Everton look to continue their unbeaten start to the season as they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Goodison Park.
A win will take Everton top for at least 21 hours with Leicester not in action until Sunday lunchtime against West Ham, whereas Brighton could climb as high as fifth depending on their margin of victory if can take all three points here.
Richarlison is a doubt for Everton after suffering an ankle sprain in Wednesday’s 4-1 Carabao Cup win over West Ham to book a Quarter-Final home tie against Manchester United in December.
Allan (adductor) and Jonjo Kenny (ankle) were also injured in that match and are ruled out as they join Mason Holgate (toe), Jarrad Branthwaite (ankle), Jean-Phillipe Gbamin (Achilles) and Cenk Tosun (knee) on sidelines.
Brighton could have Alireza Jahanbakhsh available despite the Iranian midfielder suffering a tight hamstring in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat to Man Utd.
Davy Propper (Achilles) is ruled out but could return after the international break whilst Florian Andone, Jose Izquierdo (both knee) and Christian Walton (ankle) remain absent indefinitely.
- Everton are unbeaten in four of six previous Premier League meetings against Brighton (W3, D1, L2), with all three of those wins coming at Goodison Park.
- Brighton are winless in eight previous trips to Goodison Park in all competitions (D2, L6).
- Everton are yet to have a player sent off in six previous Premier League meetings against Brighton, whereas the Seagulls have had one player sent off across those clashes – Anthony Knockaert in March 2018 at Goodison Park.
- Two of Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s five league goals have come from headers and is the only Premier League player to have scored more than one header so far this season.
- No Premier League player has hit the woodwork on more occasions in the opening three matches than Brighton’s Leandro Trossard, who has rattled the woodwork on four separate occasions.
I don’t blame Everton for fielding a full strength team against West Ham in midweek because the Carabao Cup is realistically their best shot at a trophy this season, even though it means that they’re likely to be without a key player in Richarlison.
Everton however do more more influential players available in Alex Iwobi and Gylfi Sigurdsson who need to step up and provide Calvert-Lewin with the service that he needs to be able to continue his superb form, especially against a Brighton team who have found their attacking boots this season and have nothing to lose here given that Goodison Park is their bogey ground.
This therefore certainly will be a physical attacking game between two improved teams in comparison to last season but this is Brighton’s bogey ground though, so I have a feeling that Everton might edge this in the same manner that they defeated Crystal Palace last weekend.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Brighton
Result: Everton 4-2 Brighton