We haven’t had too many chances this season to consider what Everton is going to do following a win — but that’s where we find ourselves after the Toffees’ relatively thorough 2-0 victory over West Ham United last week.
Marco Silva is now tasked with finding a way to carry that momentum over into the club’s next match — the sort of match in which the team has traditionally struggled under him.
Tactics and Formation
Ah yes, an away match against a team likely to bunker against the Everton attack — the Marco Silva kryptonite. Can the manager finally find a way to reliably find goals in matches like these?
On the body of evidence he’s compiled so far, we aren’t too optimistic, but we think we know what to expect from him at least. Silva has made a habit out of keeping a winning XI together, even if last week’s opponent and the next opponent present vastly different challenges.
Brighton & Hove Albion aren’t vastly different from West Ham. They certainly aren’t a Burnley-level bunker-style team, but especially with creator Aaron Mooy suspended and Bernardo and Jose Izquierdo both set to miss out, it seems reasonable to suspect that they’ll opt to sit relatively deep and challenge the Toffees to break them down — especially given the club’s struggle to do so this season.
Silva’s response? Likely to throw out the same XI as last week (or as close to such as possible) and hope for the best.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Lucas Digne - 10/10
Mason Holgate - 6/10
Holgate’s inclusion is purely based on Mina’s questionable fitness. If Yerry is fit — which late reports indicate he might be, he’ll play.
Michael Keane - 10/10
Djibril Sidibe - 8/10
There’s not a lot wrong with how Seamus Coleman has played so far this season, but Silva has made a habit of keeping together winning XIs until they stop winning, so we expect Sidibe to be back in the lineup here.
Andre Gomes - 10/10
Tom Davies - 9/10
Last week, Tom showed he can be a meaningful contributor against teams that try to play out of the back — and that should come as no surprise, with his energy and ball-winning abilities chief among his positive attributes.
The real question is whether he can help break Everton’s hex against a low block. We don’t feel particularly optimistic about it, but he’d be a huge asset if he could break out in this match.
Alex Iwobi - 10/10
Early returns on Iwobi at the No. 10? Pretty good!
We expect he’ll be back there again this weekend, where his creative abilities will be tested more thoroughly against a deep-lying opponent.
Bernard - 9/10
Theo Walcott - 8/10
Richarlison - 10/10
Richarlison is not a striker, and we will die on this hill if we have to. That said, Silva won’t change what worked last week, so we expect the Brazilian to lead the line again this weekend. Also, he proved to be a handful for the Seagulls last season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - Super-sub Sigurdsson? In the current climate, it isn’t impossible. If Iwobi grabs hold of the No. 10 spot, there’s no obvious starting place for the Icelander — but his ability to play pretty much anywhere in the midfield, and even up top in a pinch, could make him a valuable weapon off the bench, as he was last week.
Last week’s victory took the immediate pressure off of Marco Silva, but it set the stage for what could turn out to be a pretty pivotal match. A victory for Everton here could signal a legitimate turnaround in Silva and the Toffees’ fortunes — a loss or draw would put them back at square one.