To say that Everton find themselves in unfamiliar territory at this stage of the season would be an understatement to say the least. The Toffees are perennial slow starters but have hit a rich vein of form in the first half of the campaign. A six match unbeaten run sees David Moyes’ men currently occupying fifth in the Premier League table and garnering genuine hope of Champions League qualification.
In stark contrast to their Boxing Day hosts Wigan find themselves struggling at the wrong end of the top-flight ladder and will hope to start their fight for survival with a win against Everton despite a seven year barren spell in the blue half of Merseyside. Roberto Martinez hasn’t seen his team record a victory since they beat Reading in November and that five game winless streak has seen them drop into the bottom three.
Marouane Fellaini serves the second game of this three match ban but Everton will have Darron Gibson available after they successfully appealed the red card he received in Saturday’s win at West Ham.
Wigan are suffering a defensive crisis with Antolin Alcaraz, Adrian Lopez and Ivan Ramis all definitely out, whilst James McCarthy is touch and go. However, they could have captain Gary Caldwell back after three games out.
What the managers said…
“It’s a shame we aren’t talking about how well Everton are playing at the moment. We decided to go 4-4-2 with the two boys up front and what we have done is won in another fashion. I have learnt you can’t just have one way of playing in the Premier League. As the season goes on, injuries and suspensions take their toll. And I think it was a good lift for us as well to win without Marouane in the team.” David Moyes on Everton’s win at West Ham (Liverpool Daily Post)
“It will be our second game against Everton and in the first one, it was the best Everton side we have faced. This Everton side tick every box. They have been able to get consistently good results in this league and that allows you to be fighting for the top four positions. At Goodison Park they are unbeaten and it is one of the hardest places to visit in the Premier League. We are well aware of all that, but we feel we can match Everton on our day.” Roberto Martinez feels Wigan can earn a favourable result (Yahoo Eurosport)
Everton are unbeaten in their last 12 games at Goodison Park, winning eight and drawing four. Wigan haven’t tasted victory in this fixture in each of the last eight meetings
Prediction: Everton 3-0 Wigan
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