Brighton & Hove Albion held a lacklustre Everton to a goalless draw at the Amex Stadium on Monday evening, moving Graham Potter’s side a point closer to Premier League safety.
Visiting manager Carlo Ancelotti named a weakened side, opting to give some of his key players more time to shake off niggles ahead of Friday’s game against Arsenal, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Andre Gomes and Allan all left out. And the lack of that quality showed in a disjointed first-half performance from the Toffees that failed to yield a single attempt on target.
There wasn’t much in the way of attacking threat at the other end either, with a deflected Neal Maupay effort and a speculative (and spectacular) attempted overhead lob from Yves Bissouma the only efforts of note.
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Half-chances came in greater frequency after the break, with Brighton the better of the two sides for much of the second half, but a goal never came as the spoils were shared on the south coast.
The result leaves Everton in eighth, seven points outside the top four but with a game in hand over all of the teams around them. Brighton go above Burnley on goal difference into 15th, now seven points clear of the bottom three.
TALKING POINT – Can Everton still make top four?
This was not a good evening for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but given the number of big names missing it could be that the Italian will be grateful for a point.
The Everton manager’s comments before the game suggested that the likes of Gomes, Allan and Calvert-Lewin will all be available to face Arsenal on Friday evening, and a win there would move the Toffees four points off fourth and very much back into the mix for European qualification. They’ll need to be a lot better than they were tonight if they are to trouble the Gunners though.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Yves Bissouma (Brighton)
The Malian was the classiest operator in a congested midfield battle at the Amex, showing plenty of quality on the ball and the energy to unsettle Everton. When an injury to Yerry Mina forced a reshuffle for the visitors, it was Bissouma who took advantage, grabbing complete control of the centre of the park and launching countless attacks for the home side.
The 24-year-old is a very handy player, and it would be little surprise if Brighton have to stave off plenty of bids for him in the transfer window this summer.
Brighton: Sanchez 6; Veltman 7, Dunk 7, White 6, Moder 7; Bissouma 8, Lallana 7, Groß 7; Trossard 7, Maupay 6, Welbeck 5. Subs: Burn 6, Jahanbakhsh 6
Everton: Olsen 6; Coleman 7, Keane 6, Mina 7, Holgate 7, Godfrey 6; Rodriguez 6, Sigurdsson 7, Davies 6, Digne 7; Richarlison 6. Subs: Iwobi 5, Broadhead 6
31’ – Now that’s a chance! Maupay has time to get a shot away inside the area, and only a touch off the diving Mina prevents it from nestling in the bottom corner. Brighton have to settle for a corner.
34’ – Woah, that would have been quite the goal. A skewed clearance is picked up by Bissouma, who attempts an audacious overhead lob from a narrow angle that lands on the roof of the net. Fair play to him for trying it, superb skill.
76’ – Maupay has time to get a shot away inside the box, but he can’t turn his attempt on target. That was probably Brighton’s best opportunity of the game so far and he should have done better.
84’ – Everton somehow survive a goalmouth scramble, with no Brighton player able to get a definitive touch.
90’ – It opens up for the otherwise anonymous Iwobi to snatch the winner from the edge of the box, but he fails to hit the target when given time and space to line up his effort. That should have been the goal.
- This was Everton’s first goalless draw of the season.
- Brighton have now kept five clean sheets in their eight home games since the turn of the year, the best home defensive record in that time in the Premier League.
- Brighton are still yet to win a Monday night game in the Premier League, drawing seven and losing three of their 10 MNF fixtures.
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