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Ross Barkley and Phil Jagielka Doubtful For Arsenal Match

Paul Thomas

Ross Barkley's departure at halftime against Fulham started the hand wringing, and today Roberto Martinez confirmed the midfielder was in a race to be fit for Sunday's important match against Arsenal. The young midfielder, who picked up a calf injury in the first half, will be monitored closely up to the match. It seems likely he will me a game day decision, and his absence would force Martinez to juggle the lineup a bit.

The good news is that the rest of the attacking force seems fit. If Barkley misses out, it is likely Kevin Mirallas or Steven Naismith will slot in behind Romelu Lukaku. Should Mirallas play there it would provide an opportunity for Gerard Deulofeu to terrorize the Arsenal defense. In the first league meeting the young Spaniard changed the game for Everton and was easily the Man of the Match.

Martinez also revealed that defender Phil Jagielkla was progressing back from injury, but that he would be easing the English international back into the fold. Muscle injuries can be lingering issues if they aren't allowed to fully heal, and Martinez has decided to take the cautious approach. With John Stones doing well as Jags' deputy, this is definitely the smart call.