Saturday sees us make the short trip to the DW Stadium for a winnable fixture with a Wigan side with a woeful home record and in a fixture the Blues usually do well in.
Wigan Strategy and Intel
The Latics have the joint fewest home wins in the league (4) and only Blackpool have conceded more goals and picked up fewer points than Wigan in home games this season.
Wigan’s key creative influence will be Charles N’Zogbia, who has 5 assists to his credit this season from the 53 goal scoring chances he has created for teammates. Based on his game time that is a chance created every 47 minutes. Goal scoring has been a problem all season, although Rodallega is a decent finisher with good movement inside and outside the box he has registered just 8 goals this campaign. His shooting accuracy is decent, currently standing at 44% for the season, averaging a shot on target every 64 minutes.
The Latics will most likely line up in something between 4-1-4-1 and 4-5-1. Their defence is led by Alcarez who has decent pedigree having played at the last World Cup for Paraguay. He is partnered in defence by Caldwell with fullbacks most likely to be Boyce and Figueroa. In midfield, Ben Watson has been in decent form recently, patrolling the lines between defence and midfield and will presumably be given a brief to stop our advanced midfielders in this area if as I expect we revert to 4-2-3-1.
James McCarthy will play central midfield but further forward to Watson with advanced wide support coming from Cleverley and N’Zogbia with Rodallega up front. In Wigan’s recent win atBlackpool a feature of their play was for N’Zogbia to start on the right and make diagonal runs in behind the Tangerine’s right back area which is something of a weak link for Holloway’s men. It will be interesting to see if Martinez deploys a similar approach to our defensively vulnerable left side with N’Zogbia potentially starting on the left and making diagonal runs to the right (our left).
Recent form and past meetings.
Wigan are on a decent run of form in context to their season, with 2 wins,1 draw & 2 defeats from their last 5 games, although they shipped 4 goals to a Sunderland team last week who have been awful for months. Our 7 game unbeaten run in the league was halted last week at Old Trafford but we should still be in good spirits heading into this one. The Toffee have only lost 1 of their 5 games at the DW, recording 3 wins, one of which came last season from a familiar source; a Baines corner and Cahill bullet header.
Everton strategy and selection
Last week’s display at Old Trafford at least showed that defensively we are back to our old selves with just 1 goal conceded now in the last 270 minutes of league action. With Cahill pushing for a start the big call Moyes needs to make is how you accommodate the Australian. I think the mostly likely outcome is that he will replace Billy and Osman will switch to the left to accommodate Cahill in the centre in the only change.
Whilst Anichebe did better in his 45mins than Beckford last week, Wigan is a completely different proposition and for this reason I hope Moyes sticks with Beckford as he will get chances in this fixture for sure. Beckford and Coleman’s pace will be key -Wigan’s two centre backs are not exactly speed demons so accurate balls into the channels to test them on the turn or by manipulating 1v1 situations could be profitable for the Blues.
Wigan’s form has been patchy all season and whilst they need the points more than we do Moyes has a knack of getting his players to recover well from defeats; from our 8 losses this season we have won 3 and drawn 5 of the subsequent fixtures, so I’m going for 2-0 to the Blues, Coleman getting one of the goals.