Marco Silva and Marcel Brands: masters of the jigsaw puzzle – Match preview Brighton (H)

The pieces of the Everton squad seem to be falling into place after being frantically shaken up last year, as the Blues establish a new identity of free-flowing, attacking football with a strong pressing base.

The flair of new signings such as Richarlison, Bernard, and most recently, Andre Gomes, is there to be seen in abundance, and has undoubtedly changed the team. This weekend, that aspect of the team could be strengthened even further, with the potential debut of a rare centre-back with similar flair, Yerry Mina.

Mina, known for his aerial ability as well as his dancing, is finally raring to go, and will be chomping at the bit to dislodge the solid Kurt Zouma and Michael Keane from the team. Zouma is unable to face parent club Chelsea next time out, so is it time for Mina to be introduced alongside Keane ready for the challenge of coming up against Eden Hazard?

The Toffees welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Goodison Park this weekend. Straight forward, right?

Not as much as you’d think. Chris Hughton’s side sit just a point below Everton in the league table, and come to Goodison having won their last three on the bounce against Wolves, Newcastle and West Ham respectively by the same scoreline, 1-0.

They defeated Manchester United a couple of months ago, and have a better defensive record than Everton this season, conceding 13 to our 14, even having faced all of Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester City, and Manchester United as aforementioned.

Fortunately, star players Pascal Gross and Davy Propper have been ruled out, but Silva’s side will have to deal with the threat of fine wine Glenn Murray and pacy winger Jose Izquierdo on the left up against out-of-form right-hand side pair Theo Walcott and Seamus Coleman.

So, should Silva change it up this weekend?

Much of the team should remain unchanged, giving them time to gel and learn each other’s games. However, if a player is out of form, there are players on the bench desperate to come in and replace them.

That is very much the case for Ademola Lookman, who will be licking his lips at the chance of coming in to replace the out-of-form Walcott this weekend, after Silva discussed the possibility in his pre-match press conference.

Seamus Coleman, however, is more likely to be played through his difficult run of form. Jonjoe Kenny deputised well for a young lad during his teammate’s injury, but was often exposed down his side by opponents. Coleman has spoken in the press this week of self-criticism and his desperation to return to his best, so therefore deserves the chance to do so.

The rest of the team is likely to remain unchanged as they are performing well, and Mina will probably only make his debut off the bench if at all. Silva seemed more warmed to the idea of him starting against Gor Mahia on Tuesday, instead.

In a game like this, momentum is key and it likely all depends on the first goal. Therefore, equally as important, is finishing off our chances.

We’ve created more chances than most in the league of recent, but have been struggling to put them in the back of the net. Hopefully, this is the perfect chance to do so at Goodison, with momentum building of recent in ‘the our’ team, as Marco himself would say.

Fingers crossed we get that early goal then, or if not, for Cenk to come on and have a party. Come on you Blues.

– Tom

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