How Everton Will Line Up Against Arsenal

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How Everton Will Line Up Against Arsenal
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Everton face the most important game of their season to date: an FA Cup quarter-final away at Arsenal.

The winner of Saturday's clash will return to Wembley and edge closer to collecting some long overdue silverware.

The Toffees have progressed past QPR, Stevenage and Swansea thus far, scoring 10 goals and conceding just one in the process. Arsenal's route has been much sterner, with Coventry, Tottenham and Liverpool all eliminated.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Everton impressed on their previous visit to the Emirates this season, earning a 1-1 draw after controlling the game for long periods.

 

Team News

During his pre-match press conference, Roberto Martinez revealed Phil Jagielka remains a major doubt for this match, via EvertonFC.com.

The central defender missed the Toffees' 1-0 win over West Ham and also sat out England's friendly with Denmark.

Martinez's relayed Jagielka's current status as well as the rest of his injury concerns to Everton's official website:

With Phil we are going to give him as long as we can but if the game was tomorrow he wouldn’t be able to play.

Apart from Phil and the long-term absentees, everyone else is fully fit and available, including Antolin (Alcaraz).

The long-term injuries mentioned are Bryan Oviedo, Darron Gibson, Lacina Traore and Arouna Kone.

 

Selection

With that team news considered, here's a look at Martinez's potential starting XI:

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Joel Robles has started every cup game in goal under Martinez. While he may return, the magnitude of this tiealong with the winner's potentially favourable route to the finalshould see a return for Tim Howard.

That would keep Everton's back five unchanged from the win over West Ham, with John Stones again deputising for Jagielka.

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Gareth Barry and James McCarthy will also continue in midfield, leaving the key decisions around the four attacking berths.

Kevin Mirallas missed the game against West Ham and will return on the right, presumably in place of Gerard Deulofeu. It very much seems a case of one or the other under Martinez.

To complement the Belgian's explosive qualities and balance the side, Steven Pienaar seems the best bet to start on the left.

Ross Barkley is yet to find form since returning from injury, and although Martinez will be tempted to use him, Leon Osman may narrowly keep the youngster out.

Barkley's impact as a substitute could still prove decisive in this tie, along with Deulofeu.

In attack, Romelu Lukaku returned with a goal against West Ham and will lead the line in place of Steven Naismith.

 

Key Battles

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Everton showed surprising confidence in their previous visit to the Emirates this season, occupying possession (56 percent), making over 100 more passes than the Gunners and taking more shots at goal.

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Gareth Barry was integral to that performance, taking the ball from his defenders and moving the Toffees around at pace. He made more passes (70) than any other player on the pitch, and Arsenal's midfield struggled to disrupt him.

The former England man was also a constant menace to Arsenal's attackers, winning the ball back seven times in one of his best all-round displays of the season.

Clearly, Arsenal will need to slow his fluency and limit his impact for the visitors.

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Elsewhere, Stones impressed in his last match but is likely to be targeted by the Gunners. He managed to contain Andy Carroll against West Ham, but Olivier Giroud will expect to win most physical exchanges.

Lukaku was often a peripheral figure during December's clash and will hope for better success against Arsenal's centre-backs.

Everton have often matched the top sides away from home without converting chances; his finishing will be crucial.

Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Everton

 

Statistics via WhoScored.com

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