Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Lewis Dunk earns Brighton & Hove Albion a comeback point against Wolverhampton Wanderers

Brighton Hove Albion
Brighton & Hove Albion's Neal Maupay in action with Wolverhampton Wanderers' Ruben Neves

BRIGHTON (England), January 3: Captain Lewis Dunk’s header earned Brighton & Hove Albion a 3-3 Premier League draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers after they had conceded three times in the first half on Saturday.
Aaron Connolly gave Brighton an early lead but Romain Saiss levelled with a header, Dan Burn scored an own goal and Ruben Neves converted a penalty to put Wolves in command by halftime.
Neal Maupay’s penalty straight after the interval gave Brighton hope and Dunk then headed in a Leandro Trossard cross in the 70th minute of an absorbing game on the south coast.
It almost got even better for Brighton as Trossard ran through to score shortly afterwards but his effort was disallowed for a foul, while Owen Otasowie should have won it at the death for Wolves.
The point left Brighton in 17th place, three points above the relegation zone, although they have played two games more than 18th-placed Fulham. Wolves, without a win in their last four games, are in 12th place.
“To show the fight we did and get back in the game, it was a massive point, it was a tough game,” Dunk said. “The penalty (after halftime) was a momentum swing.”
Brighton are without a win in eight league games but the way they fought back to dominate the second half would have pleased manager Graham Potter.
His side made a great start when Trossard was given too much time and space by the Wolves defence and his cross was stabbed home by Connolly who got in front of his marker.
The lead lasted only six minutes though as Saiss directed his header past keeper Robert Sanchez from Nelson Semedo’s cross despite moving away from goal when he made contact.
Wolves went ahead in the 34th minute when Sanchez punched out a cross from Pedro Neto but the ball ricocheted off the shin of the unfortunate Burn.
Burn’s evening got worse when his rash tackle on Adama Traore on the byline gave Wolves a blatant penalty and Neves tucked away the spot kick.
Brighton needed a quick response after the break and were gifted a penalty immediately when the vastly-experienced Joao Moutinho tripped Maupay who got up to score from the spot.
Adam Webster hit the bar for Brighton as they pressed for an equaliser and they were rewarded when Dunk headed in.
The dangerous Trossard thought he had put Brighton ahead when he latched on to a long clearance by Sanchez and fired home but he was ruled to have pushed over Rayan Aït-Nouri.
All Brighton’s hard work almost came to nothing in the last second of the game when Traore’s cross was perfect for substitute Otasowie but the American teenager headed over.
“I’m sad and frustrated,” said Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo. “We had the game under control and in the second half we should have done much better.”
Arsenal playing with the handbrake off, says Mikel Arteta
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was delighted with his team’s 4-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and said the players have finally released the handbrake and are playing with much more freedom.
Full back Kieran Tierney got the ball rolling, cutting in from the left flank and firing home his second goal for Arsenal in the 23rd minute before teenage winger Bukayo Saka finished off a superb team effort.
Alexandre Lacazette then struck twice in the second half to seal Arsenal’s third straight Premier League victory and lift them to 11th place in the table on 23 points, six points off qualifying spots for European competition.
“I think previously we lost games that we were really unlucky in and most of them was our own fault, because we made some errors and lacked some discipline,” Arteta told reporters.
“But obviously you need to win football matches and now this brings a different momentum and energy, the players they get the handbrake off and you can see that they are more free to play.”
“This is an Arsenal team with the idea that I want.”
Arteta also said the imminent return to fitness of Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey, who has missed the last six league games due to injury, would provide a huge boost.
“We’ve been missing him. He brings something different to the team. He’s a player with an enormous talent, but as well someone who can transform the team the way we want,” Arteta added.
“He is feeling good. He needs another two or three good sessions to see if he is 100% available to play. If that is the case, great news for us.”
Arsenal face Newcastle United in the FA Cup on Saturday. (Reuters)