Everton vs. Wigan Athletic: Match Preview

Royston Drenthe caps off the scoring with Everton's third goal against Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park on September 17, 2011 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Everton will be holding their heads high for this Premiership fixture away at Wigan after the fantastic result beating Manchester City and what appears to a very favorable transfer window. In the corresponding earlier in the season at Goodison, Everton had come from behind to win 3-1, one of only two times that the Toffees have scored three times in one game this season.

Meanwhile, opponents Wigan are three points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League table, lurching deeper into misery with no wins in the last nine games they have played at the DW Stadium. Embattled manager Roberto Martinez wasn't able to gain much from the transfer period, adding Jean Beausejour but managed to hang on to striker Hugo Rodallega.

Everton's goalscoring woes are well-documented - 23 goals in 23 games will not propel the team towards European football contention. To that end, new signings Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic will be expected to contribute freely and often. However the Toffees have only managed eight goals in their last eleven matches so that will offer the Latics a glimmer of hope. Apostolos Vellios and Royston Drenthe both nabbed their first Everton goals against Wigan earlier this season - will Jelavic get a chance to notch his first Premiership goal as well?

Team News -

While midfielder Jack Rodwell has returned to training, the two new signings will offer Moyes hitherto unknown prosperity on the bench. The XI that started against Manchester City might be given another shot after their battling performances.

Wigan will have Mohamed Diame back after his travels in the Africa Cup of Nations, and Beausejour could start as well. Striker Franco Di Santo picked up a bad cut and will miss the game, with Rodallega likely to take his place. Defender Antolin Alcaraz has recovered from his groin injury but is not fully match-fit yet.

Keys To The Game -

The Toffees need to ride the surge of momentum that the recent goings-on at the club have created, and part of that lies with Moyes' tactics. Everton need to go on the attack at the outset of this game at the basement-dwellers Wigan, who have just one home win to their name all season back in August. An aggressive gameplan taking advantage of the boost in creativity that Pienaar affords the team would involve attacking down both wings, especially the left side.

Wigan actually had more of the ball possession in the previous game, but Everton won after getting more shots on goal and taking advantage of their chances with two late goals. More of the same can be expected tomorrow with manager Martinez stating that his team had nothing to lose at this point. Forwards Victor Moses and Rodallega pose a big threat with their pace and Everton will succeed by cutting off supply lines to the pair, forcing them to come deeper seeking the ball.

Match Facts -

  • Everton still lead the league with the highest number of second half goals this season (74%).
  • Steven Pienaar is in line to make both his Everton debuts against Wigan, the first one being in August 2007.
  • Everton have only gained five points in their last five away games this season.
  • In the last three games Wigan has taken a lead against Everton, the Toffees have come back to win twice and draw once.
  • The Latics have only scored one headed goal all season long.
  • Wigan lead the league in penalties conceded (8, joint first) and most fouls committed (292 fouls).
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