Wolverhampton Wanderers recorded a 4-1 victory against Brighton & Hove Albion as Pierre Pellegri made his managerial debut. The away side were behind at half time but four second half goals saw them earn their first win of the Premier League campaign, having not won in any of the twelve games previous. The game was not without controversy, however, with Pellegri booked for a time wasting incident late on.
Wolves fans had become accustomed to losing games in the Premier League this season, having recorded a 0-2-10 record in the league prior to today's match. Their trip to the American Express Community Stadium was not filled with much hope either, despite the debut of their latest manager, with key players Raúl Jiménez and Bruno Alves out injured, while Willy Boly was only fit enough for the bench. These were not the only missing figures in the Wolves camp as Pellegri cut a forlorn figure in the Wolves dugout, with just physios and a doctor by his side - as all of Wolves' senior coaching staff had departed the club with Nuno Santo.
Any excitement the Wolves supporters had going into the game was quickly wiped out by early errors from the away side's defence. Lining up in a very familiar 3-5-2 formation, Wolves were repeatedly caught out while trying to hold possession of the ball in their own third of the pitch in the first few minutes of the game. Roman Saïss was first caught out, before Jonny's stray pass gave Brighton a glorious scoring opportunity. Alexis Mac Allister took his chance from the edge of Wolves' box, firing a rasping low shot into the far corner to give the home side an early lead.
Wolves had scored just six times in their twelve previous Premier League appearances, and their form in front of goal did not impress their new manager. Diogo Jota twice fired into the side netting from close range, the second time prompting an angry reaction from his new boss. The former two-time Ligue 1 golden boot winner, Pellegri, was caught on camera roaring 'DO I NEED TO SUB MYSELF ON TO SHOW YOU HOW TO F*CKING SCORE?' at the Portuguese attacker. Referee Kevin Friend gave the Premier League rookie a stern telling off for the incident, but failed to brandish a card despite the vociferous protests of Graham Potter in the opposition dugout.
The rest of the half proved to be very dull as neither side created any chances. The vast majority of the first half was played in the middle of the pitch, with both teams passing sideways and backwards with regularity. The travelling Wolves fans were not appreciative of what they were witnessing and audible groans were heard from behind their goal regularly.
The second half saw Wolves make a very early change - Adama Traoré came on to replace the ineffective Matt Doherty at right wing back and his athleticism prompted a change in fortunes for the visitors. Traoré's pace and ability to repeatedly beat Bernardo saw him get into good positions to create chances, and to get on the end of crosses.
Traoré's running off the ball proved to be vital for the visitors, and resulted in Wolves' equalising goal. Jonny was instrumental in the goal too, as his cross from deep found the backpost area, where Traoré had drifted into before rolling a free header into the back of an empty net. The goal was a mood changer for Wolves players and fans, and turned the game on its head. The home fans were shell shocked and fell into silence, not expecting to concede against a previously impotent side.
Traoré was proving to be in unstoppable form for Wolves, vindicating his manager's choice to bring him on from the bench, and set up Wolves' second goal of the afternoon. Leonardo Campana picked up a loose ball out wide before teeing up the Spaniard on the edge of the box. Traoré curled a first-time cross across the penalty area, and striker Diogo Jota was on hand to power a header into the top corner, leaving Mathew Ryan absolutely helpless in the Brighton goal.
Then came Pellegri's second moment of controversy. Brighton wing back Bernardo was racing to pick up a ball for a throw-in adjacent to Wolves' dugout when Pellegri raced out from his technical area to kick the loose ball into stands. The action prompted a scuffle between both sets of players and staff, with Kevin Friend brandishing a yellow card for Pierre Pellegri and Leonardo Campana for their roles in the incident - Campana having screamed at the referee during the craziness.
If Pellegri's intent was to rattle Brighton's players, he certainly succeeded as his side scored a third goal, with Jota grabbing his second of the game. Pedro Neto, who was playing part of a makeshift front three in the second half for Wolves, had picked out his team mate twenty yards from goal. Jota jinxed his way beyond the challenge of Patric before seeing his high shot nestle in the back of the net.
The game went from bad to worse for Brighton in the latter stages of the game as Pedro Neto got in on the goal scoring act himself. Rúben Neves' floated free kick from the halfway line picked out the fellow Portuguese player who, completely unmarked, redirected the ball beyond Ryan with a cool header. It was a goal which killed off any chance Brighton had of a late comeback and marked Pellegri's first game in management as a success, despite the controversy.
Pellegri and Wolves will be hoping to follow up their first win of the Premier League season with another victory when they host Arsenal at the Molineux next Saturday. The Gunners are performing well under fellow rookie manager Mikel Arteta, and are heavy favourites ahead of the clash.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-4 Wolverhampton Wanderers
, there are quite a few players out on loan who will be leaving at the end of their loans, but more on that at the end of the season.
, no prizes for guessing who Alves' agent is
, there is some serious talent in the team. Just need to harness what we have and strengthen the weak areas!
, hopefully Bruno will do enough for me to vindicate Nuno's/Mendes' decision to sign him.
, at Fiorentina perhaps
, a backup has been on my mind although Pedro Neto could prove to be equally as good as Jota in the future, with a bit of luck!
, they are indeed very good players - Coady, in particular, will have an important role as captain!