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Martinez: 'Arsenal will give summer's body of work a proper test'

Everton boss Roberto Martinez expects his summer's work to be put to the test as Arsenal visit Goodison Park this evening.

Martinez's side, who finished fifth in the Premier League last season, opened their new campaign with a 2-2 draw at Leicester last weekend.

Although frustrated to be held to a point, Martinez was pleased with many aspects of the performance and is encouraged for the year ahead.

But he accepts that FA Cup winners Arsenal, who are hoping to mount a stronger title challenge this season, will provide a greater yardstick for his side's position.

The intensity will not drop next week either, with Chelsea travelling to the blue half of Merseyside. Martinez said: "You need to face this sort of opposition.

POSSESSION

"What we saw last weekend is that we are really fluid in possession. The thing we need to change is that mentality to keep going forward and keep scoring goals. We didn't get that cushion that could have given us three points.

"But if you look at the positives of the first half - I am really excited looking at this game.

"It is true that until you play against sides like Arsenal and Chelsea you don't have the answers on the pitch.

"As a team we are ready. I feel pre-season was perfect, a real success.

"Now we have to make sure we are as strong a team as we can be. You can only see that when you face opposition like we are going to face at the weekend."

With a month of last season remaining, Everton sat above Arsenal in fourth place but they faltered and eventually finished seven points behind the Gunners.

This term they hope to sustain a longer challenge for a Champions League spot but Martinez expects the competition to be tighter.

He said: "The league is going to be a lot more open than people think. I see five teams with equal chances of winning the title and I think it is going to go come down to small margins. I expect this competition to be the tightest we have ever seen."

Meanwhile, Arsenal full-back Mathieu Debuchy believes Arsenal will be "incredible" once World Cup winners Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski have fully integrated back into the squad.

The German trio are expected to be involved for the first time in the squad for the clash with Everton, having returning to London following an extended break after their triumph in Brazil.

Debuchy, signed from Newcastle earlier in the summer, is confident once Arsenal have all their key men up and running again, they will prove a force to be reckoned with.

"It is fantastic for me to be part of this team. When I see the squad now and I think that Ozil, Mertesacker and Podolski are still missing, it is incredible. It is an amazing squad," Debuchy said.

"Playing with them is pure happiness, even at training it is top level. You have to give your best all the time because the level required is immense."

Debuchy has settled in quickly at right-back, the £16million France international filling the void left by the departure of compatriot Bacary Sagna to Manchester City on a free transfer.


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