This weekend's FA Cup game has a lot riding on it for Everton - for one, it could be their last chance at any glory this season. The Champions League spots have never seemed further out of reach, especially with Tottenham and Arsenal in sparkling form lately, and Everton having to travel to those two teams as well as Chelsea. Everton have struggled in recent weeks with the lack of depth in the squad and David Moyes will be hoping the Cup fixture will bring out the best in his boys.
Wigan on the other hand are fighting for Premier League survival yet again and manager Roberto Martinez has indicated that he will be resting a few of his regular starters to keep them fresh for the upcoming relegation battle. The Latics have little to lose and could pose a threat to an Everton side that might already be looking at a Wembley semi-final date.
Team News -
Goalie Tim Howard is still doubtful to play, and Jan Mucha should get the nod to start after a pretty good performance last weekend. Tony Hibbert remains the only long-term casualty on the side. Moyes will probably field the same side that started against Reading, with John Heitinga filling in for the injured Phil Jagielka.
For Wigan, Adrian Lopez and Ryo Miyaichi have recovered from injury and should start, while defender Antolin Alcaraz has come off the bench the last couple of games and is expected to feature as well. Fans have high hopes for striker Callum McManaman and midfielder Fraser Fyvie, who could both get starts too.
Keys To The Game -
Everton have played very well the last couple of games, and it's no secret that this return to form has a lot to do with the right wing pairing of Seamus Coleman and Kevin Mirallas firing on all cylinders. Mirallas swapped wings with Steven Pienaar very often against Reading, and it seemed to rejuvenate the South African too, so expect more of the same tomorrow as well.
Wigan have a couple of goal threats in Arouna Kone and Franco Di Santo while McManaman is highly regarded and is dangerous as well. Expect the Latics to give it a good go and try to disrupt the Blues in midfield. Everton do not have fond memories of Paul Scharner and he always seems to up his game when playing the Toffees.
Match Facts -
- Everton are unbeaten against the Latics in their last nine games.
- Next week will mark eleven years of Moyes tenure at Everton.
- The Toffees have scored at least twice in their last four FA Cup matches.
- This is the first FA Cup tie against a Premier League side for either team.
- Wigan have reached the 6th Rd for just the second time in their history.