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Everton's late push for the top four of the Premier League was handed yet another big boost yesterday as the Toffees swept aside Arsene Wenger's Arsenal at Goodison Park. Goals from Steven Naismith, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas handed Roberto Martinez's men a 3-0 win, leaving Everton just one point behind the fourth placed Gunners, but Martinez's side have a game in hand and the former Wigan boss praised the fans and the players for their parts in the win.
“I think it was down to the atmosphere that the fans created. I’ve said it before that the Goodison effect is important for us. But then the performance of the players is one for everyone at Everton to be extremely, extremely proud of," said Martinez.
“I think it was the work of the last 10 months in evidence. We were perfect in everything that we did, the tactical awareness of every player was incredible and to play eye to eye with a team like Arsenal, who have been setting standards in European football for many years, is an incredible example of how our young players are developing and how special the senior players are at our football club," he added.
Left back Leighton Baines has been a mainstay of Martinez's side and his impressive displays have almost certainly guaranteed him a starting place in Roy Hodgson's England side for the World Cup this summer, and the 29-year-old acknowledged just how important Everton's win over Arsenal was.
"It is one of the best performances because of the commitment and desire to win, combining that with the quality we showed," Baines said. "It is a big win. We knew that if we hadn't won it was going to be a tough uphill battle to finish higher in the league but we have now worked ourselves into a position where it is in our own hands with the game in hand."
Meanwhile, former Toffees striker Kevin Campbell may not have made himself the most popular man on Merseyside in the aftermath of yesterday's victory, proclaiming that Arsenal - another of Campbell's former sides - should move to sign striker Lukaku, who is only on loan at Everton until the end of the season, when he will return to Chelsea.
"He’s young, he’s strong, he’s quick and he’s direct,’ he said. ‘What more do you need?"