Toffees too tough for Wigan
On-loan striker Jo bags brace as Everton close on Villa
By James Dall. Last Updated: 05/04/09 5:23pm
Osman and Jo: Both impressed
On-loan striker Jo netted a brace as Everton claimed a comfortable 4-0 Premier League victory over Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park on Sunday.
The Brazilian striker, who joined the Toffees from Manchester City in January, took his Everton goalscoring tally to five in seven appearances as the Merseyside club closed on fifth-placed Aston Villa.
Jo broke the deadlock with a sweet first touch and finish, before towering midfielder Marouane Fellaini nestled home with a smart strike on the turn two minutes into the second half.
The Latics rarely threatened, despite Steve Bruce's side pushing for a European berth, and Jo grabbed his second of the game via an easy tap-in, before Leon Osman, who impressed throughout, compounded Wigan's misery.
Everton had full-back Tony Hibbert back in the side after missing four matches with a thigh injury, which left Lars Jacobsen relegated to the substitutes' bench, along with Louis Saha who was replaced by Tim Cahill from the side that lost at Portsmouth last time out.
Cahill had a calf injury for that match, and had only just returned from playing for Australia in midweek, but boss David Moyes considered the club's top scorer was sufficiently recovered from the travelling to play.
Wigan, chasing seventh spot and probable European qualification, had Antonio Valencia back from injury, replacing Hugo Rodallega, but were comfortably swept aside by the Toffees.
Everton, in sixth and with an FA Cup semi-final later this month, still harbour hopes of UEFA Champions League qualification, or at least catching Aston Villa in fifth.
And they got off to a bright start with Osman scooping one effort wide and then almost setting up Jo after a determined run into the box, before the Brazilian headed straight at Kirkland from a Hibbert cross from the right.
Wigan at least had one Egyptian on show, with the club now having received a fax from Amr Zaki's agent claiming his absence has been caused by a hamstring injury.
It is a situation that has hardly impressed Wigan boss Steve Bruce. However, Zaki's countryman Mido was left up front on his own.
And he forced a good save from Tim Howard from 20 yards after a clever backheel from Paul Scharner, sporting an interesting new red and blue haircut.
It did not prevent the Austrian getting in a good header from a Valencia cross.
But Everton continued their pressure and Kirkland produced a brave piece of goalkeeping to stop a Leighton Baines free-kick from reaching Jo and Osman.
But after 26 minutes Kirkland was well beaten by a Jo cross-shot into the far corner.
Emmerson Boyce looked to be holding Fellaini, but referee Phil Dowd allowed play to continue for Osman to find Jo in the box, with the Brazilian flashing his drive into the far corner.
Wigan picked up two quick bookings, Mario Melchiot for a foul on Steven Pienaar and Michael Brown for catching Cahill from behind in a combustible private war between the pair that had being going on since kick-off.
Wigan sent on an extra striker in Rodallega for midfielder Brown at the break, but any thought of a concerted fightback was shattered by three more Everton goals early in the second half.
The first came after 47 minutes when Hibbert crossed low from the right and Fellaini had too much time and space to hook his shot past Kirkland.
It got worse for Wigan after 51 minutes. Osman threaded a pass into the box, Fellaini's shot was palmed out by Kirkland for Jo to sidefoot home from six yards, his fifth for the club since joining on loan from Manchester City.
And on the hour, Kirkland was at fault again when he pushed out a 20-yarder from Fellaini for Osman to convert the fourth with ease.Four minutes later Everton were able to give Cahill a rest, sending on teenager Jack Rodwell, fresh from his England Under 21 debut, while the Everton crowd jeered former Liverpool keeper Kirkland every time he touched the ball.
|Everton||Team Statistics||Wigan Athletic|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|9||Shots on Target||4|
|4||Shots off Target||8|
Barclays Premier League
|11||West Ham United||3||3|
|12||Queens Park Rangers||3||3|
|18||West Bromwich Albion||3||2|