Formation doesn’t provide same results
It would be understandable for Marco Silva to march out the same formation that helped give his team five goals against Burnley earlier in the week. However, Everton were unable to put up a similar result against Brighton & Hove Albion.
It became clear pretty early on that Everton were missing Gylfi Sigurdsson in the midfield. For all of Andre Gomes’ positive traits, he doesn’t have the same ability to make that final pass that Sigurdsson does. This meant that Everton were relegated to playing largely from the wings and were unable to make anything happen. The wingers and full backs rarely had enough space to get dangerous crosses into the box and also failed to cut inside with any regularity.
When Sigurdsson finally made an appearance in the match it was far too late. Brighton had a full head of steam and were regularly sending dangerous long balls deep into Everton’s half. Even when the formation switched away from the back three, there was little real danger of Everton tying things up.
Everton looked gassed
With only two days of rest in between matches, one has to wonder why Marco Silva didn’t switch up a few more players ahead of this match. The only fresh players in this match were Idrissa Gueye and Richarlison. Every other player started on Wednesday against Burnley and it showed.
Bernard and Theo Walcott in particular hovered between sloppy and non-existent. The speed advantage that Everton had over the defensive unit of Brighton was essentially neutralized by their lack of fitness. Granted the options on the bench are less than stellar, but it would’ve been nice to have seen Bernard or Walcott come off a little sooner.
This fatigue not only hindered Everton from creating chances but they looked incredibly sloppy on the few chances they did have. With only another two days of rest before their match against Leicester, there will need to be some serious squad rotation happening to claw out a positive result against a team known for its speed.
Still missing good chances
This point may be a bit of broken record this season, but Everton are still unable to take the chances that the opposition gives them. The missed opportunities were less ghastly then in previous matches, but this is still a big Achilles heel for this squad. It would be reasonable to say that Everton could have at least left this match with a draw if not the outright win.
Michael Keane’s missed header and Richarlison’s near goal are the most obvious failed conversions. Everton were able to build up some momentum throughout the match where they could’ve gone ahead, but simply failed to pressure Brighton for an extended period. It’s hard to say what Marco Silva and his team can do to improve upon this area short of bringing in new players, but something needs to change.