FA Cup Preview: Arsenal v Everton
By Football News
The prospect of silverware draws ever closer for success-starved Arsenal as the London club welcome Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
It is getting on for nine years since Arsene Wenger's men lifted a trophy and, with Arsenal's Premier League title hopes hanging by a thread, a repeat of their 2005 FA Cup triumph looks to be the most likely route to glory.
But Everton's wait has been even longer after the much-lauded David Moyes' era passed without a major honour, although 2009 did bring a Wembley trip that ended in a 2-1 loss to Chelsea in the final of this competition.
While Moyes toiled fruitlessly to add to Everton's trophy collection, successor Roberto Martinez led Wigan Athletic to FA Cup victory with a shock 1-0 win over Manchester City last May.
The Spaniard can carve out a unique piece of history if he can repeat the feat with Everton as he will become the first manager to win back-to-back FA Cups with different clubs.
But he must mastermind a rare Everton win on Arsenal's home soil if he is to continue the Merseysiders' progress without the need for a replay.
Everton have not won at Arsenal in their last 19 visits in all competitions, but they have managed draws in the last two trips.
Martinez's personal recollections of facing Wenger's men in their own back yard will not fill him with much confidence, having seen Wigan relegated at the Emirates Stadium only three days after that famous Wembley win against City.
The hosts' record at this stage of the competition is almost perfect, with Arsenal having won 10 of their 11 FA Cup last-eight ties, the only defeat coming at the last attempt in 2011, when Manchester United won 2-0.
Everton fell at this hurdle last season when Wigan scored three times in as many first-half minutes to claim a 3-0 victory at Goodison Park.
Arsenal will be looking for a response to last Saturday's 1-0 loss at Stoke City and Martinez is wary of the threat the hosts will pose.
"There's never a good or bad time to face a top team," he said.
"We admire them immensely, they had a disappointing result at the weekend but that doesn't change anything.
"They're as good as anyone when they get on the ball and we'll have to be at our best, but if you want to win a competition like the FA Cup you have to find a way to be effective against a team like Arsenal."
Martinez's compatriot Joel Robles has started every round in goal for Everton in their run to the last eight, replacing regular first choice Tim Howard, but Martinez refused to be drawn on whether that trend would continue on Saturday.
"When you've got a strong squad you have huge belief in every member," he said.
"Tim Howard has been outstanding this season, Joel is growing and benefiting from working with Tim and both keepers have been reliable with very good performances.
"The whole squad is always needed. The whole squad is ready, it's a glamorous tie and we're looking forward to it."
Defender Phil Jagielka is likely to miss out with a hamstring injury, while Antolin Alcaraz (groin) is back after a five-week absence.
Jack Wilshere took a heavy blow to the foot in England's 1-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday, but insisted afterwards that he had only suffered bruising after having a scan.
Fellow midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who has not played this year, remains sidelined with a thigh injury.