“Until you play against a side like Arsenal and Chelsea, you don’t have the answers on the pitch,” was Roberto Martínez’s Thursday assessment, the Everton manager talking about Saturday’s visit from the Gunners (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC). On the back of an opening weekend draw at Leicester, the Toffees will seek answers against a team expected to compete at the top of the table.
“That’s what you need in football, to face this sort of opposition,” Martínez explained. “What we saw at the weekend from the opener is that we are very fluid in our possession. I thought the first half was a very good half of football.
“The only thing we need to change is maybe that mentality, to keep going forward and keep scoring goals in the second half.”
Beyond Saturday’s game, Martínez also gave an update on midfielder Ross Barkley, who was reported to be sidelined long-term with a knee injury. According to the Everton boss, those reports were premature, with swelling in Barkley’s knee preventing the club from making a firm assessment. Martínez did say his young playmaker suffered a partial tear of his medical collateral ligament, implying seven-to-nine weeks would be the short end of the recovery timeline.