Everton’s best attacking line-up
There have been flashes of what a full strength Everton attack could look like over the last few weeks. As players begin to come back from injury and return to full fitness, there has been hope that Sam Allardyce can finally put out an entertaining line up that can put pressure on opposing defenses.
One player who was very impressive was Yannick Bolasie, who appears to be at full health and is ready to be the x-factor that Everton have needed in the attacking third. It was refreshing to see a player who is so comfortable with the ball keep the attack from growing stagnant. Many of Everton’s attackers are competent dribblers, but Bolasie has that extra skill and creativity to keep the ball away from defenders.
The midfield trio of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tom Davies and Wayne Rooney were also at their best today. This group seemed to have figured out a way to give each other space and they look to be a formidable group. While they may not be the most sound defensively, they provide so many options in attack that they will be difficult for opposing teams to plan against.
Full strength at full back
Everton received a huge boost against Brighton when Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman were announced in the starting line up. Both players have had their fair share of injury issues and this match showed what both of them can bring to the side.
Without Baines and Coleman in the line up, Everton’s ability to attack the flanks is drastically reduced. Cuco Martina and Mason Holgate are decent bench players, but they do not provide the versatility and skill that Everton’s preferred full back duo provide. Many times this season, Everton were unable to effectively overlap on both sides of the pitch, but Baines and Coleman were given full reign to press forward. Baines’ superb movement and passing allowed Everton to put this match away on Cenk Tosun’s beautiful top corner strike.
While Baines and Coleman still have a little way to go to get back to full fitness, this match proved that the rest of the season could look much better with them on the field.
Playing for the full 90 minutes
This win was one of the rare instances where this Everton team actually put together a good performance for the full 90 minutes. Throughout this season Everton have either played well in one half or no half.
Everton’s struggles in the first half this season are no secret. Even at home they have often struggled to apply pressure early and have often suffered because of it. While they didn’t score in the first half, the attack looked sharp, kept possession well and was consistency threatening the Brighton defense.
The defense even looked solid for most of the match, though they did let Brighton claw their way back in the second half and threaten to tie up the match. In no way am I advocating for another season of Sam Allardyce, but he and his back room staff put together a solid game plan and the players executed it well.