Everton manager David Moyes and Wigan manager Roberto Martinez renew their acquaintance as the Latics travel to Merseyside to take on the Toffees, as they look to consolidate on their position in fifth, with Tottenham Hotspur hot on their trails with the same number of points and Arsenal just ahead of them on goal difference as well. Everton were lucky to beat West Ham away from home in London thanks mainly to the sending off of former Chelsea striker Carlton Cole after he had given the Hammers the lead in the first half. The match showed glaringly how much David Moyes’s side is missing suspended Belgian midfield maestro Marouane Fellaini, who is suspended for his head butt on Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross in the previous match day and will be out of action till the New Year.
The absence of the big strong Belgian at the heart of the Toffees midfield means Everton will have to depend a lot on the smaller player such as Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman, and against a side like Wigan Athletic, which is known for a strong midfield presence, there is a question mark on how these smaller players will be able to cope against the powerful Latics midfield. Everton has also not been scoring freely as much as they would like and Nikica Jelavic, their Croatian striker who burst onto the scene last season after his arrival during the winter transfer window, has also not been at his prolific best this season.
Wigan, on the other hand, were extremely unlucky to lose to Arsenal after conceding a late penalty that never was and based on their performance on the night, they thoroughly deserved to leave the ground with a point in the bag. But that was not meant to be and another defeat, Wigan finds themselves trapped in the relegation dog fight with Southampton just above them, both on 15 points. After their great escape on the last days of the last two seasons, Martinez will look to avoid a three-peat this season but if they don’t start getting the points on board from now, it will become increasingly difficult for them to avoid the drop and the match against the Merseysiders is one that they will consider winnable, considering the form that Everton are in at the moment; and although it is an away match, Wigan need to get their groove on and get a result.