ wants his club to tie down the defender’s long term future as his contract runs out this summer.

Moisés Caicedo

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If there is one regret that the Seagulls fans might have this year, it would be why on earth has Graham Potter taken so long to integrate Moisés Isaac Caicedo. Brought in last year’s January transfer window, Caicedo was heavily scouted by many European clubs especially Manchester United who were close to agreeing on a deal for the Ecuadorian & then he was loaned out to the Belgian side Beerschot. Brighton recalled him and he has taken to Premier League football like a duck to water with impressive performances against North London clubs Arsenal and Tottenham. Caicedo has already played in the centre of the midfield, defensive midfield and attacking midfield and his raw numbers have been pretty good in all the positions. This already looks like a steal considering some of the fees that have been splashed on players who do not possess the technical abilities as he does.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Wolverhampton Wanderers predicted XI: Sa; Boly, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Jonny; Neto, Jimenez, Trincao.

Brighton & Hove Albion Predicted XI: Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Webster; March, Mwepu, Bissouma, Caicedo, Cucurella; Trossard, Welbeck.

PREDICTION

Wolves vs Brighton & Hove Albion: 1-0












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Premier LEague

Sao Paulo President – Marquinhos “didn’t want to stay”

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There’s been a lot of coverage recently regarding the Brazilian media’s enthusiasm for Marquinhos’ transfer from Sao Paulo to Arsenal. Following numerous rumours stating that the Gunners’ proposal had been accepted, journalist Jorge Nicola revealed yesterday quoting a source who said the move is taking place.

Sao Paulo president Julio Casares was interviewed by Sportv on Wednesday evening. He was queried about sales, and Marquinhos’ departure was also highlighted. The official revealed that the winger is leaving the club owing to a contract dispute, but he did not specify where he will go.

“He didn’t want to stay, we tried everything. Even before the game against Racing, where he blew up, he didn’t want to stay. It was a contractual issue, that he had this condition,” Casares told Sportv.

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According to Globo Esporte, Marquinhos will join Arsenal for about €3.5 million. They point out that because of this, Paulo had to ‘accelerate’ his sale. This is because FIFA will not recognize the five-year contract he signed when he was underage. He is due to become a free agent this summer because he could only agree to a three-year contract, so the club decided to accept the Gunners’ offer rather than lose him for nothing.

This will be Arsenal’s second recent acquisition from the Brazilian market with winger Gabriel Martinelli also signed from the South American country. Mikel Arteta is building his side into a team with a blend of experience and youth. The likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Martin Odegaard have all flourished under the Spaniard and expectations will be very high for Marquinhos who is rated very highly among the club hierarchy.

Marquinhos is said to be in London already and have undergone his medical with a possibility of announcement down the week as Premier League comes to its conclusion.

Although this one looks like a bit different kind of an acquisition; Arsenal are trying to take advantage of a poorly negotiated contract by Sao Paulo here and Marquinhos’ imminent arrival is likely to get him involved at either Hale End or possibly send him out on loan to get much-needed experience in his legs. Edu, alongside Per Mertesacker, have keenly invested in Arsenal’s academy in the last couple of years and it looks like despite Mikel and his plans of acquisitions – the Gunners will continue to boost the pasture Hale End has always been to London Colney.












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Barcelona offer Raphinha 200% of current wages

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According to GOAL, Leeds United star Raphinha has agreed on personal terms with Barcelona ahead of a possible summer move to the Nou Camp. As Goal initially reported on Tuesday, it is known that the Brazilian will have his salary doubled if he joins the Spanish giants on a contract until 2027.

According to OUL Sports, Barcelona has made an opening bid of £55 million for the Brazilian sensation. Raphinha’s current deal expires in the summer of 2024, and the player is willing to leave Elland Road. If Jesse Marsch’s team are to keep the Brazilian’s services, they must fight for Premier League survival. Raphinha’s final game for Leeds is against Brentford on Sunday [22 May] and he will be more determined than anyone to keep the club in the Premier League.

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Raphinha clearly cares for Leeds United, as evidenced by his response to Luke Ayling’s red card and an emotional moment following the Whites’ final home game of the season against Brighton. He certainly has the talent to play Champions League football, but he is of an age where he must develop for the sake of his career. Unfortunately for him, he will not be able to accomplish his ambitions at Elland Road.

A move to the Catalan outfit will provide the winger with the platform he needs to develop into one of Europe’s top wingers. The Spanish giants are playing a waiting game to sign the winger, which is understandable given their current FFP troubles.

Xavi is reportedly keen on signing the Brazilian as the former Blaugrana player looks to rebuild his squad in the summer to challenge arch-rivals Real Madrid for next season’s La Liga trophy.



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Crystal Palace vs Man United: Match Preview

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Crystal Palace are going into the last day of the season with nothing to play for but a higher midtable place, so this match doesn’t really mean much to them apart from it being their last match and wanting to go out with a win to finish their season well for the fans. However, for Manchester United, this could be the difference between a failure and an absolute catastrophe. They are currently in 6th (Europa League spot) and are only 2 points above West Ham, so if they lose and West Ham wins, then they could be dropped into the Conference League, the third tier of European competition.

WHERE AND WHEN?

Venue: Selhurst Park.
Date: Sunday, 22nd May 2022.
Time: 16:00 (BST).

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistant referee: Constantine Hatzidakis, Richard West.
Fourth official: Josh Smith
VAR: Peter Banke
Assistant VAR: Natalie Aspinall.

TEAM NEWS

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Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick said this when asked about availability, “We, once again unfortunately, have quite a few players missing and another couple of players with question marks.” The likes of Sancho, Shaw and Rashford are likely people with those question marks, but even if they aren’t all of them can start from the get-go.

In an interview with Football London, Patrick Viera said this about star winger Micheal Olise, “Michael was injured. He had a step back and he’s not going to play again this season.” This means that he’s not going to be playing against United, but that is their only injury, so they’ll be faring better than United, injury-wise anyway.

MATCH ANALYSIS

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Ralf Ragnick’s side hasn’t had the best season, so they’ll be looking to end it stably with a Europa League finish. It’s not exactly what the fans would have been dreaming of when they signed the likes of Ronaldo, Varane and Sancho, it’s not the top 4 and it’s definitely not the league title or Champions League title, but the Europa League isn’t the worst situation in the world for United, even though saying that is a controversial opinion. They’ll need to win this match, as it could decide the future of Manchester United.

Crystal Palace may have nothing to play for, but the difference between 14th and 10th could be looked back upon differently by fans in a few years’ time, and money-wise, it would definitely help the club. Viera’s side have built strongly this season, but the question in the summer will be if they can keep their foundations. A home win against Manchester United would be brilliant for the fans after losing at Everton would be a lovely way to finish the season.

KEY PLAYERS

CONOR GALLAGHER

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Gallagher was benched against Everton, and after their collapse against the Toffees, Viera will probably put him back into the heart of the team. Gallagher had a spell of brilliance, but it seems that he isn’t that same undroppable player he once was at Selhurst Park. And with his future in doubt, he’ll want to play well going into the summer window, and also have the option to stay with the Eagles long term.

Conor Gallagher will also be able to exploit the likes of Dalot and Lindelöf by goading them out of position due to them tracking the wingers and that will help him to get the ball through to the likes of Eze and Mateta or to take it on himself by exploiting the spaces in and around them.

DIOGO DALOT

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Dalot has been a solid right-back for Manchester United and has been able to give Wan-Bissaka some serious competition in that position. With reports coming out of incoming manager Eric Ten Hag’s preference for the Portuguese international of his counterpart, it makes sense that Rangnick starts to prepare Dalot for regular first-team football next season.

The 23-year-old did well on his first Premier League start of the season against Arsenal last month, and he’ll hope to have a similar impact against a team with similar attacking principles as the Gunners. With 8 ball recoveries and brilliant holding of possession against the North Londoners, he’s been yet to have the same impact on a game but will hope to this time around.

PREDICTED XI

Crystal Palace predicted XI vs Man United: Butland; Mitchell, Guehi, Andersen, Clyne; Gallagher, Milivojević, Eze; Zaha, Mateta, Ayew.

Man United predicted XI vs Crystal Palace: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelöf, Varane, Telles; Fred, McTominay, Fernandes; Sancho, Elanga, Ronaldo.

READ MORE

Manchester United and the Paul Pogba conundrum
Profiling Manchester United target Gonçalo Inácio: What could he bring to Old Trafford?
A potential return on the cards for Aaron Wan-Bissaka?












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