Brighton & Hove Albion will be aiming to continue their winning start to the season when they play hosts to Everton at the Amex Stadium this weekend.
Two teams that are still unbeaten in the 2021/22 campaign in all competitions square off against each other on Saturday at the Amex Stadium when Brighton & Hove Albion welcome Everton on Matchday 3 of the 2021/22 Premier League.
It has been a stunning start to the season for Graham Potter’s Brighton, who are among the joint-toppers of the league currently with six points in two games, having first beaten Burnley 2-1 on the opening day before getting a 2-0 win over Watford last week. They backed it up with another 2-0 win over Cardiff City in the Carabao Cup in midweek to extend their winning start to the season.
However, they will be up against an Everton team who are also in a good moment, having not lost any of their three games in the new term so far. Following their comeback win over Watford on the opening day, the Toffees were held to a 2-2 draw by Leeds United last weekend. But, they bounced back with a 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town in the midweek cup clash, as Rafael Benitez looks to endear himself to the fans.
The corresponding fixture last season, played in April earlier this year, had ended in a goalless draw. However, the form that both Brighton and Everton are in, that is unlikely to be the case on Saturday afternoon. The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton have several injury concerns heading into the game as Joel Veltman, Tariq Lamptey, Dan Burn and Kjell Scherpen all remain out with injuries. There are some positives though as Enock Mwepu and Danny Welbeck are closing in on a return and could play some part on Saturday. The biggest boost, though, is star striker Neal Maupay is fit and available after an injury scare earlier in the week.
Having fielded a completely changed team in a different formation in midweek for the cup game, Brighton boss Graham Potter is expected to revert to a 3-4-2-1 setup when Everton come visiting, with all the regulars set to return to the lineup. Robert Sanchez will line up in goal, hoping to keep the likes of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin out.
Adam Webster, Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy ought to form the three-man defensive unit. Webster, in particular, has been impressive in the new season, seamlessly replacing the departed Ben White, catching the eye with his ball-playing abilities. Pascal Gross and Solly March ought to be the two wing-backs on the right and left sides, hoping to create chances for the forwards from the wide areas.
In midfield, Yves Bissouma, who continues to be linked with the biggest of the Premier League clubs, will once again be key with his ability to regain possession and make driving runs forward. He will have Adam Lallana as his partner, who will also be encouraged to push forward and add numbers in attack when Brighton are in possession.
Leander Dendoncker and Alexis Mac Allister ought to line up as the two attacking midfielders, who will look to support and provide service to central striker Maupay, while also adding a goal threat by themselves.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Sanchez; Webster, Duffy, Dunk; Gross, Bissouma, Lallana, March; Mac Allister, Trossard; Maupay
Fabian Delph remains out with injury while Moise Kean misses out due to suspension for Everton whereas James Rodriguez is unlikely to be available either, as he works to sort out his future. Alex Iwobi also remains a doubt due to a niggle he picked up in midweek, but Ben Godfrey could be closing in on a return having recovered from coronavirus.
Like his Brighton counterpart, Rafa Benitez also tinkered with formation and personnel in midweek for the cup tie but is expected to set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against the Seagulls on Saturday, with England international Jordan Pickford lining up between the sticks.
Seamus Coleman ought to get the nod at right-back, but will need to be wary of the lively Solly March on his flank. Michael Keane and Yerry Mina should form the centre-back partnership while Lucas Digne slots in at left-back from where he will look to provide a constant outlet going forward for the Toffees.
Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure will form a solid partnership in the middle of the park for the visitors, although the latter will not be shy of making late forward runs into the box in order to get himself into good goalscoring positions. Given the lack of a proper No. 10, Benitez has had to deploy new signing Demarai Gray in the role and could do so again, after a couple of positive displays.
With Iwobi a doubt, Andros Townsend, who scored in the cup win in midweek, should get the nod on the right flank while Richarlison is a certain starter on the left. Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be the man spearheading the Everton attack against Brighton.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Doucoure, Allan; Townsend, Gray, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin
- Everton are winless in their last four away games against Brighton across all competitions.
- The home team has never lost a game in the eight Premier League meetings between Brighton and Everton, with the Seagulls winning and drawing two each at the Amex to date.
- Everton have shipped in seven goals in their last two away Premier League games, as many as they had in their previous 12 on the road in the competition.
- Brighton have won three of their last four Premier League games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 14 in the competition (W3 D5 L6).
- Only Liverpool (17) and West Ham (16) have had more shots on target than Everton (14) in the opening two Premier League games so far this season.
Player to Watch
The 25-year-old French centre-forward has started the new season on fire, banging in two goals in two games so far for Brighton, playing a key role in their fine form. During Graham Potter’s tenure at the club, the lack of a reliable goalscorer has been an issue for the Seagulls, especially last season, when they created chances but failed to apply the finishing touches.
But if Maupay is able to keep up this kind of form for large chunks of the season, Brighton are bound to have an interesting campaign. As for Saturday’s fixture, while Potter & co. will certainly be looking at how the striker performs, the opposition dugout will also be keeping a keen eye on him, as Everton have shown an interest in signing him before the transfer window slams shut.
Brighton 2-1 Everton
As iterated earlier, both Brighton and Everton are in a good moment currently and will be gunning to extend their unbeaten start to the new season. However, the Seagulls might have a slight edge over their opposition, having not let in a goal in each of their last two matches in all competitions while Neal Maupay has looked in fine fettle.
Furthermore, Everton blew a lead twice in their draw against Leeds and Brighton have the attacking capabilities to capitalise on any defensive errors made by the Toffees. As a result, The Hard Tackle is leaning towards a narrow win for the home team this weekend, extending their 100% record in the 2021/22 term.