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Gibson and Atsu deserve their chance in Europe this week

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Due were the only two bright spots from Sunday's draw against Leicester

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

After the initial anger and frustration following Everton's performance against Leicester and Roberto Martinez's stubborn refusal to drop Tim Howard, my angry thoughts are slowly turning towards the coming week and fixtures against Young Boys and Arsenal.

Unpicking Sunday's mess has not been a pleasant experience, but it did unearth two - dare I say - positive aspects, namely the performance of a couple of substitutes.

The were a few raised eyebrows when Martinez threw on Darron Gibson and Christian Atsu for Ross Barkley and Muhamed Besic ten minutes into the second half. However, their introduction helped Everton assert a modicum of control before Howard's errors let Leicester back in it.

Gibson filled the void created by Gareth Barry's suspension, sitting in a deep position and using his passing range to help build attacks.

The Irishman was fantastic in the opening few months of his Goodison career before injuries struck.  The 27-year-old missed most of last season with a cruciate knee ligament injury before injuring his knee again last September.

The long-term impact of those injuries - that were so serious Gibson feared for his career - has yet to be felt, but his performance on Sunday means he deserves a start.

With a 4-1 lead against Young Boys on Thursday and a trip to the Emirates just three days later, Martinez will surely rest a few key names against the Swiss side, opening up the door for a Gibson start.

Atsu is also in contention after arguably his best display in an Everton shirt. Granted that isn't saying much, he has only made 11 appearances this season, four of those starts and just one of those in the league.

There were even rumours the Ghanian could be shipped back to Chelsea in January, freeing up another loan space in the squad.

However, the Africa Cup of Nations, a burden for most players mid-season, could prove to be an inspiration for Atsu. The forward won player of the tournament as Ghana reached the final and has returned seemingly revived and refreshed,

He looked bright and inventive on Sunday, more so than he has ever done, setting up the equaliser on 88 minutes to salvage Everton a point.

Everton's attacking midfielders have suffered this season, either through injury like Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar, or through lack of form like Barkley and Aiden McGeady.

Everton are crying out for a bit of incision in the final third of the pitch so there is a place in the starting XI there for the taking if Atsu wants it - and if Martinez is ready to give it to him.