Everton Women travel to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday for a tough test against a side who have won their last four games.
Brighton sit just one place below Everton in sixth in the Women’s Super League table, trailing the Toffees by four points with five league games remaining.
The hosts go into the game having scored seven goals in their previous four matches, conceding just once. Everton, however, make the trip to the south coast on the back of a 3-0 defeat against Chelsea.
Willie Kirk’s side will look to turn his team’s form around and solidify Everton’s status as the ‘best of the rest’, outside the formidable pack of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal. Everton trail fourth-placed Arsenal by seven points.
The last time the two sides met in October last year ended in a 2-2 draw. Rikki Sevecke’s early own goal was cancelled out by goals from Izzy Christiansen and Valerie Gauvin for the Toffees, only for Aileen Whelan to equalise with twelve minutes to go.
Everton had 18 shots in that game, but couldn’t make their dominance count past a tough Brighton defence with just four of those shots on target.
Going into this game, Kirk has pointed to the transitional period his side are in: “We had to slightly adapt our game,” he said.
“We were great to watch, we were transitional, games were end to end, we were scoring goals and winning games, but we understood that that wouldn’t necessarily get us long-term success because we weren’t controlling games at any point.
“We’ve made a conscious effort to improve our ball retention. We’re going through an evolution in our style of play. We’re still on a journey.”
This game comes days after the major announcement that the WSL had secured a broadcast deal with BBC and Sky Sports for next season. The multi-million pound agreement marks a huge step forward for the women’s game.