Rafa Benitez says the "table doesn't lie" amid growing concerns Everton will get dragged into a relegation scrap.

But the Blues boss was keen to stress that a win over Arsenal at Goodison this evening would push his side back towards mid-table.

Everton kick-off tonight in 16th position, just five points clear of the bottom three, and with trips to Crystal Palace and Chelsea, as well as a home game with Leicester City, to come before Christmas, fans are increasingly worried about the team's position approaching the mid-way point in the season.

Benitez is refusing to shy away from the Blues' predicament after an eight-match winless streak but remains confident that his side will return to form in the second half of the campaign.

The visit of Arsenal will be the first game without Marcel Brands, who has left his role as director of football.

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Everton's injury problems are easing but Dominic Calvert-Lewin is not expected to play before Christmas but could be back for crunch matches with Burnley, Newcastle United and Brighton.

"The reality is that the table doesn’t lie but at the same time winning one game and you could be in the top eight," Benitez said.

"I still have a lot of confidence that we will do well and even if we have difficult times, and now is a difficult time, we will go through and be in a much better position. We will be in a much better position by the end and the fans appreciate that."

Benitez says Everton "have to be careful" with Calvert-Lewin's comeback after he suffered a set-back while Yerry Mina is in with a chance of being passed fit to face Arsenal, after missing the last six games through injury.

On Calvert-Lewin, Benitez said: "He is working with the physios and he will start training little by little with the team but we have to be careful because he has had a re-injury and we don’t want to take any risks. He has been an important player for us at the beginning and hopefully he can be a crucial player for us for the rest of the season."

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"No setback," Benitez added, about Mina.

"He has been training today [Friday], he had part of the training session with the group and that is a positive sign. Hopefully he will be back. Maybe he will be available for Arsenal. One thing is to be fit for the game and the other thing is match fitness, but he is doing well and the feedback after the training session was quite positive."