<% Dim oMRTCs, oMRTRs, strSQL set oMRTCs = server.createobject("ADODB.Connection") oMRTCs.Open "Driver={Microsoft Excel Driver (*.xls)}; DBQ=" & Server.MapPath("/season/06-07/data") & "/premtable.xls;" strSQL = "SELECT * FROM [Summary$] ORDER BY Pos, Team ;" Set oMRTRs = oMRTCs.Execute(strSQL) %> ToffeeWeb: Season 2006-07 - vs Everton
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Venue: JJB Stadium, Wigan
 Sunday 21 January 2007; 1:30pm
Half Time: 0-0
Arteta (pen:63', 91') 
Attendance: 18,149
Fixture 24
Referee: Howard Webb

Match Summary

Three changes in the line-up that started last week's draw at home to Reading see a reversion to 4-5-1:

  1. Naysmith is injured; Lescott moves to left-back, with Stubbs getting a start in the back four
  2. Van der Meyde moves to the bench, making room for Mike Arteta, back after suspension
  3. McFadden is dropped, with Simon Davies starting David Moyes keen to underline his undying faith in the player after rebuffing overtures from Fulham

Alessandro Pistone is on the bench, with Beattie and Anichebe vying for a that late attacking role when we switch to 4-4-2...

Were we in for another fabulous feast of fantastic football? Hardly. The hoof-ball count in the first half was 46 just one a minute. Goal attempts were sparse and poorly constructed with, as ever, a very poor final ball in. 

It looked that Yobo or Lescott was in a good position to score from an early corner but he passed meekly into the keeper's hands.  And that was as close as Everton came in the entire first half.  Meanwhile, Wigan had a few pops at Howard (from the likes of Kilbane and Heskey) and managed to float in some dangerous crosses that Howard was forced to punch away, adding some brief drama to the increasingly turgid proceedings.

The second half looked pretty much the same until Johnson became the meat in a sandwich between Kirkland and Unsworth, falling awkwardly and lying in agony.  Stretched off with his leg heavily strapped, Evertonians feared the worst...

Anichebe came on in his place and it wasn't long before Unsworth was battling him just inside the area, Anichebe pushed the ball ahead, Unsworth lunged, Anichebe fell... PENALTY!  Arteta finished it superbly.

Wigan were roused, and threw everything they had at Everton, but did not threaten until Soko powered a great shot over Howard that smacked the Everton bar. 

But the Blues held on and then in the dying embers, produced some really nice football (Yes!) with Arteta feeding Beattie, who pushed the ball wide to Neville.  His first-time cross was beautifully weighted for Arteta to come between two defenders and power the ball past Kirkland for an excellent goal to seal a good road win in horribly wet old-fashioned conditions.

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Winless so far in 2007, Everton are in another of the sticky patches that have come to characterise the erraticism of David Moyes's tenure.  They take their quest for their first victory of the New Year the short drive to the JJB Stadium to take on a Wigan side who have slumped to the brink of the relegation zone on the back of six consecutive defeats.

After the impotent display against Reading, the return of Mikel Arteta following a one-game ban could potentially be a huge boost for the Blues, although he has struggled to replicate his home form away from Goodison so far this season.

Added to which, the Spaniard looked decidedly below par between returning from injury and serving a one-game ban last weekend.  Hopefully, the extra week's rest will have done him a power of good.

match photo
Mikel Arteta: back from suspension but unpredictable away from home

Tim Cahill may have also looked well short of fitness himself against Reading but he had some impressive moments in the midfield despite that, showing a pleasing willingness to thread passes through on which Andy Johnson could feed.

This weekend's game, televised on Sky Premiership Plus, will provide the Australian international with another opportunity to improve his match sharpness and, hopefully, provide a goal threat.  His presence will also prompt the manager to opt for 4-5-1, with Victor Anichebe forced to start on the bench.

Despite also showing flashes of brilliance last Sunday, Andy van der Meyde will likely make way for Arteta.  His influence faded dramatically in the second half against Reading and Moyes has been reluctant to use the Dutchman away from home.

Two players who won't be involved are Tony Hibbert, still making a slow recovery from a long-term injury, and Nuno Valente who is ruled out with a knee injury. Phil Neville and Gary Naysmith will continue to deputise in the full-back positions.

Wigan may be on a horrendous run of form but they remain a highly capable side, as they proved at Goodison earlier this season when they twice came from behind to steal a point.

So, while this is a highly winnable game for Moyes's side, Everton have only won twice away from home all season, making it an interesting match-up.  And the presence of former Blues, Kevin Kilbane and David Unsworth in the Latics' squad will make it more so.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Stats

May appear here later

Steve Flanagan

Match Report

Mikel Arteta returned from suspension to grab both goals as Everton compounded Wigan's misery and condemned them to their seventh-successive Premiership defeat. It was also Everton's first league victory over the Latics and they moved into seventh as a result.

It's unlikely that the Blues will play this badly again this season and still win 2-0; wind, rain, hail and a heavy pitch made for a mostly turgid affair that, in fairness to Paul Jewell's side, Wigan might have shaded it if points were awarded for the attractiveness of the football on display.

In all probability, David Moyes took one look at the pitch and decided it wasn't suited to a passing game but while his charges spent most of the time hoofing it from deep, it was when they got the ball down on the deck that proved decisive.

After serving a one-match ban against Reading last Sunday, Arteta was back in the Everton midfield, as was Tim Cahill who had the benefit of another week's training. Andy van der Meyde and James McFadden were dropped to the bench, Simon Davies started in the latter's place, Joleon Lescott moved to left back and Alan Stubbs partnered Joseph Yobo in central defence.

No doubt desperate to avoid equaling a club record run of defeats, the home side started the brighter of the two sides and caused a scare as early as the sixth minute. Heskey out-muscled Stubbs — the defender struggled to deal with the former Liverpool striker all afternoon — before slipping the ball to Valencia and his low shot was diverted behind by Tim Howard.

Three minutes later, former Blue, Kevin Kilbane, ended a quick Wigan break by firing three yards wide. Everton, meanwhile, were pumping aimless balls in the direction of Andy Johnson and didn't muster a shot on goal until the 20th minute when Cahill side-footed meekly straight at Chris Kirkland.

Chances were at a premium in the first half and there wasn't to be another for either side until after the break when, in the 53rd minute, Yobo rose well at the back post but could only guide Areta's corner wide of goal when he might have done better.

A minute later, though, Johnson's involvement in the game came to a premature end following an innocuous-looking collision with Kirkland. After writhing in agony — the game continued while Davies forced the 'keeper into palming a terrific shot over the bar — and being examined on the field by the club's physio, the striker was stretchered off with his head in his hands with a suspected broken ankle. [Preliminary X-Rays showed no obvious fracture.]

Victor Anichebe was sent on to replace AJ and he made an almost immediate impact, forcing David Unsworth into a clumsy challenge on the right edge of the area that left referee Howard Webb with little choice but the point to the spot. Arteta stepped up and fired an unstoppable penalty high into the net and Everton were ahead.

Curiously, the goal did little to alter the pattern of the game and it wasn't until seven minutes from the end of normal time that Wigan threatened Howard's goal when Skoko thundered a shot off the bar and Lescott did well to head the rebound behind despite the attentions of Heskey.

James Beattie came on for Tim Cahill in the 90th minute as the fourth official signaled an extra five minutes of time to be played. Rather than cling on to their slender advantage, though, the Blues sealed the victory with a well-worked second. Arteta and Beattie linked up on the edge of the box before the number nine spotted Neville over-lapping down the right and his perfect cross was met by Arteta who slid in and beat Kirkland from close range.

2-0 and game over but Wigan actually had their two best chances of the game in the dying minutes of injury time, first when Howard made a great save from Kilbane's header and then when the American foiled Cotteril from close range.

Seeing as it represented only our third away win of the season and allowances could be made for the conditions, we'll take the victory despite the horribly uninspiring performance. But the quality of the football and service to the forward line must improve if we are to earn a place in Europe this season.

Lyndon Lloyd

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

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Match Reports
2006-07 Reports Index
< Reading (H) Bournemouth (A) >
 Everton websites
 ToffeeWeb Summary
 Evertonfc.com Report
 When Skies Are Grey Report
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WIGAN (4-4-2)
  Subs not used

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Yobo :43'
  Cahill (88' Beattie)
  Johnson (62' Anichebe)
  Subs not used
  Van der Meyde
  Valente (injured)
  Hibbert (injured)
  Naysmith (injured)
Premiership Scores
Saturday 20 January 2007
Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea
Aston Villa 2-0 Watford
Fulham 1-1 Tottenham
Middlesbro 5-1 Bolton
Newcastle 2-2 West Ham
Portsmouth 0-1 Charlton
Reading 3-1 Sheff Utd
Man City 0-3 Blackburn
Sunday 20 January 2007
Wigan 0-2 Everton
Arsenal 2-1 Man Utd

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