Moyes makes point
Everton have proved themselves as a top side, but Matt Le Tissier can't see them beating Wigan.
Last Updated: 18/01/08 12:38pm
Wigan v Everton
1pm, Sunday, Sky Sports 1
I've been extremely impressed with Everton this season and I think David Moyes has put together a really good team up there.
I covered their game against Manchester City last weekend for Soccer Saturday and I predicted a draw because I thought they'd miss Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Joseph Yobo and Steven Pienaar after they went to the African Nations Cup.
Furthermore Andrew Johnson and Leon Osman were injured in training leading up to the game so the squad was fairly depleted, but they managed to grind out a tremendous victory.
Moyes has got them very well organised and in Joleon Lescott they have got a defender who has nicked them six Premier League goals already this season. Who needs Yakubu when you've got him in your team?
In all seriousness though, I think they'll need Johnson back as quickly as possible because Victor Anichebe, who started up front last week, has not really got the goalscorer's instinct.
He's a strong presence and he'll work hard for you, but he is not really a poacher around the goal; he's more of a grafter who can provide for a strike partner.
However, Everton don't need to worry too much because they're blessed with some wonderful midfielders. Mikel Arteta has impressed me every single time I have seen him this season and I think he's a brilliant player. His dead-ball delivery is excellent, his range of passing is very good and he's a very clever footballer.
Tim Cahill is the other man in form for them and I think he's been pivotal to their good run of form in recent weeks. A guy who can get goals from midfield is worth millions and millions and he's been chipping in with plenty of goals since his return from injury.
Speaking of players being sold for millions of pounds, I can't believe Birmingham have paid £5million for James McFadden. I reckon Everton would've taken a couple of million for him, so Moysey will have snapped Alec McLeish's hands off for that sort of money.
McFadden started the game against Man City and he wasn't particularly impressive, so I can understand why Everton were happy to sell him. I suppose McFadden did a good job for McLeish with Scotland and he will feel he can get the best out of him.
People wonder why he performs so much better for country than for club, but it seems to me that he's the main man for Scotland and he revels in that responsibility. He has been a bit-part player for Everton and doesn't seem to have the same belief in himself.
But his departure shrinks Everton's squad further and I don't think Moyes will have the luxury of being able to rest players ahead of the Carling Cup semi-final against Chelsea next Wednesday.
Lack of depth
There's not a lot of depth to cover the players that are missing and I think the manager will have to put his strongest side out against Wigan and he'll be hoping he doesn't pick up any injuries.
It will be difficult for them to challenge on a number of fronts unless they buy some players in January. I think Chelsea will knock them out of the Carling Cup next week, so they will probably have to focus on the Uefa Cup and maintaining their challenge for the European places in the league.
As for Wigan, there have been signs of improvement under Steve Bruce. They were in the bottom three when he took over and he's got them out of there, so he's achieved his first objective.
They have scored in every game he has taken charge of, so they always have a chance of winning games.
Titus Bramble has started doing for them what Lescott has been doing for Everton by popping up with a few goals. His goal against Liverpool was the finish of a prolific striker, not a dodgy centre-half.
He has had a couple of high-profile gaffes this season, most notably in the first minute of Bruce's first game against Man City, but on the whole he has looked more solid this season.
However, the defence is the area that needs strengthening in January because Wigan are doing well at the other end of the pitch. Bruce has already been busy signing a few players and he needs to make sure he tightens up that back four.
I'm surprised Robbie Savage chose to go to Derby ahead of Wigan because he knows he'll be playing in the Championship next season, but I imagine Bruce has got enough quality to keep them up anyway.
They probably have the best form in the bottom eight and they are going in the right direction. Bruce is a good enough manager and they have got enough talent in the squad to comfortably avoid relegation this season.
Le Tiss predicts
DRAW - Wigan have decent home form and Everton are pretty solid and organised so I'm going to sit on the fence for this one and go for a 1-1 draw.
Matt's main man
ANDREW JOHNSON - Hopefully he'll be fit and I can see him scoring for Everton. With Yakubu being away, he has a chance to stake a claim for a regular spot and he'll be up for it on Sunday. He likes to be the main man and he responds well when the pressure is on his shoulders to get the goals, as he proved in his days at Crystal Palace.