After all the hype surrounding the game, after all the speculation. What team would play? What formation would it be? Roberto Martinez showed his hand. This game meant something to the club; seven of the same starting line up that was demoralized by Liverpool in the league. Yet with the addition of a few fresh faces, you felt like this could be our day.
Of the two teams we arguably settled the better. Closing the ball, working hard to make tackles and when in possession of the ball looking to build and hit Everton on the counter attack. This is how Wigan can and should play football, there was an arrogance to our play and we liked it. We always seem to do better away from home.
As it was Everton were the first to go close, there expecting crowd saw the side netting ripple as Sylvain Distin rose highest off a corner, before putting his header inches wide. That was Everton's best chance of the half as Wigan build in confidence and where then unlucky not to take the lead themselves.
Shaun Maloney cutting in from the left handside unleashed a beautiful curling shot onto the inside of the Everton post. John Mucha in the goal watched and prayed for it not to bounce in, and he was lucky (for a while) as the ball bounced clear, much to the dismay of the Wigan players and fans.
Then 30 minutes in, in a three minute spell which can only be talked about as sublime, we took the lead. James McCarthy showing off one of his trademark volleys had Mucha at full stretch as the keeper turned the ball out for a corner. From the resulting corner, Maynor Figueroa was able to help himself to a goal at the back post, nodding in from close range.
1-0 and we deserved that one on the face of our play to contain and attack Everton.
It then got even better a minute later. Joel (in goal for Wiagn) sent the ball long looking for the ever running Arouna Kone, Johnny Heitinga beat the striker to the ball. Yet it only fell to Phil Neville two yards away. The midfielder then tried to find Distin, instead an alert Callum McManaman latched onto the ball before speeding into the goal area and beautifully curling the ball into the corner.
2-0 were we dreaming?
If we were then it got better a minute later. A lovely passing move down the left hand side saw the ball at the feet of Jean Beasuejour. The winger then found Jordi Gomez who Barcelona like curled the ball into the corner of the goal. 3-0 and Wigan were running away with this one. None could stop us scoring.
It was time for the Everton keeper to have a say, pulling off a couple of lovely saves late on in the first half. The pick was a lovely top corner tip from a Shaun Maloney free kick. The ball looked to be heading over and wide, yet with a bit of dip and curl it could have snuck under the cross bar.
Half time, thank you Lord. Or maybe not, carrying on with the game would have been the best option for Wigan, to keep the pressure up and try and get ore goals. Everton were going to come out fighting in the second half.
A change for the Toffees as Phil Neville left the field and on came Victor Anichebe. Not that it made much difference, Although Wigan very rarely managed to break in on the Everton goal; they didn't threaten us. Only once did Joel have to make a save from Steven Piennar in the dying minutes of the game, but even then it was routine.
Wigan were working hard and chasing all over the picture to keep the score as it was. Arouna Kone was the lone man up front as we went to a 5-4-1 with Shaun Maloney and Ryo Miyaichi aiding the forward when he needed it. Miyaichi who had come on for Callum in the first half, after the winger appeared to pull his hamsting, would go onto have a decent game.
The winger was a yard of the pace, but got stuck in chasing the ball down and making tackles, which in the end would cost him. A hard challenge came in on the winger from Heitinga, Ryo would then fall over and down into the advertising board, not to return to the pitch before being stretchered away. No Wigan or Arsenal fan wanted to see that.
But his loss didn't affect the team as we closed the game out, and now can start to dream of a Wembley Semi-final and the possibility of the FA Cup final.