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FA Cup

  • March 8, 2014
  • • 15:45
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 59719

Arsenal-Everton Preview: Gunners battling for FA Cup semi-final spot

Arsenal-Everton Preview: Gunners battling for FA Cup semi-final spot

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Arsene Wenger will be without midfielder Jack Wilshere, who has been ruled out for at least six weeks after fracturing his foot whilst playing for England on Wednesday

Arsenal could book their place at Wembley by beating Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger's men have gone nearly nine years since winning a trophy and, with the club's Premier League title hopes hanging by a thread, a repeat of their 2005 cup triumph looks to be the most likely route to ending their barren run.

But Everton's wait has been even longer after David Moyes's 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.

Moyes' successor at Goodison Park, Roberto Martinez, led Wigan to FA Cup victory with a shock 1-0 win over Manchester City last May.

The Spaniard could 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.

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But he must mastermind a rare Everton win at Arsenal if he is to continue the Merseysiders' progress without the need of a replay.

The Toffees have not won away against the north Londoners in their last 19 visits in all competitions but have at least recorded draws in the last two trips.

Martinez's personal recollections of facing Wenger's men away from home 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 that the hosts will pose.

"There's never a good or bad time to face a top team," he told reporters. "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 the Toffees boss refuses 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 declared. "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 is sidelined for at least six weeks after fracturing his foot during England’s friendly win over Denmark on Wednesday. Fellow midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who has not played this year, remains sidelined with a thigh injury.

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