Brighton v Everton - the view from the Amex
Why a tight affair could be on the cards at the Amex
Can Solly March continue his bright start to life in the Premier League?
Will Glenn Murray be unleashed from the start after a campaign troubled by injury so far?
Is there a better time to play Everton than this weekend? The Blues come to the Amex on a run of one win in their last six Premier League matches with plenty of speculation that Ronald Koeman could be on the brink of of losing his job after a summer in which he spent over £100m on new players.What with this being the Premier League and the circus that comes with it, the hysteria around Everton's plight and Koeman's future has naturally not taken into account some pretty obvious facts. Their run of defeats has taken in games with Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs. Koeman said when he saw that the fixture list had thrown that up for the Toffees first seven games, he spat out of his Pinot Noir while on holiday. If the Albion had been given that, we'd have been reaching for a crack pipe to try and get through it, let alone a decent glass of wine.So while their form suggests it is a good time to play them, the Albion will have to be at somewhere near their best to win the game and show a lot more attacking intent than we did in our last outing at Arsenal. That shouldn't be a problem; bar the visit of Manchester City, we've gone for it in every home game so far despite what the pundits might be saying about our defensive football. And although the likes of Jermaine Jenas and Garth Crooks don't seem to appreciate the art of defending, nobody can deny that Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy are at the top of their games and if you can keep clean sheets, you are always likely to have a chance.And we've got much more of a chance against Everton than we'd have thought possible two months ago in a game taking place at Sunday lunchtime purely for live television coverage in India. No doubt the inconvenience to both sets up supporters is worth it, as the bars and pubs of Calcutta will be packed with those wanting to see Dale Stephens and Gaetan Bong do their thing.
Everton have spent a record 114 seasons in the top flight, whereas the Albion are currently enjoying their fifth. Meetings therefore have been pretty few and far between, the most recent coming in 1983 when Everton won 2-1 at the Goldstone Ground.Our only league win over Everton was at home in February 1982 while we also defeated them once in an FA Cup tie back in 1924. Everton have won five of the other 11 meetings with four draws.
Brighton team and injury news
Chris Hughton surprised everyone with a couple of personnel changes at Arsenal with Gaetan Bong and José Izquierdo coming in for Markus Suttner and Anthony Knockaert. That seemed particularly harsh on Suttner given he was part of a back four that kept a clean sheet the week before against Newcastle. Hughton does have form however for using one left back at home and a different one away - last season Bong played predominantly at the Amex with Sebastien Pocognoli used on the road - and so there is every chance Suttner could return here.
Whether Knockaert will do likewise is difficult to answer. He is clearly struggling slightly with the step up in class from the Championship and although he looked good in a late cameo at the Emirates but has generally been poor by his ridiculous high standards of last season. For that reason, Izquierdo might get the nod to continue while Glenn Murray should almost certainly come in up top for Izzy Brown. If he doesn't, then you'd have to wonder if Hughton has been at the Pinot Noir or crack pipe as well.
Brown was asked to be a very square peg in a John Prescott round belly sized hole when he played as a lone striker at Arsenal. It was no surprise that once Murray was introduced in his place for the final 15 minutes, we had a couple of chances.
With an extra two weeks training under his belt now after injury, Murray should be firing on all cylinders which is exactly what we will need to score goals and look to win the game.
Best Match Odds
My Best Tip for Brighton v Everton
Draw @23/10 with Bet365
Brighton have won two and lost one so far at home - and that defeat to Manchester City looks like a decent result now given it was "only" 2-0. Everton will provide a sterner test but come into the game low on confidence and that should enable the Albion to take a point.
My other tips for the match
Solly March to score anytime @23/4 with Unibet
Solly March was our best player throughout September and can prove to be a real handful cutting in from the left. 23/4 seems to be a big price for him to score at anytime.
Draw half time @1/1 with Bet365
Six games out of nine so far this season involving the Albion have been level at half time. Evens says it happens again on Sunday