Rafa Benitez's Everton lost to Brighton
Rafa Benitez's Everton lost to Brighton Image Credit: AP

Rafa Benitez was under real pressure on Sunday night as his Everton side crashed to a 3-2 home defeat to Brighton in the English Premier League.

Benitez’s side were booed off at Goodison Park after a horrendous run of form has seen the Toffees pick up just one win in their past 12 games — leaving the former Liverpool boss Benitez fearing he may be in line for the boot from the managerial hot seat.

After a bright start to the season, Everton are now just eight points above the relegation zone — with some teams below them holding games in hand — and results must improve quickly for the Spaniard if he is to hold on to his job.

Everton had been out of action for two weeks due to coronavirus postponements during what would normally be a traditionally busy period over Christmas and New Year, and they looked very rusty as Brighton opened up a 2-0 advantage with ease.

The visitors made the perfect start with a third-minute opener as Joel Veltman’s cross was nodded on by Neal Maupay for Alexis Mac Allister to volley home.

Dan Burn doubled Albion’s lead with a header and things got worse when Dominic Calvert-Lewin blazed a 25th-minute penalty over the bar.

Anthony Gordon finally got Everton on the score sheet during a second-half rally when his shot deflected in off Adam Lallana after 53 minutes, but Mac Allister secured the points before a Gordon consolation.

Leeds United boosted their survival bid with a 3-1 win against fellow strugglers Burnley at Elland Road, but the result was marred after Clarets defender Matt Lowton was hit by a bottle thrown from the crowd.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men had lost their last three games, conceding 14 goals in the process.

Jack Harrison fired Leeds ahead on 39 minutes with a powerful finish after his initial effort was saved by Wayne Hennessey. Maxwell Cornet bagged Burnley’s equaliser with a superb 54th-minute free-kick before Lowton was struck in the face by the plastic bottle as Sean Dyche’s players celebrated Cornet’s goal.

This came after Manchester City players were pelted with objects by Arsenal fans following Rodri’s winner at the Emirates on Saturday.

Stuart Dallas put Leeds in front from 20 yards in the 77th minute and Daniel James wrapped up the points in stoppage time.

Leeds are now eight points clear of third-bottom Burnley in the fight to avoid relegation.

Brentford came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 thanks to Mads Roerslev’s close-range finish in the 83rd minute. Danny Ings put Villa in front with his first goal since October as he converted Emiliano Buendia’s pass in the 16th minute. Yoane Wissa equalised with a fine finish from the edge of the area in the 42nd minute before Brentford went on to claim all three points.