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Everton look to maintain impressive record over resurgent Brighton

Both teams head to Goodison Park in buoyant mood

Everton v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images

Frustration was certainly the by-word last weekend after largely decent display against Manchester Utd was undone by sloppy play at key moments as well as a horrendous refereeing decision.

There’s not much new to add about Jonathan Moss’ performance, well all feared the team would be on the receiving end of a bad decision and we weren’t let down.

What surprised me though was the reaction of some ex-referees-turned-pundits, who claimed the fact Gueye clearly got the ball doesn’t mean it wasn’t a foul.

Then there’s the FA, who felt Anthony Martial’s theatrical dive wasn’t even worth looking at despite bringing in new rules about diving last year. It means Oumar Niasse remains one of just two players to be punished retrospectively for diving to win a penalty. Says it all really.

To then concede a second goal minutes into the second half is a very Everton thing to do. It was a nice finish by Martial but he was given far too much space to line up the shot, with Theo Walcott earning a deserved telling off from his teammates for failing to track back.

The performance of Walcott and Seamus Coleman was the subject of much debate after the game. Both haven’t been at their best recently and it may soon present Marco Silva with a problem having just managed to field what looked like a balanced side.

In reflection the game was very similar to the defeat at Arsenal, with a failure to take chances proving our downfall.

Further tricky away days lie in wait over the next few weeks, placing further importance on our home games to maintain confidence and momentum, starting with the visit of Brighton.

There doesn’t need to be wholesale changes given there was still plenty to be pleased about from Old Trafford. However, the likes of Ademola Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun are in contention if Silva looks to reshuffle a forward line that didn’t quite click.

The opposition

Brighton’s progress over the past few years very much mirror their manager; quiet, unassuming but extremely effective.

Chris Hughton remains one of the division’s most under-rated managers and hasn’t really got the credit he deserves for taking Brighton up before keeping them there last season.

Things looked a little dicey at the end of September after losing four of their opening seven games, though three of those defeats were against members of last season’s top six.

But three successive wins without conceding since then has lifted the Seagulls into mid-table and just a point behind Everton.

Their recent good form has been spearheaded by the evergreen Glenn Murray, who has six goals already to sit joint second in the top scorers charts at the ripe old age of 35.

It has to be said though that much of their success comes at the Amex. On the road they are, perhaps understandably, not as successful, losing 15 of their 24 Premier League away fixtures.

They have also never beat Everton at Goodison Park in six previous meetings in all competitions.

Team news

Phil Jagielka and Jonjoe Kenny are Everton’s only injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game at Goodison Park.

Yerry Mina is still waiting to make his debut following his summer move from Barcelona. But given the form of Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma a substitute appearance will likely be the best he can hope for this weekend.

Ademola Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun are all pushing for starts after impressing from the bench in recent weeks.

James McCarthy is still gaining fitness after recovering from a broken leg and is unlikely to feature.

Predicted starting XI

Final word

This is definitely one of those games Everton need to put away if they are to continue their climb up the table, particularly with trips to Stamford Bridge, the Etihad and Anfield to come in recent weeks.

Brighton arrive bang in form and high in confidence, meaning it will be far from straight forward. Some patience will again be required from the Goodison crowd if things don’t go to plan straight away, but they should have enough to get a result.