Martinez: Ross Wasn't Ready
But manager thrilled with midfielder's all-action display.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez says Ross Barkley wasn't ready to play over 80 minutes against Arsenal.
Midfielder Barkley had been a doubt for the clash due to a calf problem sustained against Fulham, but was eventually passed fit enough to be named among the substitutes.
However, an eye injury picked up by skipper Leon Osman forced Martinez to introduce the 20-year-old with just nine minutes played – a scenario the Spaniard admits was far from ideal.
"Ross wasn't ready for that and I think that tells you again what he is as a player," Martinez told evertontv. "He's someone who probably 60 minutes would've been more the type of challenge he could have faced today. But that's what we've got with players like Ross Barkley. They just enjoy playing football, being a team player and doing the things that the team needs to be competitive.
"I thought his display had everything - understanding, tactical awareness and an incredible style in everything that he did."
First half efforts from Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku gave Everton a comfortable half-time cushion, before Mikel Arteta's 61st-minute own goal ended any threat of an Arsenal comeback.
As well as moving the Blues to within a point of their fourth-placed opponents, the 3-0 victory established a goal difference five better than the Gunners' - something Martinez feels could prove crucial come the final day.
Everton also have a game in-hand over Arsene Wenger's men, meaning Champions League qualification is now in their own hands.
"The margins in the league are so small that even goal difference is important," said Martinez. "Goal difference is an extra point.
"To score three, keep a clean sheet, keep the ball as well as we did, manage the game in the manner we did and have that threat in the final third is something to be extremely proud of."
There are only two chances left to see Everton at Goodison Park this season, with the visit of Manchester United already a confirmed sell out.
Don't miss out on the games against Crystal Palace (Wednesday 16 April, 7.45pm) and Manchester City (Saturday 3 May, 5.30pm). Tickets for both fixtures are now on general sale and can be purchased online here or by calling 0871 663 1878*.
Alternatively, visit the Park End Box Office at Goodison Park, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square.