Wolverhampton Wanderers were condemned to their eighth defeat of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign at the hands of Brighton and Hove Albion at Molineux Stadium on Saturday (5 November), with the visitors recording back-to-back Premier League wins under new manager Roberto De Zerbi.
Adam Lallana put the Seagulls ahead 10 minutes into the game, but their lead lasted just two minutes as Boubacar Traore put a fine pass through to Goncalo Guedes, who opened his Wolves account with a fine finish despite almost falling.
The hosts found themselves in front in the 35th minute after Ruben Neves converted from the spot as the visitors were penalised for a handball after checks by the VAR.
However, Brighton fought back and drew themselves level in the 44th minute via a fine Kaoru Mitoma header.
Things got complicated for Wolves minutes later as Nelson Semedo was sent off for pulling down the Japanese attacker at the edge of the hosts’ box while being the last man, and that changed the dynamics of the game when action resumed in the second-half.
While Wolves held their own for the majority of the half, Pascal Gross’ 87-minute winner dealt a huge blow on them, and new manager Julen Lopetgui would have seen the extent of work ahead of him while watching from the stands.
With two wins, four draws and eight losses to their name so far, the Midlands outfit are now 19th in the table, with just a superior goal difference separating them from bottom-placed Nottingham Forest.
Wolves parted ways with Bruno Lage on 2 October after just a win in eight Premier League games, and they have won just once and drawn once in six games since then.
Lopetgui will not be in the dugout when the side host Arsenal this weekend (12 November) as he is set to officially resume on Monday, but a win against the league leaders before the World Cup would be a massive boost.
It remains to be seen whether Wolves would benefit from the managerial change, but Brighton are doing fairly well after replacing Graham Potter (now Chelsea boss) with De Zerbi.
They have won two games, drawn two and lost three league games under the Italian and are currently sixth in the Premier League table, with six wins, three draws and four defeats under their belt.
Brighton host Aston Villa on Sunday (13 November) – the last game before the World Cup break – and De Zerbi will be keen to lead his side to a win at the expense of Unai Emery’s side.
The Seagulls are currently in the European zone and will be hoping to finish there or even in the top-four.
Losing Potter to Chelsea threatened to derail their fine start to 2022-23, but things appear to be improving under their new manager, and a top-seven finish will be seen as an improvement on their ninth-place finish last term.
Their current position could change drastically if they drop points against Villa, as just two points are separating them from 10th-placed Crystal Palace.
That could be the recurrent theme this campaign, and Brighton have to keep getting better if they want to play European football next term.