Leighton Baines is on the verge of equalling a Premier League record after playing his part in Everton FC’s win over Burnley.
The Blues left-back crossed for Samuel Eto’o to head home the opening goal at Turf Moor on Sunday to take his top flight assist tally to 43.
Baines is now only one assist away from drawing level with former Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers defender Graeme Le Saux who holds the Premier League record.
Everton welcome Swansea City to Goodison Park on Saturday looking for their third league win in a row and manager Roberto Martinez says Baines is playing at the top of his game.
Seamus Coleman celebrates his goal against Villa with Leighton Baines
“Leighton has been at this level for a while now,” Martinez said.
“It would be very harsh to highlight one player because when you come to Turf Moor you have to have a team performance and I thought we had that.
“Even when the players came on, they picked up the tempo and helped straight away.
“But Leighton Baines in the last month – maybe even since the start of the season – has had the best performances of his career.
“It’s pleasing and exciting to see him playing at that level.”
Baines has six Premier League assists for the season but Martinez has been equally as pleased with the return to form of Everton’s defensive resolve. The Blues picked up back-to-back clean sheets last week for the first time since April but a loose Romelu Lukaku pass allowed Burnley’s Danny Ings to nip in and equalise on Sunday.
But Martinez has been pleased with the way his side have shored up at the back after they shipped 10 goals in the opening three games of the campaign.
“The reason we haven’t got more points in the table is because defensively we were not at our best early on in the season,” said Martinez.
“That’s something rare because it’s in our DNA to be very good defensively.
“Sometimes there is nothing you can do because you need a bit of luck – you can have a deflected shot that can either go into the top of the stand or the top corner.
“We are through that period. The players accepted it and wanted to work hard, and the result is three performances that were solid.”
Midfielder James McCarthy, meanwhile, says Burnley made life difficult for the Blues on Sunday.
“It was hard work,” he said.
“Burnley were really up for it. They have come up from the Championship and are looking for anything and they came at us at times.
“It was a real open game at times. But we took the sting out of the game and all in all, it was a really good team performance.”
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