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Brighton 0–0 Everton: Three Thoughts | Toffees unconvincing, European dreams fading

Three thoughts from another hapless offensive showing 

Brighton and Hove Albion v Everton - Premier League
Without Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison was tasked with leading Everton’s attack against Brighton.
Photo by Tony McArdle - Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images

Quality Depth Lacking

Everton, though they have more than 11 senior players on the team, lack the adequate depth to cover for injuries. Even though he has suffered from scoring droughts this season, Dominic Calvert-Lewin remains vital to Everton’s ability to push the ball up the field and generate opportunities in the final third.

Blues Manager Carlo Ancelotti opted for an expansive version of the 5–3–2 against Brighton, deploying James Rodríguez and Richarlison as the two attacking options. The move to push James up the field and rely on direct play from Richarlison resulted in a total of one shot on target. Calvert-Lewin might not score every game, but he gives the Merseyside club an irreplaceable dimension up top.

In midfield, Mason Holgate and Tom Davies are decent enough players, but they fail to provide the control, dynamism and versatility Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré offer. The team has some depth, but the drop-off from the best XI to the backup players is incredible.

Europe is Looking Increasingly Unlikely

The Toffees haven’t competed in a European competition since the 2017/18 season, and it’s becoming increasingly unlikely they will be back next season. Everton have dropped four points against Crystal Palace and Brighton in their two previous games; had they earned six of six points, the Merseyside outfit would be level on points with Liverpool in sixth place with a game in hand. In their final seven matches of the season, the Blues face three teams — Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Manchester City — ahead in the table (Arsenal trail Ancelotti’s club by three points and are in good form).

Having had a game or two in hand for most of the season, Everton have bungled recent opportunities to capitalize on a favorable final ten games to the season. Draws are better than losses, but the Toffees are throwing away crucial points in the fight for European football.

Struggles Against the Bottom-Six

Here is the current bottom-six, ranked 15–20: Brighton & Hove Albion, Burnley, Newcastle, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United. Here is Everton’s record against the six clubs: 5–2–4. The Blues inexplicably have dropped games to Newcastle, Burnley and Fulham. And some of the wins have come unconvincingly; they narrowly defeated Fulham (3–2), Sheffield (1–0) and West Brom (1–0), relying on late goals and a bit of fortune.

For a team with the wages of Everton, dropping points to teams in the cellar of the league is unacceptable. Why is owner Farhad Moshiri pumping millions of pounds into the club if they can’t get a win against Burnley, the team with the fourth-smallest payroll in the league, per Spotrac? Why spend almost two and a half times more on transfers just to lose? Hapless defeats have become far too familiar for the Blues, who lose against the bottom-six almost as much as they win.