Richarlison scores another beauty
At this point of the season Everton supporters will take a goal any way they can get it. But it also doesn’t hurt if the goal is an absolute beauty like the one Richarlison scored in this match. What was even better was the awareness that the forward showed in scoring this goal, an awareness that can sometimes fail him.
Too many times we have seen Richarlison in a similar position in front of goal only to take a blind or rushed shot that sails wide. But in this case, the Brazilian was all class. A perfect pull back followed by a pin point shot to the far post put Everton in the lead for good.
Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin had their fair share of chances later on in the match, but this first half goal would end up being the only one of the day for Everton.
Duel of the goalkeepers
Jordan Pickford and especially Matt Ryan were on the top of their respective games in this match. Everton certainly could have had at least 2 more goals had it not been for the shot stopping abilities of Brighton’s goalkeeper.
Pickford was no slouch either in this match. While his shot stopping stats were not equal to that of his opponent, Pickford’s saves were equally as important. As Everton went more defensive in the latter stages of the match, it was Pickford that helped keep Everton’s lead intact. This is often the downside of throwing more defenders on the pitch. As Everton ceded possession, Brighton’s attack grew more dangerous. This lead to a nervy end to the match, but the result was still a win.
Responding to a poor performance
The best way for Everton to get on the other side of their shambolic FA Cup performance against Liverpool was to get a win. It may not have been a particularly dominant or good looking win, but Everton still got all three points in this match.
This team seems to be in a perpetual state of “taking the first step towards improving”. But with little to play for other than table position, it’s important to appreciate the little victories. While close victories like this can be frustrating to watch, they are also indicative of a team that is getting better at closing out tough games. Sometimes a match against Brighton or a lower table side is going to be more difficult than it has any business being. But that is the nature of this game.
Everton were hard done by the referees and VAR, but through a combination of determination and some luck they came away with the victory. It would be fair to say that this team earlier in the season would have likely surrendered another goal or two against Brighton. But in this match the didn’t do that and came away with an important win.