Everton’s merciless 5-1 victory at Brighton on Monday lifted them out of the Premier League’s relegation zone, whereas Leicester’s chances of staying up are hanging by a thread following a 5-3 loss at Fulham.
Nottingham Forest defeated fellow relegation battlers Southampton 4-3 to also move out of the bottom three.
For the first time in the club’s history, Brighton is in the running to make it into Europe. Still, a demanding schedule has taken a toll on Roberto De Zerbi’s team as they were destroyed by an Everton team who hadn’t won away since October.
Abdoulaye Doucoure scored the game’s first goal for the Toffees after just 34 seconds, giving them the perfect start.
Before Brighton custodian Jason Steele deflected Dwight McNeil’s cross into his net, Doucoure’s spectacular volley from McNeil’s cross gave Everton a two-goal advantage.
Brighton pounded the Everton goal during De Zerbi’s four halftime substitutions in response but were caught off guard on the counterattack when McNeil displayed excellent poise to round Steele and make it 4-0.
After Kaoru Mitoma’s original attempt hit the post and rebounded, Alexis Mac Allister scored to restore parity.
However, McNeil ultimately had the last word as he slammed the ball into the top corner in stoppage time to cap off a stunning display. With their first victory in eight games, Sean Dyche’s team moved two points clear of the relegation zone.
“It’s a quality of performance that we want to build,” Dyche said. “It shows it is in there – the consistency I’ve been searching for.”
Brighton remains in seventh, two points behind Tottenham with two games in hand, but its outside shot at a top-four finish appears gone.