The GENIUS way Everton used Brighton's tactics against them

Quite simply: who saw that coming?

On one hand you have the home team, Brighton, who are pushing for Europe after a brilliant season, and could still harbour some outside hopes of stealing a spot in the top four.

On the other, you have visiting Everton, in the relegation zone and with fewer goals than any other team in the Premier League.

You would be forgiven for chalking this one up as a win for the Seagulls and forgetting all about it. But then you would have failed to take into account Sean Dyche.

A stonking 5-1 win for the Toffees, with braces from Abdolaye Doucoure and Dwight McNeil, has lifted Everton out of the bottom three and given them a goal difference that spells trouble for Southampton, Leeds and Nottingham Forest.

So how did Dyche do it?

Roberto De Zerbi's team have been playing delightful possession football so far this season, and Everton's set-up for this weekend's game was essentially: to let them do that.

Sitting deep and narrow, they pushed Brighton's play out wide, while refusing to allow them any sort of obvious space in the centre of the pitch, nullifying their attacking options.

For long periods of the game, the ball was in Everton's half, but with Brighton unable to do anything with it.

But that's the kind of approach that would earn you a hard-fought 0-0 draw away from home. And Everton didn't get a hard-fought 0-0 draw away from home. They won 5-1.

What Everton did was capitalise on the fact that Brighton had played Manchester united just three days before, in a match that had run to 100 entire minutes long. The Toffees, meanwhile, had not played in over a week – meaning they could play effectively on the break as Brighton legs started to tire.

And if you want to see exactly how they used that to their advantage, well, you'll have to watch the video above...

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Conor Pope
Online Editor

Conor Pope is the Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content, and joined the team in February 2019. He plays football regularly, both on grass and artificial surfaces, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.

He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.