Rested against Burnley, Richarlison is expected to be recalled to face Brighton against whom he scored twice at Goodison last month
Everton look to close out 2018 on another positive note when they make their longest journey of the Premier League season with a visit to Brighton.
Marco Silva will be hoping his team can build on the Boxing Day destruction of Burnley at Turf Moor by recording their third away win of the season and completing the league double over the Seagulls for the season following the 3-1 home win in early November.
It would go another step towards easing the sting of the 6-2 reverse at home to Tottenham last Sunday and set the Blues up for their return to Goodison Park in the New Year where they will entertain Leicester City, arguably their main rivals for that “best of the rest” spot behind the top six.
The success of the three-man central defensive unit that lined up against the Clarets suggests that Silva could opt to retain it but the formation poses something of a dilemma now that Idrissa Gueye is fit again after failing to make the last three starting sides because of a groin injury.
Then there is high likelihood that Richarlison will return to the team after being rested for three quarters of the game against Burnley. Assuming Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who received praise for his display on Wednesday, keeps his place up front, that would mean one of Bernard or Theo Walcott making way.
Gueye's presence, meanwhile, points to the sacrifice of the other winger unless Gylfi Sigurdsson is given a rest from the succession of games thrown up by a congested festive programme or Richarlison is deployed as the central striker, allowing Calvert-Lewin a breather after successive starts in the space of four days.
Since their defeat on Merseyside eight weeks ago, Brighton have picked up wins over Huddersfield and Crystal Palace but were on a three-game losing run until they held Arsenal to a 1-1 draw at home in impressive fashion on Boxing Day.
Since losing to Spurs on 22nd September, Chris Hughton's side have lost just once, to Chelsea, which underlines how difficult a place to go the Amex Stadium has become this season.
Everton's game is geared towards playing on the counter-attack away from home, however, and if they can avoid the kind of vulnerability defending set-pieces that they showed in the reverse fixture against Brighton and again at Burnley last time out, Silva will be confident that his side has the goods in an attacking sense to grab a win.
Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday, 29 December, 2018
Referee: Andy Madley
Last Time: Brighton 1 - 1 Everton
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Mina, Digne, Gueye, Gomes, Bernard, Walcott, Richarlison
Reader Comments (33)
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1 Posted 29/12/2018 at 00:14:29
Then there is the question of: Does he persist with three at the back? While not being an advocate of that system, I do however think that, against Brighton, it may work... Good selection headaches for the Manager, let's just hope he opts for the best one.
While I appreciate at home Brighton will be more formidable than Burnley, I still believe we have the team to get a win there, which with another three points should put us on 30 at the mid-way stage.
Leicester at home next will not be easy either as they seem to have hit a good spell of late and taken two notable scalps in Chelsea and Man City, so hopefully we can mount a run of our own and put some space between us and the teams just below us.
2 Posted 29/12/2018 at 00:17:01
Hopefully, Digne, makes the game and Id start the same team, as v Burnley.
Charlie, perhaps may nudge it in front of Theo, based on rest time and his goal, at a Turf Moor.
Hopefully the whole squad, is galvanised for the second half of this season. Starting with a positive send off for 2018, in Brighton, tomorrow.
3 Posted 29/12/2018 at 00:42:55
I think Richarlison struggles up front alone and rarely wins a header, Calvert-Lewin has done admirably well with his hold-up and link-up play. Bernard had his best game yet so it would be cruel to drop him.
Our away form has been dreadful for so long and to pick up 2 wins on the bounce would be an amazing turnaround. It will be tough; I really hope we can do it and build some confidence and momentum.
4 Posted 29/12/2018 at 02:11:58
Anyway, sorry for going off tangent. Focusing on Brighton, I think this match will be a lot harder than we think. They're not a bad team. A draw, rather than a win for us, may be on the cards.
5 Posted 29/12/2018 at 06:27:34
6 Posted 29/12/2018 at 07:01:01
I suspect the expected formation is correct simply because centre backs can play twice in four days more easily than midfielders, who have to cover more ground, and it will suit us to let them come on to our three however an alternative is to put Gana and Davies in and attempt to outrun them from the start, the footballing equivalent of ‘going to the body from the early rounds.
This time of year its a squad game and we might expect to see a cameo from Jags from the bench if Silva does employ a threesome.
In any event, I expect to see Calvert-Lewin continue up front regardless of whether Richarlison returns, which I suspect he wont immediately unless Bernard replaces Sigurdsson who may be in need of a rest.
Interesting to see how the manager acquits himself at this time of the season when his calls count double.
7 Posted 29/12/2018 at 07:58:09
Talk about absence making the heart grow fonder.
I think we can abandon all hope of him becoming a silky smooth footballer, he hasn't been, he isn't and he wont be. but he is an absolute must for us at this period in our development
Like most on here I was deeply embarrassed by the ease with which Spurs played through us and yes, I think they would probably have beaten us even if he was there, but there is no way on this earth, they would have done it in the same manner.
His game is a simple one. He stops the opposition. His lateral movement is as good as anybody's. We don't always know where the ball will end up when he intercepts intended passes, but we do know he stops the ball reaching its intended destination . .its like playing with a "beware of the dog" sign. He may not frighten them, but he will make them think twice. The Spurs players would not have taken so many liberties if they knew the dog would keep putting his teeth through their killer passes.
Of course I would want a more talented DM, but those in existence are already in captivity, until we can discover out own, a fit Idrissa Gueye (Mike G will love this) IMO has to play
8 Posted 29/12/2018 at 07:58:17
9 Posted 29/12/2018 at 08:19:42
For those wishing to watch today's game, I have checked and there are very few companies covering the match. The ones I have found up to now are Bein 1 HD (Arabic) Skynet Sports 5, and NBC Gold, that is through IPTV, there may be some streams but will know nearer kick-off.
10 Posted 29/12/2018 at 08:20:20
You're right, finally, about Gueye.
Some of us, two Americans for starters I'd point out with Mike G and I on the same page with the African's ability and worth, have been saying this for months.
Now I have to go to bed. It's 3:20 a.m. and I have to be up in 6 or so hours to watch the game from my throne in Florida. ;0)
11 Posted 29/12/2018 at 08:37:50
12 Posted 29/12/2018 at 08:52:19
13 Posted 29/12/2018 at 08:54:49
Especially as I live just 20 miles from Brighton so Im surrounded by the bastards!
Redshites that is - I know more Liverpool fans than Brighton!
14 Posted 29/12/2018 at 08:56:07
If Burnley retain Joe Hart in goal, they will go down, so I don't read that much into our win over them.
15 Posted 29/12/2018 at 09:01:35
Absolutely on same page as Darren regarding Gana as he is very frustrating but he is currently needed.
We should go into this game with bags of confidence, 3 points for me.
16 Posted 29/12/2018 at 09:06:44
Hughton has done wonders with a small budget and they have dangerous players, they also play in a style that sticks to a plan, notably really strong on set pieces, Dunk and Duffy and Murray a big threat.
Going forward we must keep the ball the ground and do what we did against them at Goodison as their centre halves arent the most mobile.
If we get involved in a physical battle thats when things will get messy and start going wrong.
17 Posted 29/12/2018 at 09:24:55
18 Posted 29/12/2018 at 09:28:46
Brighton away is a tough fixture though (Spurs aside) we have tended to do better this season against teams that come at us which they will presumably do at home. DCL should start though must get balls to feet as good as he is in the air he will struggle against the monolithic Duffy and Dunk.
19 Posted 29/12/2018 at 10:27:16
20 Posted 29/12/2018 at 10:29:44
21 Posted 29/12/2018 at 11:03:11
If we get a pen I would like to see Digne take it. Siggi may have scored against Burnley but didn't look very confident IMO
22 Posted 29/12/2018 at 11:25:05
23 Posted 29/12/2018 at 11:27:11
So for me this is an important barometer into how we are progressing, a draw or defeat will show that yes managers and players have changed over the past 12 months, but we are still an average middle of the league side. But victory would give the team and supporters belief that we can challenge for a top 6 spot next season. Whatever you call it belief or confidence, these are massively game changing when you have it. You only have to look at the other on lot average they usually compete for 4th place. But last season their Champions league campaign which included beating City home and away, and then getting to the final, gave them massive belief for this season.
Now I am not saying beat Brighton away and we will be challenging for a top 4 spot next year, but successive away wins would start the belief process. Because if we hope to challenge for a top 6 or 4th spot we have to know that we can go away and expect to win not just hope for a win. Yes we still have to overcome winning away against the top 6 sides, but this would be a starting point. It has taken Spurs a few seasons to become regular contenders for a top 4 place, but they now have the belief /confidence that thats where they belong. So start to build the blocks for us to acheive that with a win today.
24 Posted 29/12/2018 at 11:29:28
25 Posted 29/12/2018 at 11:44:51
26 Posted 29/12/2018 at 11:45:11
Sportsnet ( Canada) usually has our games too, so hopefully will get it somewhere.
27 Posted 29/12/2018 at 12:16:07
28 Posted 29/12/2018 at 12:58:15
29 Posted 29/12/2018 at 13:11:46
If we have any inspirations of a top half finish let alone top 6-7 then the likes of Brighton are the teams we need to be beating, either nicely or drawn out.
Difficult to predict a starting line up after the Burnley game. I might have been tempted to play 4 at the back and give Sigi a breather.
The next month will be pivotal for us to get points on the board and more importantly confidence and belief for the final third of the season.
30 Posted 29/12/2018 at 13:48:01
him with Mina 9/1 for a double.
31 Posted 29/12/2018 at 13:48:12
We could lose today and then beat the next eight teams, or we could win and then get trounced by Leicester. There are no guarantees in the Premier, I just support Everton and hope and pray for the best. All the best for the New year to all Everton fans.
32 Posted 29/12/2018 at 13:59:24
Looking forwards to todays match. I would be tempted to give siggy a rest and see what Bernard offers more centrally
33 Posted 29/12/2018 at 14:21:00
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