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Blues and Reds get set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Tim Howard's rough season at Everton raises doubts about his Prem future

Tim Howard's performance has suffered a sharp decline since the highs of Brazil 2014.

He was America's sweetheart, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and called heroic by Barack Obama. His World Cup performance in Salvador in that tumultuous last-16 match July 1 with Belgium made Tim Howard a national name, 15 saves in a single match an all-time tournament record.

That night, Howard was "phenomenal, outstanding and amazing" in the words of U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann but in the time since Howard took his year-long sabbatical from international duty in August last year, such superlatives...

Roberto Martinez has Everton playing stale, uncreative dross

Stoke inflicted yet another defeat on Roberto Martinez's Everton on Wednesday to ramp up the pressure on the Spaniard.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez's trademark "we haven't got the results that our performances deserve" is a sure thing for anybody chasing a full house in post-match news conference bingo.

Martinez has resolutely stood by this mantra throughout the season, its delivery becoming as predictable as the tactics of the manager voicing it.

On this occasion, though, Martinez was right -- the performance in the 2-0 defeat at Stoke did not get the result it deserved. This inept, leaderless, shapeless mess...

Stubborn Martinez not making best use of Everton's strengths

Everton manager Roberto Martinez praises his side for their efforts in their 2-nil defeat by Arsenal.

Winless on their last 20 trips to Arsenal, this sequence of misery never looked like ending for Everton during Sunday's 2-0 defeat at the Emirates.

Two poor, entirely avoidable goals extend this alarming league form to one win in the last 11 league games. Just six points separate the Toffees and the dreaded relegation zone.

As it is has been throughout the season, there is a sense many of Everton's problems are self-inflicted. Yet another goal conceded from a set piece underlined this area of...

 By Nick Miller

Arsenal rebound from Champions League defeat with win vs. Everton

ESPN FC's Craig Burley talks Arsenal's victory following a rough week in the Champions League.

LONDON -- Goals from Olivier Giroud and Tomas Rosicky gave Arsenal an easy 2-0 win vs. Everton. Here are three quick thoughts from their Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

1. Giroud scores, still not enough for Arsenal

It is quite difficult to know what to make of Olivier Giroud. Watching him against Monaco midweek and even at points in Sunday's game against Everton, when he contrived to miss a virtually free header from about six yards out not once but twice, it's difficult...

Everton creeping toward a return to form in time to face vulnerable Arsenal

The ESPN FC panel discuss the necessary elements to a potential Arsenal victory over Everton.

At the start of the season, central midfield stood out as the strongest unit in this Everton squad. Then a crippling mix of injuries to some and a loss of form for others led to more questions than answers in the middle of the park.

That is why the current situation is sure to be a welcome conundrum for Roberto Martinez. For the first time in his tenure, Martinez has four genuine central midfielders available to him, each presenting valid arguments for their inclusion.

Darron Gibson has hit the...

 By John Culea

Fantasy preview: Week 27

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson previews a busy week of Premier League fixtures ahead, and suggests top ELP fantasy picks.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini looks ahead to Sunday's Premier League visit to Liverpool.

For the first time this season, all 20 Premier League teams will not be in action for a league game week because of the Capital One Cup Final. Cup finalists Chelsea and Tottenham are idle as are Leicester and QPR.

There is one game to check announced lineups in Week 27 before the ESPN FC fantasy game locks: West Ham-Crystal Palace.

Saturday, Feb. 28

West Ham vs. Crystal Palace

West Ham blew a two-goal lead at Tottenham for a disappointing draw in their last game on Feb. 22. Still, some impressive...