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Match Previews

PREVIEW: EVERTON V ALBION

8 March 2018

Kieran Cleeves
Albion take on Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.

Brighton & Hove Albion will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches when they visit Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon to play Everton in the Premier League, kick-off 3pm.

The Seagulls haven’t visited the Toffees in over 36 years, but the teams drew 1-1 in the game at the Amex Stadium earlier this season - when Wayne Rooney’s late penalty cancelled out Anthony Knockaert’s opener.

Chris Hughton’s men are five matches unbeaten in the Premier League, a run that includes draws against Southampton and Stoke City away from home, as well as impressive wins over West Ham United, Swansea City and Arsenal on the south coast.

Albion recorded their first win over the so-called top six last weekend, as goals from Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray opened up a two-goal lead before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang halved the deficit.

The Toffees head into the game on the back of back-to-back defeats to Watford and Burnley, and Sam Allardyce will be hoping to see a reaction from his team at Goodison Park.


TEAM NEWS:

Chris Hughton revealed there are no fresh injury concerns ahead of Saturday's game, with Steve Sidwell (ankle and back) the only long-term absentee.

Midfielder James McCarthy remains sidelined for Saturday’s hosts with a broken leg, while Eliaquim Mangala also misses out due to a knee injury.

Central defender Ashley Williams was shown a red card against Burnley at Turf Moor last weekend, therefore the 33-year-old will serve a three-match suspension, starting this weekend.



REVERSE FIXTURE:

It looked as if Anthony Knockaert’s late goal would secure maximum points for the Seagulls at the Amex back in October, but Wayne Rooney dispatched a penalty in the 90th minute to spoil the party.

Albion pressed throughout to find a breakthrough but the Toffees proved hard to break down - but with just eight minutes remaining, Knockaert was in the right place at the right time to lash home from close range, following a pass from Pascal Gross.

Everton didn’t give up hope and were gifted a golden opportunity to level in the closing stages when Bruno was penalised for a foul inside the box - and Rooney showed his experience to pick out the bottom corner from 12 yards.


FORM:

The Seagulls have been in fine form since losing to Chelsea at the Amex Stadium in January - going on a seven-game unbeaten run, which began with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium in the Emirates FA Cup.

Albion then drew 1-1 against Southampton at St Mary’s in the league, before producing an encouraging display against West Ham United to win 3-1 at the Amex Stadium.

Another FA Cup win over Coventry City secured Albion’s spot in the quarter-finals of the competition, in-between a draw against Stoke City and a 4-1 triumph over Swansea City.

Hughton’s side then recorded an eye-catching 2-1 victory over Arsenal at the Amex - a win that moved the Seagulls seven points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

Everton have taken just three points from a possible 12 in the Premier League, winning 3-1 against Crystal Palace following a disappointing 5-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Allardyce’s team have since suffered consecutive losses to Watford and Burnley away from home - most recently conceding two second-half goals at Turf Moor after Cenk Tosun opened the scoring.


LAST TIME OUT: ALBION

ALBION 2
Dunk 7
Murray 26

ARSENAL 1
Aubameyang 43

ALBION: Ryan; Schelotto (Bruno 69), Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert (March 77), Propper, Stephens, Izquierdo; Gross (Kayal 87); Murray.

Subs not used: Krul; Goldson, Ulloa, Locadia.


LAST TIME OUT: EVERTON



BURNLEY 2
Barnes 56
Wood 80

EVERTON 1
Tosun 20

EVERTON: Pickford; Coleman, Williams, Keane, Martina; Gueye, Davies (Rooney 59), Walcott, Sigurdsson (Bolasie 84); Calvert-Lewin, Tosun (Niasse 69)

Subs not used: Robles (GK), Schneiderlin, Baines, Holgate.




PLAYER TO WATCH: Gylfi Sigurdsson

The midfielder has been a mainstay in Everton’s team since signing from Swansea City for a club-record fee - in excess of £40 million.

Sigurdsson pulls the strings in the centre of midfield for the Toffees, and the Icelandic has found the back of the net four times in the Premier League this season, also providing three assists.

The playmaker has also proven himself an expert from dead-ball situations, scoring a number of free-kicks over the years during his spells at Reading, Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea and Everton.

The 28-year-old has 55 international caps for Iceland - scoring 18 goals and ten assists - and played every minute of his country’s run to the quarter-finals of the 2016 European Championships, beating England en route.


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