Martinez aims for Manchester United scalp

Wayne RooneyManchester United's 12-match unbeaten streak after a dismal start has lifted spotlight slightly away from Moyes (Reuters)

Roberto Martinez's appointment as manager of Everton was almost overlooked amidst the fall-out of the club's former boss David Moyes moving to Manchester United to replace Alex Ferguson. Yet Everton travel to Old Trafford on Wednesday above them in the league and playing with a style which suggests they are realistic top-four contenders.

When the new Premier League season kicked off in August all eyes were on Moyes as he began the almost impossible task of succeeding Britain's most successful football manager.

United's 12-match unbeaten streak after a dismal start has lifted the spotlight slightly away from Moyes and it is Spaniard Martinez who is suddenly attracting attention. His side have lost only once in 13 league matches, are only below fourth-placed Liverpool on goal difference and thrashed Stoke City 4-0 at the weekend with a performance that showed the Goodison Park club have quickly adopted Martinez's philosophy.

A positive result at United on Wednesday and it would be hard to argue against the view that of all the changes in the managerial merry-go-round in the summer, Martinez's appointment by Everton has had the greatest impact so far.

Martinez, who led Wigan Athletic to FA Cup glory last season, says his side must now start to believe they can really mix it with the big boys.

BIG GROUNDS

"THIS week will have a huge bearing on our season," Martinez, whose side then go to leaders Arsenal on Sunday, told a news conference this week. "It would be very easy for me to play it down but we are going to go to Old Trafford and the Emirates.

"They are games that we are not expected to win but, clearly, if we want to achieve something special, we need to be able to break the mentality of going to the big grounds and getting some wins.

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