Everton have finished 2018 losing four of their seven December games, with a 1-0 defeat at Brighton.
Marco Silva will have hoped that the months dismal fortune will have changed off the back of his side’s 5-1 victory away at Burnley just three days earlier, but rued missed chances would be the story of the game, as the away side would see two efforts cleared from the goal-line, and another two efforts smack the woodwork.
The decision to drop Dominic Calvert-Lewin in favour of Richarlison would also come into question, as the Brazilian forward’s hold-up play was poor up against Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk. The number 30 saw the best chances of the afternoon, with one of the aforementioned goal-line clearances and an effort which struck the post, courtesy of a great reaction save from David Button- Brighton’s second choice keeper making his first appearance of the season.
Jordan Pickford would be forced into two saves of his own as Brighton looked to threaten in the second half. Florin Andone met an in-swinging delivery from Pascal Gross, producing an equally impressive reaction save from Pickford.
The only goal of the game would come on the hour mark, Jurgen Locadia finding the net for the second successive game- a Brighton corner would ricochet off Andre Gomes and into the path of the Brighton number 9, who had the goal at his mercy. Despite initial call from the linesman that Locadia that he had been offside, the referee was quick to resolve the issue, rightly overruling his colleague as the ball had come off an Everton player.
Other than Kurt Zouma’s headed effort five minutes from time that smacked the framework, Everton failed to find any method in the madness- substituting Mina, Gomes and Bernard for the attacking armada of Sigurdsson, Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse.
This loss sees Everton end the year merely in the top half, with 27 points in 10th; two points behind 8th place Leicester City- who Everton welcome in the New Year against Tuesday at Goodison.