Everton traveled to the AmEx and Brighton & Hove Albion today on the heels of beating down Burnley, and the performance could not have been more different. The Blues were so slow, stale, and stagnant that you wouldn’t be remiss to wonder whether or not some of them were feeling the lingering effects from a bit of holiday ale.
Facing a debutant goalkeeper in David Button, Everton hardly bothered him. There were fleeting moments of quality from Richarlison and Bernard, but nowhere near enough. Idrissa Gueye was effective in his return to the lineup, but the absence of Gylfi Sigurdsson for most of the match meant that the Toffees had serious trouble holding onto the ball.
Everton’s undoing at the back was the same as it ever was - set piece defending. A Brighton corner deflected off Andre Gomes, which played Jurgen Locadia into the clear and completely onside. The Dutchman had an easy finish, and that was pretty much that.
Despite the Blues going down a goal, it was Brighton who largely took the initiative in the second half. Marco Silva was extremely aggressive with his substitutions, bringing on Sigurdsson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Oumar Niasse, but it didn’t help. Nobody in black and pink was interested in working for a result, and so, no result came.
It was a lifeless effort from Everton, and it doesn’t get any easier after this. Leicester City are better than Brighton, and the fatigue from these holiday fixtures will only increase. Farhad Moshiri may need to hand his checkbook to Marcel Brands, and quickly.
A word also on the altercation in the end - Lucas Digne absolutely blew his top at the final whistle and had to be held back by players and support staff, he seemed to be fuming at Glenn Murray though some thought his ire was aimed at the referee Andy Madley.