Everton continue to enjoy Boxing Day

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Leon Osman scored Everton's first goal in their Premier League game against WiganGettyImagesLeon Osman scored Everton's first goal in their Premier League game against Wigan

Unbeaten on Boxing Day since 2005, Everton could do with Christmas coming around more than once a year. Continuing their recent Boxing Day form, Everton secured a vital three points against Wigan. While the performance was more stale turkey than haute cuisine, the result was always the priority. At times, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman sprinkled stardust on this war of attrition but those moments were rare. During the nervy latter stages, Wigan grew stronger and Everton tired badly as the clock counted down.

- Everton overcome luckless Wigan

Continuing their scoring run, Everton netted for the 16th successive league game with Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka providing the goals. As the dust settles on the match, the biggest worry is that Everton continued their other ongoing sequence; the Toffees have gone 14 matches since their last league clean sheet. This means Everton have equalled their worst Premier League run without a clean sheet; this is the fourth time Everton have 'achieved' this in the Premier League era.

David Moyes made one change from the West Ham win with Thomas Hitzlsperger starting alongside Darron Gibson; John Heitinga paid the price for his poor West Ham showing. Constantly looking for possession, Steven Pienaar was the game's creative hub. Working in tandem with Leighton Baines, they were the players most likely to spark Everton into life.

Darron Gibson withdrew at half time with an injury and David Moyes confirmed afterwards that Gibson has "a bit of a thigh strain". Now, Everton need to worry about Gibson on both the fitness and suspension front; his red card appeal is set for Thursday. The Gibson injury saw the introduction of Steven Naismith with Leon Osman returning to his more accustomed central role.

Bryan Oviedo also featured from the bench with Pienaar moving inside to accommodate the Costa Rican. Naismith and Oviedo are two of the summer additions and they have shown glimpses of promise but their best positions remain unclear. Although, given how stretched the squad is, they are sure to have the chance to answer those positional questions.

Persevering with the formation that overcame West Ham, Everton found it more of a challenge in this match. For the second time this season, the home side struggled to get to grips with Wigan's unorthodox setup. Outnumbering Everton in the midfield, Wigan were able to pass their way out of trouble far too easily.

Despite failing to click into top gear, Everton still looked set to cruise to victory. Unfortunately, the visitors and Arouna Kone had other ideas. Bustling and barging his way through a weak Everton rearguard, his poked finish gave Wigan a lifeline.

Everton dropped deeper and deeper, much to the annoyance of David Moyes; the Everton manager frantically waving his players forward. In the end, much to the relief of the sell-out crowd, the home side hung on and the three points move Everton into fifth.

Another home tie waits with Chelsea visiting Goodison Park on Sunday. Everton will be chasing three successive wins for the first time since August. A formidable task against an impressive Chelsea but Everton have one thing in their favour; imperious home form. Since Arsenal won here in March, Everton are unbeaten in 14 matches.

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