Two goal-shy sides clash at the DW Stadium on Saturday, as Wigan look for move away from the foot of the table. In order to do so, the Latics will have to overcome an Everton side that have the edge over them. The Toffees are unbeaten in recent meetings with Wigan, winning four and drawing two. Everton’s Premier League record against Wigan stands at seven wins, four draws and two defeats.
Everton will gain confidence from Tuesday’s win over Manchester City. The Toffees put in another impressive performance, following on from their FA Cup win over Fulham. Wigan made the midweek trip to high-flying Tottenham, losing 3 – 1 at White Hart Lane. September’s reverse fixture saw Everton win 3 – 1, thanks to Apostolos Vellios and Royston Drenthe.
Both teams struggle for goals, with Everton scoring eight in their last 11 league games. Ironically, this season, the only team to score less than Everton (23) are Wigan (20). The difference between the sides is the number of goals conceded. This season, only the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Tottenham and Sunderland have conceded less than Everton.
Wigan, by contrast, cannot keep goals out. The Latics have the worst defence in the league, conceding 48 goals. Wigan have not kept a clean sheet since a goalless draw with Liverpool; six league games ago. The home side have kept three clean sheets, this season. Everton’s shut out against Manchester City was their 5th with three of them coming away from home.
Everton will be looking to capitalise on Wigan’s leaky defence. The Latics have the league’s worst home form, winning one of their 11 home games. Their current run at the DW now stretches to nine winless games. Everton’s away form is middle of the road, with four wins, two draws and five defeats. Everton have won one of their last five away games, making for an intriguing clash. Wigan’s home Premier League record against Everton stands at one win, two draws and three defeats.
The club’s injuries are clearing up; coinciding with Everton’s annual post-Christmas revival. Sylvain Distin and Jack Rodwell (both Hamstring) are due to return to the squad. Victor Anichebe (Groin) and Seamus Coleman (Thigh) remain doubtful, whilst Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka (both Knee) are a month short of a return. Steven Pienaar is in line for his second début with Nikica Jelavic likely to start on the bench.
Franco Di Santo’s return date is unknown (Ankle). Chris Kirkland has been injury prone throughout his career and remains absent (Back). Midfielder Shaun Maloney is still absent (Calf) and Antonio Alcaraz is a doubt (Ankle). New signing Jean Beausejour will make his home début and key midfielder Mohammed Diame is now back from the African Cup of Nations.
Wigan have the least amount of headed goals (1) and only Swansea have won less aerial duels. Everton will look to take advantage, as they have the edge in terms of aerial ability. Everton have won 51% of their aerial duels compared to Wigan’s 46% success rate. The biggest difference is in the number of aerial duels contested, Everton (579) – Wigan (372). Wigan’s defensive statistics show the full extent of their defensive problems; Everton have the edge in every category.
With Wigan having scored the least goals and conceded the most, form suggests an away win. Especially as the Latics, also have the league’s worst home form. Everton will take heart from their ability to come from behind and take points off Wigan. The last three times Wigan have taken the lead against Everton, the Toffees have taken seven points (two wins and a draw). It all sets the scene for a fascinating match.
Wigan’s goal at Goodison, earlier in the season, came from their only shot on target
Darron Gibson has not lost any of his last 19 league games
74% of Everton’s goals have come in the second half – a league high
The Manchester City game was David Moyes’ 150th Premier League win
Steven Pienaar made his Everton début against Wigan in 2007