Analysis: Brighton falter against formidable Everton
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Lewis Dunk of Brighton and Hove Albion interacts with the crowd following the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton at American Express Community Stadium on August 28, 2021 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

So there it is. The first loss of the season. Brighton & Hove Albion were indeed defeated at the AMEX by a convincing Everton performance, succumbing to a 2-0 defeat.

Brighton maintained their intense approach that has become the essence of Graham Potter's philosophy, but were unstuck by a regimented and slick Everton side that have started the season with vicious intent.

Despite the loss, Brighton have much to look forward to with a talented squad, an excellent head coach and three previous victories to commence the 21/22 season. 

The first-half was somewhat lacklustre until Everton opened the scoring with less than five minutes remaining until the break; Demarai Grayscored his second goal for the Toffees with a deft rolling strike following a gliding manoeuvre. 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored from the spot - his third in as many games - to close proceedings and wrap up the victory.

The first international break of the campaign is now imminent, and Brighton can use the forthcoming period to regroup and establish the best course of action to return to winning ways. 

Defeat against higher calibre 

Make no mistake about it, Everton are the best team that Potter's side have faced thus far this season. 

Rafa Benitez has replaced Carlo Ancelotti - who left to manage Real Madrid this summer - and has made an emphatic start to life back on Merseyside.

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The defeat itself is hardly detrimental, Brighton had started the campaign with two wins against Burnley and Watford, and currently sit on six points from a possible nine, level with the likes of Manchester City

Not only have the South coast side established a gap from the depths of the Premier League table, they have done so with aplomb. 

A dogged comeback win against Burnley and a controlled victory against Watford show that the Seagulls possess all the tools to forge a path towards a successful campaign. 

A lapse in offensive fluidity 

Barring a spluttering first half against Burnley, Brighton have been excellent across their first two league matches of the campaign.

Such joy was not emulated last Saturday, and this is largely down to the organisation and game plan that the Toffees laid out. 

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Brighton were effectively subdued and failed to channel the fluidity and cohesion that has been building under Potter's tutelage; indeed, Brighton managed three shots on target with none arriving until after the break. 

In fact, Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was scarcely tested throughout the match. Potter will understand that his side will lose some games in the league, but the lack of offensive output will be a concern, and one that he will spend time rectifying. 

Plenty of promise

Robert Sanchez continued to display his worth between the sticks with a reactive save to deny Andros Townsend, who had unleashed a curling left-footed shot that aimed to sneak past the post. 

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He was unable to prevent the strikes of Gray and Calvert-Lewin, but has deservedly kept his place as number one shot-stopper after assuming the role in the midst of the previous campaign. 

Additionally, Leandro Trossard looked sharp and forced a good save from Pickford late in the second half - if he maintains such performances he will surely achieve success in time. 

And of course, Brighton's focal point, the enigmatic engine: Yves Bissouma. He was the best player on the pitch for the Seagulls once again, recycling possession, attempting to forge offensive moves and proving why his tenacious approach is paramount to Brighton's endeavours this season.

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