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Wolves logo
FA Cup | Fifth Round
Feb 28, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Molineux Stadium
Brighton logo

Wolves
1 - 0
Brighton

Lemina (2')
Sarabia (73'), Sa (82'), Neto (89')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Fati (17'), Julio (63')

Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Brighton & Hove Albion - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's FA Cup clash between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighton & Hove Albion, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Molineux is the venue for an all-Premier League FA Cup fifth-round tie on Wednesday evening, as Wolverhampton Wanderers welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to their West Midlands base.

Gary O'Neil's men enter the midweek battle on the back of a 1-0 success over Sheffield United in the top flight, while the Seagulls left it late to snatch a point off of Everton in a 1-1 draw.


Match preview

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Gary O'Neil reacts on February 25, 2024© Reuters

While the Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer-esque quarrel between Sheffield United's Vinicius Souza and Jack Robinson made most of the Molineux headlines at the weekend, O'Neil's troops went about their business and snapped a two-game losing home sequence with a 1-0 beating of the basement boys.

Jose Sa and his shield had plenty of defending to do on Sunday afternoon, but the toothless Blades failed to wear down the hosts' rearguard, and a deft Pablo Sarabia header from Rayan Ait-Nouri's delightful delivery propelled Wolves to a third win from their last four Premier League affairs.

Now on the brink of breaking into the European places - occupying eighth spot in the table with just a single point separating them from Wednesday's opponents - Wolves also have the opportunity to return to the continent via the FA Cup, in which they have already sent Brentford and West Bromwich Albion packing in 2024.

The 2-0 success over their Black Country adversaries was overshadowed by disgraceful scenes of crowd disorder, which led to a lengthy stoppage in play, but Wolves are now just 90 minutes away from reaching the quarters for the first time since 2018-19, when they were beaten semi-finalists against Watford.

That campaign represents just one of two occasions that Wolves have progressed past the fifth round of the FA Cup since the turn of the millennium - the other saw the hosts lose their 2002-03 quarter-final to Southampton - and now another team from the South Coast seeks to extinguish Wolves' hopes of silverware.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi on February 18, 2024© Reuters

While Wolves could only muster a solitary goal in their recent beating of Sheffield United, Brighton put a fantastic five past the Blades in their FA Cup fourth-round showdown, prior to which Roberto De Zerbi's troops hit Stoke City for four in their opening match of the competition.

Brighton rejoiced in another five-star Bramall Lane showing before welcoming Everton to their Amex base on Saturday, desperate to avoid a repeat of their 5-1 humiliation at the hands of the Toffees from 2022-23, but another agonising loss was on the cards when Jarrad Branthwaite picked out the top corner like a seasoned number nine.

However, a day for the defenders saw Lewis Dunk's looping header steal a point for De Zerbi's troops right at the death, ensuring that the Seagulls - who will soon face Roma in a fascinating Europa League last-16 tie - will cling onto their Europa Conference League spot in the Premier League table for a little while longer.

Three of the last six editions of the FA Cup have seen the Seagulls advance beyond round five - including their run to the semi-finals in the 2022-23 campaign - and if their unorthodox goalscoring pattern is to be followed, De Zerbi's men will rack up multiple goals at Wolves' Molineux base.

Indeed, the Seagulls have followed a sequence of scoring at least four times in every other match since their 4-2 beating of Tottenham Hotspur in late December, and they coincidentally ran out 4-1 winners at Molineux in August, but O'Neil's men dug in for a goalless draw at the Amex just a few weeks ago.

Wolverhampton Wanderers FA Cup form:


Wolverhampton Wanderers form (all competitions):


Brighton & Hove Albion FA Cup form:


Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions):


Team News

Brighton & Hove Albion's Billy Gilmour is shown a red card by referee Tony Harrington on February 24, 2024© Reuters

A good day at the office for Wolves on Sunday saw O'Neil lose no more players to injury in the success over Sheffield United, leaving hamstring victim Matheus Cunha by himself in the treatment room, and there is still no timeframe on the Brazilian's recovery.

With almost a full complement of players to pick from, O'Neil is sure to consider some alterations to his setup, although second-choice goalkeeper Daniel Bentley is yet to don the gloves in the FA Cup this season and may not come into contention for the fifth round.

However, all of Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, Boubacar Traore, Matt Doherty and Santiago Bueno should be pushing for starting roles at Molineux, as will Tommy Doyle, who has been given the nod for each of Wolves' three games in the tournament so far.

In contrast, Brighton are down a man in midfield owing to Billy Gilmour's sending-off in the draw with Everton, for which the Scotland international will serve a three-game suspension across all domestic tournaments.

The visitors also saw Evan Ferguson require on-field treatment at the weekend, but De Zerbi admitted after the game that the striker's confidence levels were a greater concern than any injury, so offensive rotation should not raise any eyebrows on Wednesday night.

De Zerbi cannot call upon Kaoru Mitoma (back), Solly March (knee) or Joao Pedro (thigh) to bolster his attacking contingent, though, and the midfield duo of Jack Hinshelwood (foot) and James Milner (thigh) are also still in the recovery phase.


Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Sa; Kilman, Toti, S. Bueno; Semedo, Lemina, Doyle, Ait-Nouri; Neto, Bellegarde; Hwang

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Steele; Veltman, Webster, Dunk, Estupinan; Baleba, Gross; Fati, Lallana, Adingra; Welbeck


SM words green background

We say: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion (a.e.t. - Brighton to win on penalties)

A contest as tight as the Premier League standings would suggest ought to be played out on the Molineux turf this week, but unlike in January's tense Amex battle, the net should ripple on both sides as both managers weigh up a handful of changes.

No fifth-round replays means that the tie must be settled via extra time and penalties if required, and with Brighton now well-versed in handling the additional pressure of Europa League football, we give De Zerbi's men the edge from 12 yards.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


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Wolverhampton Wanderers
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Brighton & Hove Albion
41.6%
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