Arsenal v Everton
Everton boss Roberto Martinez says skipper Phil Jagielka is a major doubt for Saturday's trip to Arsenal - but reported that his international contingent have returned to Finch Farm fit and ready to tackle the Gunners this weekend.
Blues skipper Jagielka is suffering from a hamstring injury picked up in the build-up to last weekend's win over West Ham United but fellow defender Antolin Alcaraz is ready to return after missing six games with a muscle problem.
In total, nine members of the Blues' first-team squad were involved in the midweek games throughout Europe.
James McCarthy, Aiden McGeady and Seamus Coleman all played in Republic of Ireland’s 2-1 defeat to Serbia, while Steven Naismith was involved in Scotland’s 1-0 win over Poland.
Tim Howard represented the United States in their 2-0 defeat to Ukraine and Belgian duo Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku featured in the 2-2 draw with Ivory Coast.
On the Under-21s scene, John Stones played 90 minutes in England’s 1-0 win over Wales and Gerard Deulofeu got a 45-minute outing against Germany.
“It’s unlikely Phil Jagielka will be involved on Saturday,” Martinez said at his Thursday press conference. “With Phil we are going to give him as long as we can but if the game was tomorrow he wouldn’t be able to play.
“Apart from Phil and the long-term absentees, everyone else is fully fit and available, including Antolin.”
Arsene Wenger will be without Jack Wilshere after it was confirmed the midfielder fractured his foot in England's win over Denmark.
Wilshere was caught by Daniel Agger in the first half and now faces up to six weeks on the sidelines.
Similarly to Martinez, Gunners boss Wenger will be keeping his fingers crossed that the rest of his international starts return unscathed.
Left-back Nacho Monreal sat out Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat at Stoke City last week and he is again expected to be absent, as is Aaron Ramsey, the Welshman having not played since Boxing Day due to a thigh injury.
Theo Walcott is definitely out with a knee injury. The problem is likely to prevent him from participating in this summer’s World Cup.
Everton have never won at Emirates Stadium but they travel to north London buoyed by their two most recent displays on Arsenal’s home patch.
Back in December, Gerard Deulofeu’s late equaliser secured a 1-1 draw against the Gunners and Roberto Martinez, in his post-match assessment, said he had not seen a team travel to the Emirates all season and play as well as his Blues did.
At the time, Arsenal were flying high and Everton’s late leveller denied the hosts from commanding a seven-point lead at the top of the table. Now, Arsene Wenger’s side sit in third position after winning just one of their last four top-flight matches.
To reach the quarter-finals, Arsenal have seen off Tottenham Hotspur (2-0), Coventry City (4-0) and Liverpool (2-1) – all ties played at the Emirates.
Everton have made it into the last eight of the competition by beating Queens Park Rangers (4-0), Stevenage (4-0) and Swansea City (3-1).
Interestingly, the Toffees are now nine away matches unbeaten - excluding trips to Wembley - in the FA Cup, dating back to 2006 when they were defeated at Chelsea in a fourth round replay.
Steven Naismith is Everton’s leading scorer in this season’s FA Cup with four goals. This puts him level with Duncan Ferguson (2003/04) for most goals in a single cup campaign since Paul Rideout netted five in 1993/94.
Arsenal 1-1 Everton – December 2013
Mesut Ozil’s 80th-minute strike looked to have condemned Everton to defeat on their last visit to the Emirates Stadium in December.
But Gerard Deulofeu emerged from the bench to grab a richly-deserved late point, just four days after the Blues had toppled Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford.
In fact, Everton are now three matches unbeaten against this weekend’s opponents.
Last season’s meetings also finished in draws. Marouane Fellaini cancelled out Theo Walcott’s strike at Goodison in November 2012, while the return contest in the capital the following April finished in a goalless stalemate.