Six of the best! Brighton blow away hapless Wolves as Deniz Undav, Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck all score twice to keep the Seagulls’ European hopes alive… with Julen Lopetegui’s side still in danger of being dragged into a relegation scrap
- Europa League chasers Brighton thrashed Wolves 6-0 at the Amex on Saturday
- Three Seagulls attackers netted braces as Roberto De Zerbi’s side put on a show
- Brighton climbed to within two points of Spurs in fifth with two games in hand
Brighton’s reserves of resilience should no longer come as any surprise. Wealthier clubs come for their best players they continue to improve. They take their manager, his staff and even the director of football and still they get better.
So perhaps we should have known better than to wonder if the heartache of a Wembley defeat on penalties in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United would kill their spirit and send them spinning down the Premier League table at the end of this brilliant campaign.
Instead, Roberto de Zerbi’s produced an exhilarating display of fast and fluent attacking football to demolish Wolverhampton Wanderers, register a club-record 15th victory in a top-flight season and equal their best points tally.
There were two goals each for Pascal Gross, Danny Welbeck and Deniz Undav. It was four by half time and might have been more embarrassing for Wolves, who performed with the look of a team thinking 37 points would be plenty to avoid the drop.
It probably will be but those supporters in old gold who travelled to the south coast might wonder if this performance falls into the money-back category after Tottenham’s players reimbursed tickets costs when they conceded six at Newcastle.
Europa League chasers Brighton hammered Wolves 3-0 at the Amex on Saturday afternoon
Forward Deniz Undav had to wait a while for his first league goal of the season – but netted twice against Julen Lopetegui’s side to cap off a superb performance from the in-form Seagulls
Pascal Gross also bagged a brace, netting his second and the hosts’ third in the 26th minute
Brighton carried the aftershock of Wembley into their midweek game at Nottingham Forest and De Zerbi’s decision to freshen things up paid immediate dividends. He made five changes to the team that started at the City Ground and saw them overwhelm Wolves in the first half.
Undav struck in the sixth minute. Pervis Estupinan’s overhit cross from the left was retrieved by Solly March, fired back into a crowded penalty box by Joel Veltman and flicked on by a Danny Welbeck to Undav who converted from six yards.
Brighton (4-4-2): Steele 6, Veltman 6.5 (Caicedo 64, 6), Webster 7, Dunk 7, Estupian 7.5; March 7 (Mitoma 56 min, 6.5), Gross 8.5, Gilmour 7, Encisco 8 (Mac Allister 64, 6); Welbeck 7.5 (Buonanotte 56, 6.5), Undav 7.5 (Ayari 80).
Subs: Sanchez, Colwill, Van Hecke, Offiah.
Goals: Undav 6, 66, Gross 13, 26, Welbeck 39, 47
Manager: Roberto de Zerbi 7
Wolves (4-2-3-1): Sa 4; Semedo 4 (Podence 45+1, 6), Dawson 4 (Collins 46, 4.5), Kilman 5.5, Bueno 5; Lemina 4.5, Neves 5; Neto 5 (Traore 83), Gomes 4 (Toti 46, 5), Nunes 5; Costa 4 (Hwang 46, 4.5).
Subs: Bentley, Cunha, Sarabia, Moutinho
Manager: Julen Lopetegui 5
Referee: David Coote 6.5
The German looked as though he expected a flag. It was tight on the Welbeck flick but was played on by Nelson Semedo and after a two-minute VAR check, he had his fourth goal in Brighton colours and his first Premier League.
Gross scored the next two. Both wonderfully precise finishes. The first completed an incisive passing move featuring Billy Gilmour and Julio Enciso, who carried the ball forward and picked out the scorer with a pass. Gross fired it first time past goalkeeper Jose Sa.
His second was even better, a swerving volley from the edge of the penalty area, fading beyond Sa and into the top corner after another burst of pace and a pass by Enciso, the teenage Paraguayan who made such an impact with his winner at Chelsea.
The Wolves defending was simply awful in the first half and it got worse as Brighton scored their fourth. No pressure on the ball in midfield as Gilmour sprayed a pass wide and no pressure out wide as Estupinian overlapped Enciso and delivered the cross.
No surprise then to find no pressure at the back post where Welbeck had drifted away from Max Kilman and headed in.
There could easily have been more goals during this spell. Solly March, who missed the decisive penalty at Wembley, whistled a half-volley narrowly over in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Lopetegui fumed on the touchline as his team were demolished. The only effort on goal in the first half came from Matheus Nunes after Pedro Neto’s dash down the right wing when the score was 2-0. Jason Steele made the save.
The Wolves boss was forced into one change near the end of the first half. Semedo, who had spent quite a long time trying to convince the medics he was injured, was excused further misery.
Lopetegui made three further changes during the interval and switched to a back five in a bid to stem the flow of goals but Welbeck scored his second and Brighton’s fifth almost as soon as play resumed.
Seagulls star Danny Welbeck netted either side of half time to put the game beyond the visitors
It was a miserable afternoon for Wolves, who still sit just eight points above the relegation zone
Jason Steele, who made two saves and kept a clean sheet, celebrates after Brighton’s victory
Another mistake at the back by the visitors presented him with the ball 20 yards from goal. Welbeck promptly shifted it onto his left foot and drove it at goal and it was hardly a surprise when it nestled into the net.
If Wolves were not demoralised by this point, De Zerbi sent on Alexis Mac Allister, Moses Caicedo and Kaoru Mitoma.
Undav’s second came from a careless mistake in possession by Sa, who played Nunes into trouble. Mitoma closed him down and Undav pounced, beating the goalkeeper with a delectable chip from a tight angle.
Gilmour clipped post from 20 yards but Brighton eased up at six. The quest for a European place is not over yet. They have games in hand and will have their eyes on revenge when Manchester United visit on Thursday.
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