Match Preview: Everton vs Wigan Athletic

Alex Livesey

Points, we need points! Without a win in the past two months and we are starting to slip into relegation zone. Good performances, yet combine that with lack of finishing and a host of injuries. Yet Santa Claus has been, and did he leave three points for Latics this boxing day?

Disaster is the word for the past few results for Latics. The past three games have seen us play well enough to win games and yet only come away with a solitary point, now with the turn of the year insight, Latics must now step up and start getting some points on the board.

Under Martinez we do seem to finish the season better and pick up nearly twice as many points as we do at the start of the season. If that were to hold true now, then Latics would finish this season on on 45 points, which wouldn't be a bad points tally.

You have to feel we can only improve as more of our players return, and today could be ear marked for the return of two of our defenders. Both Ivan Ramis and Gary Caldwell could be set to feature in some way. Caldwell could start after being on the bench against Arsenal last week, we have missed out skipper over the past few weeks. Many felt he could no longer hack it this time last season, yet a change of position and we see a new player born. Ramis would also be a fantastic return as his calmness on the ball we are really lacking in our defence.

Once the defence is sort, you then have to feel it will click into place going forward, we will be full fit in our forward positions. In the sense that the players who should start can start. Shaun Maloney was outstanding against Arsenal and the return to form for the Scotsman is something Latics really need.

But who are we facing today? Well for me, it is one of this seasons surprises. I am not saying Everton aren't good and it is surprising that they are doing so well; the fact they are doing in the first half of the season is remarkable, is they can continue that into the second half of the season Champions League football must be on the cards.

One man though has been instrumental to the change for Everton. The 6ft4 central midfielder of Marouane Fellaini changed everything with his bulldozing tactics and skill on the ball. He is one of the top talents in World not to mention English football, and it is now come to fruition. The good news for Wigan is that Mr Fellaini tried to headbut a Mr Shawcross so is serving his second match of a three match ban.

That still doesn't mean Everton don't have any danger. It is built into their team. Normally you wonder who might score for Everton, you now have to wonder who will score. The change in mentality has come about with their new addition in flair.

We saw this all to well in the 2-2 draw at the DW earlier in the season. Their creative talent is fantastic, but that has left them a bit wanting defensively. Can we expose such a flaw? Well we did last time and I could see us doing it again. If Arouna Kone steps up to the plate, there is no reason why he can't dance a round the Everton center backs and score and set up the goals again for Latics.

Can we keep Everton out? Well we showed against Arsenal with our unorthodox shape that we can cope with all the injuries and still keep it tight at the back. If we play the same way against Everton, Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman and Nikica Jelavic will have to be on their best; they could however very easily expose the lack of defensive width we have in this formation.

I feel a tight game coming, and one that will be competed by two very wholesome teams that like to play football and entertain their fans. Which way it goes will depend on who is fit for Latics and how we set ourselves up for the game, yet I have a sneaky suspicion we could nick all three points this weekend.

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