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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Aug 23, 2014

Everton were phenomenal - Martinez

It's same old story for Arsenal and Everton, says FC's Craig Burley.

Roberto Martinez expressed his frustration at seeing Everton let a two-goal lead slip to Arsenal at Goodison Park, but believes that the 2-2 draw proves his "phenomenal" side can challenge the Premier League's top sides this season.

- Jolly: Three points from Goodison Park

The Toffees were impressive for long spells on Saturday as Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith put the hosts in control, but goals from Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud saw the Gunners take a share of the spoils.

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The Everton coach was disappointed with letting another lead disappear after Leicester bagged a late 2-2 draw on the opening day of the campaign, and while Martinez believes his side must be "more clever," he was impressed with how they took the game to Arsenal.

"For 70 to 75 minutes it was the perfect performance, very similar to the one we had last time [3-0 last season] against Arsenal," he said. "The first half was full of dynamic football. Scoring two goals should be enough to control the game in a manner we normally do.

"The disappointment is the result but the performance was phenomenal. For long periods it was a performance that deserved the three points. [There is] frustration because we didn't get the three points, but clear direction of where we need to work.

"We need to be realistic. The two games we have played, Leicester and Arsenal, we are the ones to blame for not getting six points. It is very frustrating but gives you a real excitement going forward. It gives fantastic potential."

Martinez admitted that the Toffees should have made their early dominance count, and thinks that sagging energy levels ultimately cost his side all three points.

"Scoring the third goal would have been the end of it," he said. "When you go 2-0 up, the other team throws everything forward and we should have been a bit more clever.

"We have three players who arrive later from the World Cup. It was a very demanding game for certain positions. Steven Pienaar's injury affected us because we didn't have an extra sub in the last 10 minutes.

"If it had finished 2-1 I think it would have been an incredible performance. The first-half display was as dominant as I have seen at Goodison against a top team."

Naismith appeared to be offside as he broke through Arsenal's defence to score Everton's second on the stroke of half-time, and though the coach admitted he hadn't seen replays of the incident, he also stated he side could have been awarded a penalty.

"I haven't seen it but I thought we had enough chances," he continued. "I never like to think about specific incidents. Kevin Mirallas has a clear one vs. one but he gets a flick from behind and maybe it could have been a penalty. We got punished by two goals of hopeful football and they deserve huge credit for that.

"We are not a defensive side. We want to get on the ball but to do that you have to have the energy to do that. The energy levels at the moment are vital for us to perform for 90 minutes. It was one of those situations where you have something to lose."

Romelu Lukaku -- who signed from Chelsea in a 28 million-pound deal this summer -- suffered a foot injury after Martinez started him on the right flank, but the striker apparently has a strong chance of being fit for the clash at West Brom next Saturday.

"Romelu has done incredible to last for 70 to 75 minutes," he said. "He has got a knock in his toe. I'm extremely proud of his attitude, he was immense for so long.

"I think it was the way we wanted to play and probably Romelu being left-footed and a profile where he has a lot of space, he is lethal.

"The reason we were prepared to pay a record fee is that he is a unique player. It is important for us to have flexible players. I will be very surprised if he is not fit for Saturday."

ESPN correspondent Richard Jolly contributed to this report.

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