Everton vs Brighton was a wild clash at Goodison Park as the visitors won a five-goal thriller which had plenty of drama.
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Brighton surged into a 2-0 lead early on through Alexis Mac Allister and Dan Burn, then the returning Dominic Calvert-Lewin missed a penalty kick.
Anthony Gordon made it 2-1 but Mac Allister scored a beauty to make it 3-1, and even though Gordon scored his and Everton’s second to set up a tense finish, Brighton held on for a big win.
The Seagulls have 27 points on the season and are in the top 10, while Everton are in the bottom half and have 19 points as Rafael Benitez’s side were booed off by the home fans in each half.
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Everton vs Brighton final score, stats
Everton 2-3 Brighton
Goals scored: Mac Allister 3′, Burn 21′, Gordon 53′, Mac Allister 71′, Gordon 76′
Shots: Everton 17, Brighton 12
Shots on target: Everton 6, Brighton 5
Possession: Everton 49, Brighton 51
Three things we learned from Everton vs Brighton
1. Slick Brighton finally finish chances, but can still score more: They create so many chances in every single game and this was the first time this season that Brighton scored three in a game. Graham Potter’s side were so slick on the ball and even though they were a little lapse in defense, it seems like they’re playing with more freedom in attack now. This is how Brighton can kick on in the second half of the season and they even let Everton off the hook in the first half as they could have scored even more. Putting chances away consistently is the next step for Brighton.
2. Calvert-Lewin rusty, but will be huge for Toffees: He missed a penalty kick and missed a few chances but this was his first appearance since August and his hold-up play and movement will be key for Everton. They looked better in attack with DCL up top and Gordon supporting him and when Richarlison is back fit that gives Everton a totally different dimension. This was a tough loss but the main positive is that Calvert-Lewin is back fit.
3. Brighton the model for Everton: The Everton faithful booed their team off the pitch and the Toffees really don’t know what, or who, they are right now. Benitez is trying to make them into a tough team to beat but they’re coughing up too many goals and aren’t exactly dangerous on the counter or from set-piece situations. Benitez has been unlucky with injuries but with players coming back and easier games on the schedule to kick off 2022, he needs his team to regain their early season form and grasp of his tactics. Brighton have totally grasped Graham Potter’s tactics and the Seagulls are the model of how to slowly build a squad who are totally clued in to the style of their manager. Do Everton’s fans want the style of play that Benitez brings? If they win, they won’t care.
Man of the Match: Alexis Mac Allister – Scored two classy goals and made Brighton tick in attack.
Seagulls surge into lead
Brighton started well and the Seagulls had the lead early on. Joel Veltman crossed for Neal Maupay and he set up Mac Allister to slot home and stun Goodison.
Everton continued to be sloppy in possession and Brighton were dangerous on the break as Yves Bissouma ran the show in midfield and he had a shot which deflected over for a corner.
From that corner Dan Burn doubled Brighton’s lead as he was unmarked at the back post and headed home. Seconds later Everton were handed a lifeline as Enock Mwepu fouled Anthony Gordon in the box and after VAR asked the referee to check the pitch-side monitor, a penalty kick was awarded.
Huge chance wasted for Everton
However, the returning Calvert-Lewin sent the penalty kick over via a slight clip on the bar to sum up Everton’s first half.
Calvert-Lewin went close again before the break as he wanted a handball in the box as he couldn’t get on the end of a cross, while at the other end Adam Lallana was denied by Jordan Pickford and Maupay fired over.
Everton fight back
Burn blocked Calvert-Lewin’s shot heroically in the second half as Everton pushed hard to get back in the game.
Everton did get one back soon after as Gordon cut inside from the right and his deflected shot sent Robert Sanchez the wrong way to make it 2-1.
Allan went so close to equalizing as his powerful shot was saved superbly by Sanchez, then Brighton made it 3-1.
Brighton’s clash shows
A flowing move found Mac Allister on the edge of the box and his fine volley flew into the top corner to send the away fans wild.
However, Everton set up a nervous finish for Brighton as a cross from the right found Gordon and he finished low to make it 3-2 with over 15 minutes to go.
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Gordon almost scored his and Everton’s third but there was more heroic defending from Brighton to deny him as they held on for the win.