Wigan is next up for an Everton side looking to maintain their fantastic early season form with a win prior to signing off for the international break. Moyes and Martinez are both tactical tweakers and as a consequence margins are usually tight when the pair go head to head and its unlikely this weekend’s joust will be any different.
Last Time …
Last season finished all square with an Anichebe effort cancelling out an earlier own goal. Defensively, the Latics kept a pretty high line leading to us being caught offside with great regularity. Offensively, we struggled to hold the ball up in the Wigan half with our hosts winning 69% of the aerial duels. When we did play long balls the accuracy wasn’t great (just 36%) and the longer balls were directed too close to Caldwell, a player who has limitations on the deck but is Wigan’s best header. As Wigan’s 3 centre backs outnumbered our 1 and 1 behind, Caldwell was basically free to attack every ball. As a result of this, he won 100% of his headers (11 out of 11). The decision to push our best header (Fellaini) further forward in the second half was to improve our ability to hold up the ball in the final third which worked to an extent, but 1-1 was a fair score on the balance of play.
Wigan Likely Line-up
Martinez men will setup 3-4-3 with Caldwell the aerial backbone flanked by Ramis and Figueroa with Alcarez still out injured. Beausejour and Boyce will be deployed as wing backs whilst in midfield, Mc Arthur and McCarthy will occupy the central roles. McCarthy is good on the ball and will play if we let him. If last season’s game is anything to go by Mc Arthur’s brief will be to volley Pienaar at every opportunity. Up front, Kone will lead the line and will most likely be flanked by between the lines wide-ish forwards Maloney (left) and Gomez – whose red card last week was rightly rescinded – on the right.
As mentioned, Wigan play with 3 centre backs with their wing backs providing the width down the flanks. The image (left) of their average positions from last season’s game show the centre backs (red) and wingbacks (yellow). With Jelavic up top and Fellaini a bit deeper they will have an advantage here and don’t be surprised to see Figueroa – the best of the 3 on the ball – bringing play out from the back and into midfield. Their attacks will be focused down the left flank – only ourselves have a higher % of attacking play in the top flight down this channel this season – with Beausejour (arguably Wigan’s most potent player) a natural in this role having been a wing-back in Marcelo Bielsa’s Chile side. Beausejour was the source of Wigan’s goal against us last season and also scored against us the season before whilst at Birmingham. Due to both sides attacking down the left the respective right sides will spend plenty of time on the back foot. This could be an opportunity for us to exploit. When Beausejour bombs forward I’d expect Neville to shift across and assist Coleman with Mirallas hovering to start quick counter attacks / switch play to the left when we win the ball back.
Martinez spoke at the end of last season of his change in tactics which is quite interesting from a nerding perspective;
“When you play a 4-3-3, you rely a lot on the full-backs to get high up the pitch. You shouldn’t look at a system as a way to win a football match, it is the players that play the system. Maynor [Figueroa], Gary [Caldwell] and Antolin [Alcaraz] have been so solid with a back three, and it allows [other] players to be high up the pitch, like the wing-backs. They aren’t full-backs that need to get deep and then forward to give us an extra man, they are in positions where they can do both a little bit better, and we can be a little bit more solid. The difference is the width that we get…before, we had to compromise a little bit, when you want to be very attack-minded, the full-backs have to push on, so you leave two players at the back. Now you’re still pushing the wing-backs on, but you’ve still got three players at the back, plus probably a midfielder. In the West Brom game, as Paul Scharner will tell you, we were attacking with seven, eight, nine players and they were surprised it, and that’s what the system gives you, without being weak at the back.. It suits our players. When you’ve got a Jean Beausejour who is a specialist in that position, you take advantage of that. The back three gives you that. Then there’s the energy we’ve got in midfield, players who can play between lines like Shaun Maloney and Jordi Gomez. It’s so difficult to play against…there’s a few clubs playing it around Europe now, Napoli are one: they play it with Cavani, Hamsik and Lavezzi…this is the advantage of this system – it goes where the danger is…it’s not in defensive lines, it’s not working as a unit of four, it’s not man-marking.”
Moyes has won 3 / drawn 3 of his 6 matches against Martinez but its always fine margins; with the exception of the mad last 10mins in the Goodison game last season the winning margin has never been more than one goal. The games at the JJB have been particularly low scoring (average 1.66 per game) in this sequence so the under 2.5 goal market looks fertile. Baines has usually done well against his former side and has scored 2 and setup 2 in this 6 game sequence with three of the 4 goals we scored last season coming from crosses. Paddy Power are offering 21/20 on an away win with the draw at 23/10 and the home win at 11/4. EB’s Mirallas anytime / efc win double (15/2) and Osman anytime / win double (4/1) have been triumphant in the last 2 games…..here are this weeks 5 to ponder with prices from our betting partner Paddy Power.
5 More to ponder;
15/2 Everton to win 2-1
3/1 Exactly 3 goals scored
8/1 Baines anytime / efc win double
13/5 Everton to win by one goal
11/2 1-1 Draw (insurance bet)
For more Everton bets check out Paddy Power’s Website here