‘It wasn’t perfect’ – Lightning didn’t strike twice for Graham Potter’s Brighton after half-time tactical change against Everton
Trailing 1-0 with 20 minutes left at Turf Moor, Jakub Moder was brought into the action. Within a minute, the Poland international had provided assistance to the leveler. In search of a winner, the manager then called on Alexis Mac Allister. Two minutes later, the Argentinian took the gold.
Against Everton, it was another story.
Albion was once again left behind at the break, after Demarai Gray’s beautiful solo goal at the stroke of half-time.
Pascal Gross, who started at right-back, struggled to keep pace with the ex-Leicester winger in the opening 45 minutes, so Potter – who initially opted for a five-man defense – made a change .
Burnley’s hero Mac Allister was the man to sacrifice as Potter tried to match his opponents by going one-on-four.
Joel Veltman was hired, apparently to take care of Gray. However, it was Adam Webster who was moved to the right-back and Veltman was deployed to the opposite side. Gross and Moder were pushed higher.
“It was just for the foursome,” Potter explained after the match. “We wanted to play with Leo [Trossard] and Neal [Maupay] centrally, like two attackers.
“We were trying to control their transition and have an extra player in the midfield.”
At first, the signs were positive.
Veltman’s first action was to place a dangerous low cross for the stretching Trossard, but the latter couldn’t quite direct his effort towards the target.
Moments later, the Dutchman fired a narrow shot over the bar.
Trossard had also woken up and Brighton looked vibrant. An equalizer seemed inevitable.
Potter said: “We started the second half a bit better. We thought we reacted pretty well in the second half and thought we were in the game.”
However, things have turned terribly wrong. Veltman needlessly knocked Seamus Coleman down in the box with a clumsy challenge and Dominic Calvert-Lewin fought off Richarlison to step up and put the ball past Sanchez – and the game beyond the hosts.
“The goal takes our breath away and makes it harder for us,” Potter added. “The second goal is the one that took it away from us.”
Thinking back to his halftime decision, Potter said, “It wasn’t perfect, to be honest.”
Potter made two more second-half substitutes – Danny Welbeck making his return from injury and Taylor Richards appearing for the first time in the Premier League.
Despite being seen as two bright spots of the day, the pair were unable to make a significant impact on the game as Everton held on to record their first win in nine Premier League fixtures. between teams.
Despite this result, it remains an impressive start to the season for Albion.
Fans can be forgiven for getting a little carried away after winning their first two games – their best start to a Premier League season.
Everton’s display would have given Albion a reality check, but visitors were still going to prove a tougher test than Burnley and Watford.
The Seagulls got off to a good start and it looked like they could continue their great race. They looked so impressive on the ball, and neither did Yves Bissouma, with the crowd regularly showing their appreciation.
But they couldn’t turn their possession into chances.
Albion enjoyed 66% of the possession, but only three of his 14 efforts were on target.
Everton also had 14 shots – including five on target – but they were clinical when it mattered.
Statistics suggest it was a very balanced competition and Brighton didn’t have a chance to lose, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
A classy and composed Everton side asserted their authority over the game midway through the first half and they never looked back. Despite Brighton’s early dominance, there were warning signs on the counter before Gray finally found the net.
It looked like the Toffees could have scored more than two goals, with Rob Sanchez avoiding the efforts of Andros Townsend and Abdoulaye Doucouré in both halves.
Brighton, meanwhile, never really seemed to score against a solid defense from Everton, with no clear chance of noting.
Maupay’s long-range effort, who caught a glimpse of the crossbar, showed his newfound confidence. He had hoped to become the first player to score in each of Brighton’s first three league games in a single campaign, since Nicky Forster in 2008/09, but the France forward has barely snorted all afternoon.
This season is a great opportunity for Brighton to avoid a relegation battle and finish higher in the table, but, with an obvious lack of pace in the advanced areas, they may need to call in a new face before the transfer window does not close.