Brighton & Hove Albion

Pundit’s Choice: Everton vs Brighton

Pundit’s Choice: Everton vs Brighton

Everton supporters have been pretty quiet in recent times after seeing their side’s three-match winning streak in the Premier League come to an end last time out.

Marco Silva’s men went into their meeting with Manchester United on Sunday having got past Fulham, Leicester City, and Crystal Palace in their preceding three games, and thus full of confidence ahead of their trip to Old Trafford last weekend. Yet the Toffees came away from the North West empty-handed as goals from Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial inspired the hosts to a 2-1 success, with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late penalty not enough to prompt a comeback from the Merseysiders.

As such, there have been many disappointed Evertonians up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who has identified Sigurdsson, Richarlison, and Bernard as the men who hold the key to Silva’s side beating Chris Hughton’s Brighton this weekend, stating: ‘they have a bit about them’.

And such has been the recent form of the former two, and indeed the growing influence the latter is having following his summer move to Goodison Park, it’s hard to disagree with Merson’s claim ahead of Saturday’s visit between the two sides.

Ultimately, several eyebrows were raised when Everton spent big money luring Richarlison away from Watford during the summer, what with the Brazil international starting well at Vicarage Road this time last year, but failing to net at all in the second half of last season.

Yet the 21-year-old has proven exactly why they spent £50 million on him by netting four goals in just eight Premier League appearances for the Toffees, all of which coming in games they have won to underline that he makes a telling difference when Silva’s side need it most.

In fact, it’s no coincidence that Everton have played some of their best football of the campaign following his return from suspension back in September, but that also coincides with Bernard’s greater presence in the first team having failed to feature in three of their first four games.

The 26-year-old joined the Toffees following his exit from Shakhtar Donetsk at the expiration of his contract in the summer, yet injuries thwarted his first few weeks at Goodison Park, albeit he has since recovered and looks set to be a vital player for Silva’s side.

The winger has laid on two assists in his last four Premier League appearances to underline his growing influence in Silva’s team, so with him and compatriot Richarlison down the flanks, albeit the latter may play up top, it looks set to be a tough assignment for Hughton’s Brighton this weekend – that’s not to mention an in-form Sigurdsson in the number ten role.

The Iceland international took time to get his Everton career going last season but began to come good nearer the end of the campaign, yet the 29-year-old has taken it to another level this term by netting five times in his first ten league appearances of the season, which is already more than he managed in the entirety of last term.

And with all five of those goals coming in his last five games, Sigurdsson is enjoying his best spell since leaving Swansea City back in the summer of 2017 – stopping him will be key to Brighton’s chances this weekend.

As such, while the Toffees have several important players who will play a key part in what success they have this weekend, Merson has rightly identified the aforementioned trio as the biggest threats to the Seagulls, and as such the men that hold the key to an Everton victory this weekend.

Everton fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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