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Everton heaped even more pressure on Arsenal in the race for fourth place with a 3-1 win over struggling Fulham on Sunday. The win now leaves the Toffees just four points behind the Gunners, with Everton having a game in hand and the two sides face each other in a huge clash next weekend. Manager Roberto Martinez says he respects Arsene Wenger's side, but added that his side have a realistic chance of beating Arsenal on Sunday.
"We admire Arsenal and we know they've been getting consistently in the Champions League for the last 18 or 19 years," Martinez said. "That develops a real understanding of what to do in this sort of game.
"So for us the challenge against Arsenal on Sunday is phenomenal. When you speak about the league you always work hard over eight or nine months to see where you're going to be in the final eight games of the season. It's fair to say with the amount of points we have we've got a realistic chance to fight for that aim," he added.
Forward Steven Naismith came off the bench against Fulham to hit the killer third goal, and the Scotland international was grateful to manager Martinez for giving him an extended cameo against the Cottagers, and he proved his worth with the final goal.
“I’d had wee bits and bobs [of appearances] these last three or four games but I had a decent run today. It was a bit flat in the first half but I could see there were wee pockets in front of the back four," said the former Rangers man.
“When I came on that was what the manager wanted me to exploit and that’s what I tried to do. I managed to contribute with a couple of goals," he continued.
Meanwhile, the quest to replace Romelu Lukaku continues, with a new name linked today. Lukaku, Everton's top goalscorer this season, will return to Chelsea upon the expiration of his loan deal at the end of the season, and the Toffees have been linked with a number of strikers as they look to replace his goals. CSKA Moscow's Seydou Doumbia is the latest suggestion, but he could cost up to £15m to prise away from Russia.