Oct 15, 2017 at 1.30pm UK at ​Falmer Stadium
BrightonBrighton & Hove Albion
1-1
Everton
Knockaert (82')
Propper (56'), Dunk (67'), Knockaert (88'), Bruno (88')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Rooney (90' pen.)
Mirallas (93')

Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Everton

Sports Mole previews Sunday afternoon's Premier League meeting between Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton at the Amex Stadium.

Two sides locked on seven points in the Premier League face off at the Amex Stadium on Sunday afternoon as Brighton & Hove Albion play host to Everton.

While Brighton can be pleased enough with their start to the campaign, it has been a different story for the visitors after being tipped to challenge for a place in the top six this term.


Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton manager Chris Hughton reacts during his side's Premier League clash with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on October 1, 2017© SilverHub

Following a three-match winless run to begin the campaign, albeit with a positive point picked up away to Watford, Brighton have since earned two wins in their last four outings to move up to 14th place in the division.

The pragmatic approach adopted by boss Chris Hughton appears to be working, helping his side to home wins over West Bromwich Albion and fellow newly-promoted side Newcastle United in the lead-up to the international break.

Brighton could therefore win three consecutive games on home soil in the top flight for the first time since September 1982, with three more points - and their biggest scalp yet - no doubt furthering supporters' hopes that they are indeed here to stay.

As the old adage suggests, winning your home games and picking up the occasional point away will be enough to keep you in the top flight, which Albion are on course to achieve if the opening two months of the campaign are anything to go by.

Only Manchester City have left here with anything thus far, finally managing to find a way through with a couple of goals in the final quarter of the game on the opening weekend, though even that slender margin of defeat looks impressive in hindsight.

Four of Brighton's five goals have come at the Amex Stadium, and with Southampton, Stoke City and Crystal Palace next to visit the south coast before the end of November, there is a good chance for Hughton's men to put some further distance between themselves and the bottom three.

Hughton's summer signings are already beginning to pay off their fees, meanwhile, as Pascal Gross - who created more chances than any other player in the Bundesliga last season - has been involved in all but one of his side's five goals, bagging two of his own and setting up the others.

Brighton have been solid enough defensively, too, conceding nine times across their first seven games back in the big time, having already faced title challengers Man City and Arsenal in that time.

Recent form in Premier League: LDWLWL
Recent form (all competitions): DWLLWL


Everton

Ronald Koeman shouts orders during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Everton on September 17, 2017© Offside

Despite Ronald Koeman's claims to the contrary, the pressure is slowly but surely building on the Dutchman following the Toffees' hugely disappointing start to the campaign, seeing them fail to live up to the pre-season hype.

Spending big can so often prove a hindrance for a manager, of course, with last season's seventh-place finish not looking quite as impressive should it be matched on this occasion after a net spend of £54m in the summer - only three teams spending more.

While the new members of his squad take time to adapt Koeman, now many bookies' favourite to be the next manager sacked, is left fending off questions regarding his future heading into this next gruelling run of fixtures.

Everton have won just two of their last 10 games since the middle of August, losing exactly half of those, while also going 11 Premier League away games without a win stretching back to February.

Koeman's 18% win record away from Merseyside is simply not good enough for a side aiming to seriously challenge for a place among the elite, leaving them lingering in the bottom half of the division and in serious need of a boost.

The Toffees must hit the ground running on the back of the two-week break, as they face a run of seven games in 21 days across three different competitions, including the midweek visit of Lyon in a crucial Europa League group-stage showdown.

Former Southampton boss Koeman can forget about prioritising that European clash, though, with three points a must this weekend if he is to bring back any sort of feel-good factor around Goodison Park.

The key to an upturn in fortunes is surely to find the net more regularly, having scored just six in their last 12 fixtures and failing to score in seven of those.

To put their troubles into some perspective, former striker Romelu Lukaku managed just two shots fewer on his own for Manchester United in the opening seven games of the season than Everton's squad combined. Another blank this weekend and Koeman may well be out of work.

Recent form in Premier League: DLLLWL
Recent form (all competitions): LLWWDL


Team News

Everton captain Phil Jagielka goes down hurt during the Premier League match against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on September 24, 2016© SilverHub

Brighton are expected to be able to call upon Davy Propper on Sunday, despite the Netherlands international picking up a minor hip problem that forced him to miss the midweek clash against Sweden.

Striker Tomer Hemed will definitely miss out through suspension, meanwhile, and both Sam Baldock and Beram Kayal are still a week or so away from a return to action.

Isaiah Brown is once again an option to lead the attack in the absence of Hemed and Baldock, though Glen Murray is knocking on the door for a second Premier League start of the campaign.

As far as the visitors are concerned, Phil Jagielka has declared himself fit following a hamstring injury layoff that has kept him on the sidelines for his side's last four games.

Fellow centre-back Ashley Williams has looked shaky this term for both club and country and may make way, with Koeman likely to go with a four-man backline for this trip to the south coast.

The Toffees are still without Yannick Bolasie, Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman, Aaron Lennon and Ramiro Funes Mori, though, as they all recover from lengthy layoffs.

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Suttner; March, Stephens, Gross, Izquierdo; Knockaert; Brown

Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Martina, Keane, Williams, Baines; Schneiderlin, Gueye; Calvert-Lewin, Rooney, Sigurdsson; Niasse


Head To Head

Brighton have defeated Everton just once in the eight league meetings between these sides, with that solitary triumph coming at the Goldstone Ground in February 1982.

The most recent encounter, coming 34 years ago in the top flight, was won 2-1 by visitors Everton thanks to a couple of goals from Kevin Sheedy.

All eight of those previous league meetings have been played out in the top tier of English football, in fact, while also sharing a win apiece and a draw in the three FA Cup ties.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Everton

Brighton have looked solid on home soil so far this campaign, earning back-to-back wins and now seeking a third on the bounce to move into top-half contention. Everton have struggled on their travels this calendar year, meanwhile, failing to win any of their last 11 league games away from Merseyside, and recent form suggests that their woes will continue this weekend.


Everton defender Michael Keane in action during his side's Europa League qualifier with Hajduk Split
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