Wigan Athletic 0 Everton 2

Last updated : 21 January 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Relegation haunted Wigan slumped to their seventh Premiership defeat on the trot - the club's worst run of results since 1993 - as Mikel Arteta hit a double to fire Everton further up the table.

But Everton were left counting the cost after record signing Andrew Johnson was carried off in the second half after he appeared to twist awkwardly and damage his left leg.

Minutes later, the Toffees broke the stalemate when Arteta scored from the penalty spot.

And Wigan's luck was out when Aussie Josip Skoko was robbed of a late equaliser by the woodwork before Arteta hit his sixth of the season from Phil Neville's cross.

The Wigan line-up had a strong Goodison connection with three ex-Everton men in the squad - David Unsworth, Kevin Kilbane, and Leighton Baines - and the Latics were desperate to end their slide down the table.

Lee McCulloch, unsettled after an approach from Rangers last week, was included with Paul Jewell confident that the Scot would do his job despite Friday's transfer request.

Wigan also included Andreas Granqvist on the bench after his recovery from flu, and Antonio Valencia was back after a three-month absence. But they were still missing Henri Camara, Paul Scharner and Arjan de Zeeuw, who sees a specialist this week for a verdict on his toe injury.

Everton - ten points ahead of Wigan at the start of play - had Arteta back after suspension and with veteran David Weir joining Walter Smith at Rangers the Blues were also missing Gary Naysmith and Alan Stubbs was restored to the starting line-up.
Emile Heskey's presence in the box created the first half chance of the game creating space for Valencia, but his shot was deflected into the side netting.

Unsworth came to Wigan's rescue with a timely tackle on Leon Osman after Fitz Hall gifted Everton possession with a poor clearance.

With both defences looking shaky and the wintry conditions making life difficult, Wigan failed to test Tim Howard with long-range efforts from Kilbane and Denny Landzaat, both attempts failing to hit the target.

Want-away McCulloch had better luck but his tame shot was easy for the Everton keeper and it was a similar story at the other end when Tim Cahill failed to get any power on the strike and Chris Kirkland took it easily.

The Toffees twice gave away free-kicks in dangerous positions with Heskey fouled by Stubbs and then Joseph Yobo, but Skoko failed to cash in.

He did better with a third free-kick just before half-time but Howard cleared the danger with a terrific punch.

Everton had two chances in quick succession with Simon Davies having a shot deflected over the bar and Yobo heading wide at the back post from an Arteta corner, when he should have made it pay.

The visitors suffered a blow when Johnson was stretchered off but the arrival of sub Victor Anichebe ironically gave Everton the breakthrough.

He was brought down just inside the area by Unsworth and ref Howard Webb had no hesitation in awarding the penalty.

Arteta went for power, blasting home the spot-kick to give Kirkland no chance.

Wigan piled on the pressure as they hunted an equaliser, but Skoko's shot rattled the crossbar and Heskey just failed to reach the rebound.

Then in stoppage time, Arteta added to Wigan's agony with his second goal of the afternoon.