Preview: Everton vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Everton host Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday at Goodison Park in the first Premier League game of 2023 for both clubs.
There was temporary respite for Frank Lampard as his Everton side claimed an unlikely draw at the Etihad on New Year’s Eve.
It was a happy ending to a very difficult 2022 for Everton, as they took a point away at Manchester City in their last fixture.
Other results went their way as well, as the majority of sides near the relegation zone all lost, so they were able to move an extra point clear of danger.
There were positives to take from the game at Man City, including the performance of Ben Godfrey, who impressed on his full return from a broken ankle.
However, the same issues are still prevalent as Lampard’s side remain toothless in attack.
Demarai Gray’s wonder goal was their first shot of the game at the Etihad, and that came in the 64th minute, and their goal versus Wolverhampton Wanderers on Boxing Day came from a corner.
It is not a sustainable way to play going forward, especially against sides where they must take the initiative and play on the front foot.
That excellent result down the M62 in Manchester will count for nothing though if Everton fall to a third successive home defeat here.
Brighton put up a good fight against league leaders Arsenal themselves on New Year’s Eve, but a Kaoru Mitoma-inspired fightback was not enough for any points.
That 4-2 defeat had promising signs in it though, and they remain one of the most entertaining sides in the division.
While their defensive stability has obviously suffered under Roberto De Zerbi’s new style of play, the issue of being unable to score regularly which they had under Graham Potter has disappeared.
Players who have not been prolific in recent years are starting to find form in front of goal under the Italian boss.
Pascal Gross, Adam Lallana and Alexis Mac Allister have all either matched or bettered their scoring return from last season already, while top scorer Leandro Trossard is one goal away from matching his tally from the last campaign.
Trossard has fond recent memories of playing on Merseyside too, having netted a stunning hat-trick at Anfield in De Zerbi’s first game in charge back in October.
Defeat to Arsenal saw the Seagulls drop below Fulham, but they remain in the top half and will fancy their chances at Goodison.
Everton Premier League form:
Everton form (all competitions):
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form:
Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions):
We say: Everton 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
Everton may be stuck between two game plans as their defensive strategy worked so well against Man City, but they must show more ambition in attack in front of a home crowd.
Brighton know exactly what they will do though, and they do it very well, but Everton’s defence has been a strong point so it will be an interesting battle.