With just five matches to go, Wolves are still firmly in contention of securing a place in one of the continental competitions for next season, with Bruno Lage’s men three points behind seventh-placed West Ham United whilst having a game in hand.
However, three defeats in their last four matches have seen the Old Gold suffer a major blow in the race for Europe, and they can no longer afford any slip-ups.
Getting back on track with a victory against the Seagulls today is crucial, but who will start for Lage’s side? Here is how Football FanCast expects Wolves to line up this afternoon:
We anticipate just one change from last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Burnley, which sees Fabio Silva replaced by Pedro Neto, with Raul Jimenez leading the line against Graham Potter’s side.
Silva has seriously struggled to make an impact this season and the £35m fee they paid for him in 2020 is still yet to be justified.
Labelled a “hindrance” by Wolves journalist Liam Keen earlier this season, the 19-year-old is yet to score in the current campaign, despite making 24 appearances across all competitions. Lage has tried to play the Portuguese youngster in the same line-up as Jimenez, but Silva’s sorry goal return shows that it hasn’t worked.
In his place comes Neto, who is still being managed carefully having recently returned from a serious knee injury. The 22-year-old returned to the side in late February after a ten-month spell on the sidelines but has started just one match since.
With Neto having been declared fit enough to be involved for Wolves for the past two months, Lage must now unleash the £39k-per-week winger, who Jamie Carragher described as a “superstar” last season after scoring five goals and providing six assists.
Quality in the final third has been severely lacking for the Old Gold this term, with only four teams scoring fewer Premier League goals, and Lage will need to find a solution to his team’s woes in front of goal. Involving Neto would certainly be a worthwhile test of his ability to address Wolves’ lack of bite in attack.
Although victory will most likely keep Wolves eighth due to West Ham’s superior goal difference, it is vital that Lage’s men keep breathing down the necks of the Hammers and Manchester United.