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Both Everton and Arsenal are chasing the final Champions League qualification spot and Sunday’s game could be a deciding one in the race for the hot fourth place.
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With fours points less, but also and one match less, Everton at their Goodison Park welcome Arsene Wenger’s men hoping to beat Gunners and cut the gap to just one point. Arsenal on the other side, could increase this gap to seven points, and from this perspective, this could be a defining match in the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League where for sure neither side can’t afford to lose this one, especially Everton and Martinez’s men if they want to keep the UCL dream alive.
Last three mutual encounters between these two sides ended without a winner, but in the FA Cup match , played a month ago at Emirates, Arsenal celebrated with 4-1.
Last five Premier league matches Everton won, and with a good boost of morale they hope to carries winning momentum over Arsenal, who with 5 away defeats so far in Premier league, will have to put some extra to win points at Goodison Park. Especially as the home side, is playing very well, having home record of 15 wins, 3 draws and only one defeat.
Everton manager, Martinez, believes his side can defeat Wenger’s men, and that FA Cup exist to Arsenal will only make his player to focus more in this match for which Martinez can’t count on captain Phil Jagielka (hamstring) and Steven Pienaar (knee).
“The game we played in the quarter-final of the FA Cup left us with a sour taste,” said the Spaniard. “And we need to make sure we use Sunday’s game to perform as well as we can.
“It (the result) could have a huge bearing (on who finishes fourth).
“We are fighting with a direct rival that we admire and respect, and are in this position every season – they find a way to perform in these big games.
To reflect Martinez, Wenger claims that this game wont decide anything about fourth place, and knows that Arsenal will have a hard task to defeat Evetrton this Sunday, despite tha fact that Arsenal have not lost at Everton since March 2007.
“It’s an opportunity to go forward and as well an opportunity to make a distance with Everton,” Wenger said.
“Everton are a good side, that’s why they are where they are.
“For us it’s very difficult to imagine the impact it will have on finishing fourth, but it’s a game we want to win.”
Aaron Ramsey return is a good news for Wenger, who can’t count on Jack Wilshere (foot) and Mesut Ozil (hamstring) while Kieran Gibbs (ankle) and Serge Gnabry (knee) are doubtful.
Team Probable lineups
Everton : Howard – Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines – Barry, McCarthy – Mirallas, Osman, Naismith – Lukaku
Arsenal : Szczesny – Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs – Flamini, Arteta – Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski – Giroud
[wptab name=’Video News’]
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