Everton vs Wigan Athletic: Match Preview
The FA Cup meeting between these two sides at Goodison Park will be a battle of teams at either end of the league table.
As the Premier League enters its final stage, it will be interesting to see where these two clubs, who have had polar opposite seasons, will end up. But Saturday is all about their sixth round FA Cup tie.
Everton do have history in the competition, capturing the trophy no less than five times throughout the years.
They were also the first club to win the cup within the Merseyside district, way back in 1906.
David Moyes’ side have had a very good season and they currently lie in sixth place, just two points behind Arsenal in fifth and seven off that elusive Champions League spot.
For Wigan Athletic, a win over the Toffees today would see them make history as the side have never appeared in an FA Cup semi-final before.
Their best run in the competition was in 1987, when they reached the quarter-finals of the competition.
Roberto Martinez and his team have however struggled in the league, and they hover just above the relegation zone on equal points with Aston Villa, and are just four points better off than bottom side Queens Park Rangers.
Injuries and suspensions
Everton will be without first choice centre back Phil Jagielka after the England international recently underwent ankle surgery.
American goalkeeper Tim Howard also looks set to miss out with a back injury, while Tony Hibbert is still recovering from a calf injury.
Wigan have near enough a full-strength side, with only fringe players out of action.
Back-up ‘keeper Mike Pollitt is suffering from a hip injury, midfielder Ben Watson is out with a broken leg which occurred last October, and both Ivan Ramis and Albert Crusat have knee problems.
The Toffees are currently on a random run of form as they look to be wavering slightly with the season’s end closing in.
They won their last match against Reading 3-1, but lost the previous two, taking eight points from their previous six games.
The Latics come off the back of a thumping 4-0 defeat at home to Liverpool.
Prior to the win against Reading the week before, they hadn’t won a game since late December.
The first meeting of these two sides in the Premier League this season was last October, which ended in a 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium.
The result at Goodison Park however ended in a 2-1 victory for Everton, which could give the home side the advantage on Saturday.
The Merseyside club are unbeaten in their last nine meetings against Wigan, making it a tough task for the Latics to overturn the odds.
It is also worth noting that Everton are looking for a second straight season in which they reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup, and it would also be the third time in four seasons.
It’s extremely hard to look past Everton for this game; they hold home advantage and have put in impressive performances all season.
They have pretty much a full strength side and have history in the competition behind them.
I wouldn’t be overly surprised if Wigan did manage to pull off an upset though, as they could be inspired by the fact that they would make history if they manage to overcome the odds stacked against them, and they also have a near-enough full strength side. And this competition is all about the upsets.
Dan Farr’s Prediction: Everton 2-1 Wigan Athletic