Everton-Arsenal Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)

Everton will be looking to build on an historic midweek win as they travel to London to play Arsenal on Sunday.

Roberto Martinez's Everton (7-6-1) won 1-0 at Manchester United on Wednesday evening, beating their old manager David Moyes at the first time of asking after Moyes had failed to win at the Theatre of Dreams in his 11 years as Everton boss. That result vaulted Everton to fifth, just three points off second place in the table and with just one defeat all season.

However, Martinez wasn't getting too carried away after the game, praising his players but warning they will again need to be at their best Sunday if they are to beat league leaders Arsenal (11-1-2).

"It was more than a football game for us - it was about trying to get over the mental block that we have had for many, many years," said Martinez. "Someone told me it was 20-odd years since we won at Old Trafford. It was about being ourselves throughout the game. I couldn't be prouder.

"I told the boys afterwards that this gives a real indication of what can be achieved. But we need to carry on improving, carry on getting better. We all know every game is difficult. After the final whistle you collect the three points and the good feelings but you know you are starting from scratch in the next game in terms of having to work hard."

Sunday's hosts continued their sensational run of form with a comfortable 2-0 win over Hull City on Wednesday evening, keeping them four points clear at the top of the table and 12 points above last season's champions. Nicklas Bendtner made his first league start of the season and scored within two minutes of kick-off for the Gunners, and the much-maligned Danish striker later revealed that there is huge confidence around the squad.

"It's been difficult for the players who have not been in the team because we have had such great form and the players who have played have been magnificent," said Bendtner. "The way we play now, it looks like everyone who comes in takes it in their stride and goes for it. There were a couple of changes for this game and everyone did well.

"We know this is a very hard period coming up, but we are very much looking forward to it. We need everyone to focused and sharp. Let's try and get the points on the table."

Arsenal have injury doubts over Mathieu Flamini (groin) and Bacary Sagna (hamstring), while Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) and Abou Diaby (knee) remain out. Everton are without Leighton Baines (ankle), Arouna Kone (knee) and Darron Gibson (knee).

Everton will need to break another hoodoo if they are to return to the north-west with all three points. The Toffees haven't won any of their last 12 league matches against Arsenal, and haven't tasted victory at neither the Emirates nor Highbury since 1996 - losing 14 and drawing the remaining three in the red half of north London.

The league leaders have won six consecutive home league games and kept three straight clean sheets at the Emirates. Their tally of 10 goals conceded is the best defensive record in the Premier League, and the Gunners have let in just seven goals in their last 13 league matches.

This fixture was a goalless draw last season, while the points were also shared in the return game at Goodison Park thanks to goals by Theo Walcott and Marouane Fellaini.