Once again, Everton boss David Moyes is working wonders on a shoestring budget in his 11th full season in charge of the club, who sit sixth in the Premier League and face an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park this weekend.
This is undoubtedly the most talented squad he has had at his disposal since taking the reins and while finishing in a European place will be the main aim for the Toffees this season, they’re unlikely to pass up the opportunity of some silverware without a fight.
Despite facing lower-league opposition in the last three rounds, Moyes resisted the temptation to field a weakened side and is unlikely to do so on Saturday for the visit of the struggling Latics, who sit just outside the drop zone on goal difference.
Everton bagged four points against Roberto Martinez’s side in their two league meetings this term, gaining a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium back in October, before securing a 2-1 victory at home on Boxing Day.
One of the major success stories for Moyes throughout his time at the club has been the development of Belgian international Marouane Fellaini.
There were plenty of raised eyebrows when Everton parted with £15 million to sign him from Standard Liege in 2008, but the big central midfielder has been a pivotal part of the side since his arrival.
Indeed, a number of top European clubs are now tracking Fellaini, who opened the scoring in the 3-1 win at home to Reading last weekend, his 12th goal in all competitions this season.
The Toffees head into the game as the overwhelming odds-on favourites to progress through to the semi-final on Saturday inside 90 minutes at 9/20, with the draw at 16/5 and Martinez’s men a big 6/1 to cause an upset and dump their hosts out of the competition.
However, that looks an extremely difficult task for the Latics when taking into account their recent record against Everton, as they have failed to pick up a win in the last nine meetings between the two sides, with their last success coming back in 2005.
Coupled with the fact that the Blues have lost just once at home all season, it really does look an unenviable task for the Lancashire side, who head into the game on the back of a 4-0 demolition at home at the hands of Liverpool last weekend.
They also possess the Premier League’s leakiest defence, conceding 55 goals in just 28 league matches, but they have managed to find the net in their last five encounters with Everton, so backing both teams to score at 3/4 looks a good bet.
The Everton defence will know all about the danger posed by Arouna Kone, who scored in both meetings this season, and the Ivorian is 3/1 to score at any time in the game or 10/1 to open proceedings to add to his ten goals in all competitions.
With the relegation battle likely to be at the back of the Wigan players’ minds, it would take a brave man to back them to see off Everton this weekend and the Toffees should have more than enough quality to bag the win in front of their home support.
Considering the statistics and trends outlined here, a 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 Everton triumph looks the pick of the bunch at 3/1, with winnings of £80 on offer for new customers successfully backing it with their free £20 bet.
And if one of those three scorelines materialises, Moyes will be one step closer to regaining the trophy the club last won back in 1995 thanks to a 1-0 victory at the old Wembley over Manchester United.