Match Preview| Brighton and Hove Albion (A)

I’m back baby …..

Did you miss it? No? Me neither. But it’s back. Premier League football is back. Everton head to the South Coast on Sunday to take on Brighton and Hove Albion for the first time in 34 years.

Prospects seem pretty bleak right now. So much so that I would probably mothball the whole thing and take another week of blissfully boring but stress-free international football. After a disastrous week prior to the international break which saw Everton draw and lose two home games against some very below par opposition, confidence is low. There’s uncertainty from top to bottom. Is the manager up to the task? Is he good enough? Is the squad good enough? Are they underperforming? Are the new signings expensive flops? Will they come good?

The alarming thing for most Everton fans is not so much the defeats or below par performances of new signings, but instead the manor of performance the Everton side have been producing this season. The team lacks any pace, fight or creativity. It’s easy to blindly bellow ‘’support the team’’, ‘’back the manager’’, but the alarming facts speak for themselves. In Everton’s first seven Premier League games, they have managed just 17 shots on target. That’s an average of 2.4 shots on target per game. They have managed to convert just five of those efforts into goals, a conversation rate of just 23%. Yikes.

If you’re not scoring goals, you need to at least be keeping them out. But Everton aren’t. Twelve goals conceded in seven games. An average of nearly two goals conceded per game. It leaves the Toffees dangling precariously two points above the relegation zone in 16th. Not at all what we expected following the summer spending spree.

Brighton come into the game level on points with Everton, but a better goal difference puts them a head of the blues in 14th. The Seagulls boast a decent home record thus far. Winning two of their three Premier League home games, losing out only to Manchester City on the opening day. It is their away form that is letting them down, something Everton know all too well about. The travel-sick Toffees have only picked up one point away from home this season, and haven’t won a single away game since February.

The first goal will be massive on Sunday, both teams have only managed to score more than one goal just once all season, meaning that first goal could most likely secure all three points. Everton are boosted by the return of Phil Jagielka, hopefully at the expense of the hideously out of form Ashley Williams, who continued his dire defending capabilities into the internationals and gifted Ireland the goal that ended any hope of a first World Cup in over 50 years for Wales. Let’s hope it’s just a poor run of form and not a case of getting the shotgun, taking him out back and putting him out of his misery at the end of the season.

Unless your name is Harvey Weinstein, there isn’t much more scrutiny on you than what Koeman has on him right now. With rumours of a lost dressing room, unhappy fans and following a rotten run of performances, another defeat Sunday will surely take him to the point of no return. Perhaps the recent vacancy opening at the Netherlands may offer him a perfect get out of jail free card. And I am not sure many blues would lose too much sleep either if he was to leave. Because the harsh reality is, game week eight is already upon, if things don’t improve fast, then this could be another season of nothingness in the Premier League era. Not the behaviour of the ruthless new Everton hoping to catch and over take the elite above them. For the 1083th time this season, Sunday’s game is a big one, can we use it to kick start our season? We hope so.

-David ( @DAHughes92 )

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