Goals from Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka proved enough for Everton to dispose of Wigan in what was an ultimately forgettable Boxing Day affair.
Played out in miserable, wet conditions, the 2-1 win was the home side's second of the festive period and enabled them to briefly repossess fourth—with half the season gone.
As dour and disjointed as the spectacle often was, the three points are vital and enable Everton to keep pace with their Champions League rivals.
Here's a look at how David Moyes' side fared individually.
Tim Howard: 6/10
Howard appeared calm and assured for most of the game, although he was never overly stretched and should have commanded his area far better for Arouna Kone's late strike.
In the dying stages, with Wigan pressing, his defenders needed him to be far more authoritative and usher traffic away from his area. Fourteen Premier League games with no clean sheet is a statistic that must end soon.
Phil Neville: 6.5/10
After initially being targeted during the game's early stages, Everton's skipper improved as he went in what was his 500th Premier League appearance.
He made a crucial intervention to deny Kone at 1-0 and delivered a vintage cross to assist Jagielka's late header.
Leighton Baines: 7/10
Despite having a quieter game in the final third, Baines was on the ball more (73 touches) and passed better (91 percent) than any of his teammates.
He also tackled well and was perhaps more aware of his defensive responsibilities due to Wigan's varying shape. He loses a mark for not challenging Kone better in the buildup to Wigan's goal.
Phil Jagielka: 8/10
Jagielka was Everton's best player on the pitch. He marshaled the defence well and gave an imposing performance that certainly merited an overdue clean sheet.
With five tackles, two interceptions and four clearances, he contributed more to the Toffees' defence than anyone and, of course, grabbed what proved to be the winning goal.
Sylvain Distin: 6.5/10
Distin never appeared quite as assured or composed as his defensive partner, mistiming a couple of aerial challenges and occasionally being caught out of position.
He should have defended better for Wigan's goal but still cleared the danger several times and very much deserves his place in the side ahead of John Heitinga.
Darron Gibson: 6/10
Gibson's afternoon ended prematurely when he was brought off injured at half-time. He appeared to grimace after taking a free-kick, and Everton fans will be holding their breath that his withdrawal was only a precaution.
The Irishman had not enjoyed his best half in an Everton jersey, but Wigan managed more control of the middle third with Gibson off the park.
Thomas Hitzlsperger: 6.5/10
The German showed some intelligent passes and neat touches yet never quite seized control of the midfield battle.
It has to be said his delivery from corners was exceptional, and he almost broke the crossbar with a 40-yard howitzer; however, Everton looked far more compact after his substitution.
Leon Osman: 7.5/10
Another impressive performance from Osman, who became the game's most influential performer once he was deployed back in a central area.
His goal was scruffy, but his nimble feet and deft movement created the opening and he deserved some luck after a disallowed strike at West Ham. His ability to maintain possession in crowded areas only seems to get better, and few opposing players possess quicker feet.
Steven Pienaar: 7.5/10
Pienaar continued his recent run of form with another impressive showing.
He dictated many of his side's attacks, linked up well with Baines and was always asking Wigan questions in dangerous areas. He was extremely prominent in the final third, passing almost twice as much as any of his teammates.
Victor Anichebe: 6/10
The powerful Nigerian was committed, yet his performance lacked quality in and around the penalty area as he was unable to hit the target with any of his five shots.
In the air, Anichebe was Everton's most effective player—winning six aerial duels—but he was also his side's least accurate passer, finding a teammate just 65 percent of the time.
Nikica Jelavic: 6/10
Another game without too many openings for Jelavic, who seems to have lost both his lethal touch and positional instincts as of late.
While he created two chances and was more involved than in recent weeks, he was also dispossessed more than anyone else on the pitch and never linked up play well enough.
Steven Naismith: 6.5/10
On at half-time, Naismith committed to his role admirably. He never lost his position or opponent and ensured Wigan's left was considerably quieter with his influence ahead of Neville.
Eager to impress after being recently dropped, he also appeared lively in the final third and won Everton important territory late on with a couple of well-timed aerial challenges.
Bryan Oviedo: 6/10
Oviedo was brought on with Heitinga for the final 20 minutes to help combat Wigan's growing midfield supremacy.
As he has in most of his cameos, the Costa Rican looked energetic, scurrying after Wigan players when not in possession. He may well come into contention to start against Chelsea.
John Heitinga: 5.5/10
The Dutchman was introduced to condense the space around Everton's back four and did his job well enough. He was faultless for Wigan's goal but barely made an impression.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!