57 min It looks like yet another injury for Everton: Yerry Mina is down with a muscle problem, and Alex Iwobi is getting ready to replace him.
55 min Terrific defending from Godfrey, who charges back to stop Welbeck reaching Maupay’s clever reverse pass.
49 min Brighton are dominating possession at the start of the second half, as they did for much of the first. Lallana plays a sharp pass into Maupay, who turns smartly on the edge of the area and flicks a shot with the outside of the foot that deflects behind for a corner.
“Evening Rob,” says Graham Moger. “Reading Matt Dony’s understandably sympathetic email, he obviously isn’t aware (unlike those of us that are part of the MBM cognoscenti), that you are in fact sharing the ‘minute by minute’ writing tasks with the so-called Mary Waltz. Correct? I claim my five pounds.”
I thought Mary Waltz was Gary Naylor. And what letter comes after G? Exactly.
“I can’t see it happening,” says Geoff Wignall, “but Brighton and Aguerro look like such a perfect fit.”
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but is his link play good enough? Maupay is a very neat footballer. Depends on the system I suppose.
“Nice to see MBM regulars standing up for our zero (social) hours MBMers,” says Ian Copestake. “Scott Murray was no sooner finished whispering about dimple lengths at Augusta all weekend than he was dragged in to watch West Brom.”
As I said, it doesn’t bode well to speak openly about such things. It’s important thy know I didn’t speak. That’s right, isn’t it, DI Copestake? I didn’t. Talk.
Half time: Brighton 0-0 Everton
Peep peep! No goals and no clear chances, though the match was better than that bald summary suggests. It’s been a typical Brighton home performance to date – plenty of style, not enough substance.
44 min “Speaking of looking at the Everton bench, who is Broadhead?” says Peter Oh. “This league ain’t big enough for two Harry Maguires!”
43 min Bissouma makes a terrific blindside tackle on Sigurdsson, who was about to shoot from the edge of the area after running onto a return pass from Coleman.
41 min Bissouma plays a good angled ball to find Lallana in a bit of space, 30 yards from goal. He tries to feed Maupay in the area, but the pass is slightly behind him and the ball runs through to Olsen.
39 min “Having seen the Everton bench, I’m going to have the phone switched on and at hand come Thursday in case Carlo needs me for Friday’s match,” says Gary Naylor. “Big Duncan is already 6/4 for anytime goalscorer.”
38 min Maupay drags a clever little pass round the corner towards Lallana, but his shot from the edge of the area is easily saved by Olsen.
37 min “Rob,” says Matt Dony. “We’re all friends here. Are you ok? Blink twice if you need rescuing. The last week or so, it feels like every time I’ve opened the Guardian app, you’ve been at the helm of the good(!) ship MBM. Are they treating you ok? Do you get enough sunlight? Do you want me to write a charity single, to raise awareness of your plight?”
It doesn’t bode well to speak openly about such things.
34 min That’s a much better effort from Bissouma, an improvised overhead kick from the left side of the area that loops onto the roof of the net. Olsen slipped, so had it been on target it would probably have gone in.
31 min Trossard’s cross deflects invitingly for Maupay, whose shot on the turn hits the falling Mina and flies past the far post. At first I thought it might have hit his arm, but there were no appeals for a penalty and replays suggested it was probably off his chest.
30 min Richarlison plays a good ball to release Coleman down the right. He scurries into space and lifts a cross towards Davies, who heads well wide from 12 yards. It wasn’t a convincing header, though it was a pretty difficult chance on the run.
21 min So far it’s been a typical Brighton performance: lots of classy, confident passing and movement, but not enough penetration.
18 min Sanchez miscontrols a backpass from Dunk and has to make a desperate tackle on Richarlison, who was sniffing a freebie. Sanchez may have injured himself in the process.
18 min Moments later Moder runs onto a headed clearance, 20 yards out, and cracks a good volley that goes not far wide of the near post.
17 min Lallana beats two players on the edge of the box and lifts the ball across to find Welbeck in space on the far side of the area. He has time to take the ball down and ask it its family history, but instead goes for a difficult first-time shot, with the ball bouncing awkwardly, and makes a mess of it.
14 min Coleman is flattened by Moder 22 yards from goal. The free-kick is to the right of centre, a very good position for James Rodriguez…
12 min Sigurdsson finds Digne on the left. He dummies Gross and clips a good, deep cross that is headed away at the far post.
9 min Moder runs onto a crisp lay-off from Maupay, moves infield and drives well wide from 25 yards. It was nice football though.
7 min Brighton have started perkily, as they usually do. I’ve just realised that their shape is slightly different, too, more of a 3-4-3 than a 3-4-1-2. I can’t take all this tactical sophistication. This was never a problem when John Beck was at Cambridge.
Brighton (3-4-3) Sanchez; White, Dunk, Veltman; Gross, Lallana, Bissouma, Moder; Trossard, Maupay, Welbeck.
4 min Gross drops the second corner right under the crossbar, and Olsen punches away a little unconvincingly. He was under a lot of pressure, in his defence, and replays show he was clattered by his team-mate Mina. There’s a break in play while he is checked by the physio. He seems okay, though he’s rubbing the side of his head every few seconds.
3 min Gross’s corner is headed behind for another by Keane. While we wait for that, this is the revised Everton set up. Yes, I know it looks pretentious, with five different sections, but
that’s how they’re lining up. I swear, by the moon and the stars and the sky.
just wait until I add the keeper in a 1-3-1-4-1-1
Everton (3-1-4-1-1) Olsen; Godfrey, Mina, Keane; Holgate; Coleman, Davies, Sigurdsson, Digne; James; Richarlison.
2 min Lallana has an early crack from just outside the area. His shot hits Keane and deflects behind for a corner.
1 min Everton have started with Mason Holgate in midfield in a 3-5-1-1 system. In fact he has just fouled Bissouma after 26 seconds.
“The bright start by the Toffees allowed Everton fans, myself included, to drop our traditional pessimism and actually hope for something better than mid table mediocrity,” says Mary Waltz. “Well it’s time to step up and produce. We have enough talent to finish fourth or fifth. If we don’t it would be a huge failure.”
It looks like Everton will play 3-4-2-1, but we’re not sure who will be the second central midfielder alongside Tom Davies. It’ll be one of Ben Godfrey, Lucas Digne and Mason Holgate.
“Hi Rob,” says Matt Burtz. “It’s difficult to figure out this Everton team. You noted their poor run at home, but away from Goodison they’ve defeated Tottenham, Leicester, Wolves, Leeds and Liverpool, and got a creditable draw at Manchester United. Their midfield is decimated by injury, they’ve overperformed their xG this entire season, and they haven’t won at Brighton since April 1983 (okay, they weren’t in the same league for most of that, but still). However, recent away trips have fallen into the ‘they’ll never win this game’ category and they rightly earned all three points (Wolves, Leeds, and Liverpool specifically). So I’m somewhat optimistic today even as they battle this season’s xG kings. Something’s gotta give, right?”
On that, subject, how much should we trust xG? I’ve already seen three different xG scores for Spurs v Man Utd yesterday, and I wasn’t looking particularly hard. The fact Liverpool didn’t win the xG Premier League last season is a pretty big red flag. But against that, it’s a good way of quantifying travesties like Brighton 1-2 Crystal Palace.
West Brom have hammered Southampton 3-0 to continue their recent improvement. There’s still a lot to do – they’re eight points off safety – but suddenly a Big Sam miracle doesn’t look impossible. If he pulls it off, we’ll all be getting the pints of wine in.
Graham Potter has picked the same Brighton side that played well in defeat at Old Trafford last weekend. Everton are without a number of injured players, including Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Andre Gomes and Allan; their bench includes two 17-year-olds in Isaac Price and Reece Welch.
Brighton (3-4-1-2) Sanchez; White, Dunk, Veltman; Gross, Lallana, Bissouma, Moder; Trossard; Maupay, Welbeck.
Substitutes: Steele, Webster, Burn, Mac Allister, Alzate, Propper, Jahanbakhsh, Izquierdo, Zeqiri.
Everton (possible 3-4-2-1) Olsen; Keane, Mina, Holgate; Coleman, Davies, Godfrey, Digne; James, Sigurdsson; Richarlison.
Substitutes: Virginia, Tyrer, Welch, Nkounkou, John, Price, Broadhead, Iwobi.
Referee Darren England.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Brighton v Everton from the Amex Stadium. Although Brighton are technically in a relegation battle, this feels like a bigger game for Everton, who urgently need to stop playing silly buggers if they are to secure a European place.
They have had some really disappointing results since the turn of the year, yet they are still in contention for the Champions League, never mind the Europa: if they win their two games in hand they will be only two points off fourth place. And almost all of this poor results have been at Goodison Park. Tonight they have the away advantage against a Brighton side that have almost picked up more points on the road.
Brighton have won only two league games at home all season, but one of those was a 3-0 hammering of Newcastle in their last match at the Amex. As a neutral it’s hard to see them going down – partly because they are six points ahead of Fulham with two games in hand, mainly because they are a very impressive football team. The table says it’s 16th v 8th but this feels, give or take, like a battle of equals.
Kick off 8.15pm.