Aug 212014

Roberto Martinez insists Everton FC must prepare to face a fit and firing Arsenal on Saturday – and not expect them to be suffering from a European hangover.

The Gunners drew 0-0 with Turkish side Besiktas on Tuesday night in a Champions League qualifying play-off tie but Martinez says Arsene Wenger’s men have the strength in depth and experience to cope with two big games in five days.

Asked if Arsenal’s midweek commitments will help Everton this weekend when the London side come to Goodison Park, Martinez said: “It depends how you look at it.

“I’m looking at Arsenal with the experience and know-how they have and don’t think playing on Tuesday is going to affect them negatively.

“They have a big enough squad to cope with that and the mentality to cope with that.

“If anything it could be a positive because you can get rid of that rustiness and can get you into a real competitive frame of mind straight away.

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“You want to play teams like Arsenal early on in the season when they are not hitting their top potential but when you see them in Turkey you see them reaching full levels very quickly, and that could be a negative for us.”

He added: “We need to replicate the level of performance from when we faced them at Goodison last season.”

Martinez, meanwhile, has provided an update on the progress of Ross Barkley after the Blues midfielder suffered ligament damage in his knee last week.

The Everton boss, who once again played down reports of the England man being out for five months, said: “Physically he is such a strong boy and has recovered quickly in the first few days but the knee is still a little bit swollen so it is still too early to know how long it is going to be.

“It is an injury that can take a very different time depending on the person and I’m sure Ross will take as little time as possible.

“We are very pleased with his progress. He has his knee in a brace.”

The Everton manager confirmed that, apart from long-term absentees Barkley, Bryan Oviedo and Arouna Kone , he has a fully fit squad to choose from ahead of the Arsenal game.

Martinez also says there is no update on potential signing of Belgian teenager David Henen .

“David is a young man who has really good potential and a young man that could fit well into our structure,” he said.

“At the moment nothing has been done but it’s something we will maybe consider over the next two to three weeks. We recognise his potential but he would not be a player for the first team but a player more for the development squad and making sure he has a real future at the club, if we do anything over the next two of three weeks.”

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