Everton manager Roberto Martinez expects Arsenal to slip up in race for top-four in Premier League table

The Gunners hold the advantage in the race for the final Champions League place

Everton manager Roberto Martinez remains confident victory in their final three matches will secure Champions League football despite Arsenal holding the advantage.

The initiative, in the form a one-point lead, in the race for the top four was handed back to the Gunners after the Toffees' home defeat to Crystal Palace last week.

Arsene Wenger's side have the easier-looking run-in with games against Newcastle, West Brom and Norwich - compared to Everton's Southampton-Manchester City-Hull combination - but Martinez believes they will slip up

"I think it is fair to say, just looking at the last 15 years or so, fourth place is well below 76 points," said the Spaniard, whose side currently have 69 points.

"There has only been one season where you have needed 76 points for that (fourth) and on average it's always been a lot less points.

"You don't go far wrong when you look at the points tally. We are well aware anything around 72 to 75 points is Champions League football so we are desperate to try to make sure we get that.

"It doesn't matter who you are playing against or who you are fighting against to get into that fourth spot it's always the points tally that matters.

"I will go as far to say if you get nine points and you don't get into the Champions League, you can be proud and very happy any way.

"That's the target we are giving ourselves - how many points we can get from now until the end of the season.

"We have to make sure that we are fresh, we have recovered and look at every game as a unique opportunity to show what we can do."

Everton's small squad, already without midfielders Darron Gibson and Steven Pienaar, defender Phil Jagielka and strikers Lacina Traore and Arouna Kone, will be depleted further by the absences of forward Kevin Mirallas and centre-back Sylvain Distin.

Mirallas has already been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a groin problem sustained in Sunday's win over Manchester United while Distin is waiting to hear in the next 48 hours whether a hamstring injury has prematurely ended his campaign.

Martinez, however, rejected suggestions the size of the squad had contributed to the recent spate of problems.

"Sylvain has played a lot of games this season and has never had a sign of showing fatigue so I would say that was just an action in the game which resulted in an injury," added the Toffees boss.

"With Kevin Mirallas it is the last action of the game and it is an accident as he is trying to reach for the ball.

"I was well aware of making sure the last seven to eight weeks of the season was not a strain for a specific players, particularly the forwards, and we shared the playing time really well.

"I don't think any of the injuries are down to fatigue or lack of planning.

"In football you are going to get contact and sometimes you will be unfortunate but they are not injuries which are down to the minutes players have played."

Traore has featured for just 61 minutes in a single appearance since arriving on loan from Monaco in January and is unlikely to feature again.

But Martinez has not ruled out the prospect of retaining the services of the Ivory Coast international next season.

"We will sit down in the summer and review the situation," he said.

"I know Lacina is frustrated he has not been able to play more minutes for us.

"We need to speak to his parent club and see what their thoughts are but he is a very interesting player for us."

PA

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam