If Everton want Champions League football next season they’re going to have to do it the hard way. That means more goals from midfield, more clean sheets and more slick box-to-box passing.

And no relying on the likes of Aston Villa to keep Chelsea at bay.

Everton lie fifth in the Barclays Premier League table going into the Boxing Day games, shoved down one place after Villa’s 8-0 thumping at Stamford Bridge on December 23.

Everton have finished fourth before under David Moyes before, in 2004-05, but will need Marouane Fellaini to keep his head for the rest of the season, Darron Gibson to cut out the high-kicks and Leon Osman to continue his outstanding winter form.
So far this season, there has been an average of just about 2.75 goals a game across the Premier League That’s up there with one of the higher goal averages of the last 10 years.

So Everton, with 1.67 goals in 18 games, are doing their bit, just. Of course, Fellaini is banned for the visits of Wigan and Chelsea to Goodison Park so Moyes must look elsewhere again for goals.

And the Toffees should have enough firepower without their Belgian talisman, even if they’ve a habit of picking up draws against Roberto Martinez’s Wigan.

Since 2005, Everton have lost just twice to Wigan with eight wins but six draws, and are odds-on favourites with Paddy Power to take all three points with Wigan at 6/1 and the draw trading at 3/1.

In the absence of Fellaini, Leon Osman has shone for Everton and is 10/1 to be first goalscorer against Wigan and 16/5 any time. If you fancy a clean sheet for the home team Paddy Power is offering 6/5 in a season in which the Toffees have managed just two so far.

These sides met earlier in the season at the DW Stadium when Everton twice came from behind, as they have done 10 times this season, to share the spoils 2-2.

Equalisers from Nikica Jelavic in the 11th minute and a Leighton Baines penalty three minutes from time gave the visitors a share of the spoils. If you fancy the look of a long shot half-time/full-time bet with Wigan going in at the break in the lead with Everton hauling it back at home you can get 20/1 with Paddy Power.

Otherwise, Jelavic is 7/2 to score first, and given his form 5/6 to score any time against Wigan.

Paddy Power bet 14/1 that the 2-2 scoreline is repeated on Boxing Day with exactly four goals in the game trading at 4/1 while it’s 13/5 that a penalty will be scored.

Everton decided to appeal the red card handed out to Darron Gibson in the 2-1 win over West Ham at Upton Park and if you fancy the Irish midfielder to get his shooting boots on against Wigan he’s 12/1 to score first and 4/1 to find the net any time, in what would be his first goals of the season, if he plays.

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