Match Report Everton produced an excellent away performance to extend their unbeaten start under Rafael Benitez to four games in all competitions as they comfortably beat Brighton at the Amex Stadium. Demarai Gray notched his second goal for the Blues and Dominic Calvert-Lewin made it three in three Premier League matches before he was forced off with injury while Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré turned in powerhouse displays in midfield to dominate the contest. With neither Yerry Mina nor Ben Godfrey included in the matchday squad, Evertonian concerns were centred on defence and it looked as though Brighton, who came into the game with a 100% record from their first two League games and made the early running today, were going to cause the back line plenty of problems. Neil Maupay fired a dipping shot just over from distance in the 12th minute and Alexis Mac Allister saw a shot of his own deflected over by Michael Keane but the visitors visibly grew into the game as the first half progressed and Andros Townsend was the first to test Robert Sanchez with a low drive that the keeper did very well to turn behind. Richarlison smashed a half-volley into the stands as Everton began to assert themselves further but they broke the deadlock five minutes before the break thanks to a fine, direct move instigated by Allan. The Brazilian picked out Gray's run with an excellent pass and the winger drove past Adam Bennett before drilling the ball across the goalkeeper and into the far corner to make it 1-0. Calvert-Lewin then collected Allan's smart back-heel as the Toffees looked to double their lead before half-time but his shot flashed across goal and wide of the far post. Brighton began the second period with purpose and when substitute Joel Veltman crossed low for Leandro Trossard, his shot was stopped by Keane but when Doucouré was adjudged to have committed a foul just outside the box, it have Pascal Gross the chance to repeat the feat he achieved in this fixture two years ago with a direct free-kick. Jordan Pickford was equal to it this time, however, the England man making a terrific stop as the shot flew through a gap in the defensive wall before Veltman blazed over from 20-odd yards. A minute later, though, Everton were handed a chance to make it 2-0 when Allan threaded a perfectly-weighted ball inside the full-back for Seamus Coleman and Veltman sent the Irishman sprawling in the box. Referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot and Video Assistant Referee Simon Hooper backed up his decision but Richarlison caused unnecessary stress for Calvert-Lewin by grabbing the ball and insisting on taking the penalty. Coleman and Townsend eventually pulled rank and insisted that the designated penalty-taker get the ball and Calvert-Lewin stepped up to confidently power the ball under Sanchez's dive to put the Blues into a strong position. Pickford beat away an effort from Trossard as the hosts tried to get back into the game straight away and the Belgian had a free-kick deflected behind but it was Everton who looked the more likely to add to the scoring in the closing stages, even after Calvert-Lewin had to come off with what looked to be a thigh strain. Richarlison lashed wide from the angle, Doucouré forced a save from Sanchez on the counter-attack and Alex Iwobi also had a late shot blocked as Benitez's men saw the game out with laudable composure. The win keeps Everton among the early front-runners in the Premier League and represents a great start to Benitez's tenure. Lyndon Lloyd top Matchday Updates Everton pulled off a very fine win on the south coast to end Brighton & Hove Albion's tremendous start to the season, with another fine goal from Gray and a powerful penalty from Calvert-Lewin. Up against a Brighton side who have made a 100% start to 2021-22 under manager Graham Potter, Rafael Benitez goes back to almost his select first XI. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison start after both were rested for the midweek cup game while Moise Kean begins his suspension as his transfer to Juventus is imminent. In midfield, Jean-Philippe Gbamin is not on the bench as Abdoulaye Doucouré and Allan return. Alex Iwobi is benched in favour of Andros Townsend. Delph missed the cup tie with a shoulder problem and isn't available this weekend.At the back, no Yerry Mina or Ben Godfrey but Seamus Coleman, Lucas Digne and Jordan Pickford return. But only 8 subs with both back-up goalkeepers Begovic and Lonergan named, in good Ancelotti fashion!Benitez expressed his satisfaction with Jarrad Branthwaite's and Jonjoe Kenny's contributions on Tuesday but both are on the bench today along with Anthony Gordon and Niels Nkounkou but no sign of James Rodriguez, who is not involved as he looks to secure a transfer away from Everton.Everton kicked off in their snazzy Black Watch kit but Trossard felt Digne clip his ankle and he wanted treatment. Richarlison was clattered early on, winning a free-kick as Everton looked to control the tempo but Digne gave the ball away. Trossard collapsed again after Keane's clearance caught him in the face. Everton tried to play out from the back, failed; Pickford played it long, to the opposition, and they proceeded to build an attack. As Brighton backed up, Everton went as a rat-pack for the high press, got beaten, and ended up conceding a corner that was successfully cleared. There followed a decent spell of Everton pressure without creating anything but Gray went down and needed attention. Brighton went up the other end and Maupay belted one from long range, a foot over Pickford's bar. Everton continued to test Brighton's wide players, generally coming off second best. But a brilliant release got Gray free, although Townsend messed up the cutback and Brighton scampered up the other end with great mobility, Keane deflecting Maupay's shot high over the goal for another corner that Duffy put behind. From a throw-in, Maupay got the ball centrally and danced around, trying but failing to make space for a killer shot, but was well shepherded by the Everton defence. Coleman crossed in but it was poor; 20 minutes and Calvert-Lewin had not yet had a touch as Everton won their first corner, coming off Bissouma's arm. After much farting around, it was ballooned by Digne over everyone, to the keeper at the far post. Bissouma was next to collapse off the ball. The pattern of the game was a little stop-start.Much better movement from Everton saw Townsend advance and force a good save at the near post with a testing shot, and another corner that Digne delivered straight to Sanchez. Doucouré was then gifted a ball that he was determined to try and score with... but failed when he perhaps should have passed instead.A fantastic touch from Richarlsion surely had created a goal chance but Coleman (who VAR would have ruled offside) could not deliver it properly across to Calvert-Lewin, then Richarlison got hold of it but wellied his shot high over the Brighton bar. The Everton build-up was again somewhat laboured, the cross never reaching Calvert-Lewin. The teams continued to neutralize each other without any real chances created. Brighton produced their best spell in attack but Everton kept them at bay and then tried to almost make a counter-attack. Then a lovely pass into the path of Gray was timed perfectly by Allan, a great run and a very fine strike as he was being pushed wide.... an absolutely excellent goal from Damarai Gray.Some great possession play finally brought the ball around for Calvert-Lewin to shoot from the right but it was well off target. Gray forced a corner off the next attack, into added time. This one was a little better but came to nothing. Everton had done extremely well to contain the enthusiasm of The Seagulls, and hit back with a fine goal. Now... could they build on this in the second half? Brighton restarted after making a change and pondered how to break through the Everton lines but could not up the tempo. Bissouma got upset with Richarlison over nothing. Brighton finally got some forward pace, but could not finish; however, Jon Moss called Doucouré for a foul and the dangerous free-kick was driven through the Everton wall with a slight deflection that Pickford thwarted with his body. The danger was cleared temporarily until Maupay fired well over. Some nice Everton passing ended with Veltmann and Coleman colliding, Coleman if anything leaning into the defender. Jon Moss was fooled and gave Everton a penalty that VAR did not overturn. Richarlison demanded the ball with Calvert-Lewin insisting it should be him; Coleman finally stepped in, and Richarlison was just being a total arse. Calvert-Lewin hammered it in, just like last week – same short run-up, same side, same great power and accuracy. 2-0 for Everton. Brighton tried to respond, but Trossard's shot was well covered by Pickford. Bissouma fouled Townsend cynically and saw a yellow card from Jon Moss as the home side needed to retain their increasingly ragged composure. And indeed it was Richarlison next who saw yellow for perhaps a push on Bissouma. Richarlison almost embarrassed Sanchez. Then, Keane hardly touched the ball but Moss gave Brighton the free-kick. Trossard's attempt was deflected wide for a Brighton corner. That was cleared for Gray to make another nice run but his shot was blocked. Calvert-Lewin went down and wanted to be subbed, Iwobi on in his place. Some great interplay from Gray, Iwobi amd Richarlison was only thwarted by a fine blocking tackle on Gray. Iwobi was set up on the counter and played in Richarlison but the defender Dunk made it too hard for him to convert. Everton broke through again, Doucouré this time getting the chance to score but he was denied by Sanchez and Brighton attacked again, Trossard testing Pickford. The game was end to end with Brigton trying everything in their playbook to find a chink in the so-far resolute Everton armour. Gray was withdrawn for Gomes; hopefully he would not commit any of those stupid fouls in the danger zone... Brighton were not going to give up and kept pushing Everton's defence back, but with no real effect. Iwobi was next to be released for a run and shot but it was blocked behind for a corner. Gomes hit a really powerful shot at Sanchez. And back up the Everton end went Brighton, until they gave the ball to Pickford, with 5 minutes left on the clock.Iwobi again overlapped well and got behind the Brighton defence. Richarlison's arm was clearly held by Trossard but it wasn't enough to force him to the ground and no penalty was given. Maupay tried the same thing at the other end but he had run into Digne. Everton did not let up, even into the final minutes of a very well managed and executed gameplan and a fantastic victory on the road. Scorers: Gray (41'), Calvert-Lewin (pen:58')Everton: Pickford [Y:83'], Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Digne, Allan, Doucouré, Townsend, Gray (81' Gomes), Richarlison [Y:62'], Calvert-Lewin (70' Iwobi).Subs not Used: Begovic, Lonergan, Kenny, Nkounkou, Gordon, Branthwaite. Brighton & Hove Albion: Sánchez; Dunk, Duffy, Webster; March (73' Richards), Bissouma, Lallana (59' Welbeck), Gross; MacAllister (46' Veltman), Trossard; Maupay.Subs not Used: Connolly, Mwepu, Alzate, Zeqiri, Steele, Roberts.Referee: Jonathan MossVAR: Simon HooperAttendance: TBD Michael Kenrick top Match Preview Everton complete a three-match sequence of away games this weekend when they travel to the south coast to face Brighton & Hove Albion looking to extend their unbeaten start to the campaign. Tuesday's victory over Huddersfield Town in the Carabao Cup came in the wake of a 2-2 draw at Leeds United and the draw for the third round of the EFL Cup that pitted the Blues against QPR away means that between now and mid-October, Everton will only play two matches at Goodison Park. That presents a challenge for Rafael Benitez and his men but also opportunities to keep picking up positive points to keep them among the front-runners in the Premier League and advancing in the cup. This weekend, they come up against a Brighton side who have made a 100% start to 2021-22 under manager Graham Potter, having come from behind to win at Burnley and then beaten newly-promoted Watford 2-0 before seeing off Cardiff City by the same score in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday. As a result, according to odds from Sports Betting Dime, Everton will enter Saturday's game as 21/10 underdogs. The Seagulls struggled last season due to their inability to put the ball in the net but striker Neil Maupay already has a couple of goals to his name and he is expected to return to Brighton's team along with Danny Welbeck after sitting out the trip to South Wales. With three draws and a gutting defeat in 2018-19, the American Express Community Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for the Blues since. Brighton gained promotion from the Championship four seasons ago. Last season under Carlo Ancelotti, the Toffees turned in an insipid display in a goalless draw and Benitez will be hoping to improve on both the performance and the result having got the gears moving in his attacking unit. And he is expected to welcome Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison back after both were rested for the cup game while Moise Kean begins his suspension. Calvert-Lewin has been struggling with a toe problem and is likely to play through the discomfort again this weekend. In midfield, Jean-Philippe Gbamin should be in the squad again after making only his second start for Everton in over two years and completing the 90 minutes on Tuesday. With Abdoulaye Doucouré and Allan expected to return, the Ivorian is unlikely to start but he will have been buoyed by what was a massive step forward for him personally in terms fitness and psyche after so many false starts to life in England. Alex Iwobi, who hobbled through the last few minutes at Huddersfield with an obvious groin injury, is surely a major doubt and that should open up another chance to impress for Andros Townsend following his goalscoring contribution last time out. During his presser, Benitez revealed that Fabian Delph missed the cup tie with a shoulder problem and won't be available this weekend. At the back, Yerry Mina is an obvious candidate to return to the starting XI along with Seamus Coleman, Lucas Digne and Jordan Pickford but most Evertonian eyes will be on Ben Godfrey and whether he will finally play for the first time this season. The young defender came out of isolation from possible Covid-19 exposure on Monday and travelled to Yorkshire on Tuesday but was not included in the matchday squad. Benitez expressed his satisfaction with Jarrad Branthwaite's and Jonjoe Kenny's contributions on Tuesday but neither are likely to start. The biggest question, however, will surround James Rodriguez. The Colombian also resumed training with the first team this week after a spell in quarantine himself but, with uncertainty around his future with the club swirling as the transfer deadline approaches, it's not clear if he will feature for Everton on Saturday and Benitez did not give any hints as to whether he would be involved, except to deflect transfer talk around the Colombian. Brighton may have started the campaign in flying fashion but Benitez will fancy his side to go the south coast and get a decent result based on how well his charges have done so far in his fledgeling tenure. Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday 28 August 2021Referee: Jonathan MossVAR: Simon HooperLast Time: Brighton 0 - 0 Everton Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne, Allan, Doucouré, Townsend, Gray, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin Lyndon Lloyd top * Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.