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Impossible It Is Not

By James Boden :  15/04/2009 :  Comments (31) :

So here we are ? just 4 days away from what will be our 24th semi-final but incredibly our first for 14 years. It has been quite the journey we have had to this semi. If someone had said to me at the start of this season that I will be going to Wembley to watch Everton, I would have said we don?t have a hope of making it further than the 3rd round ? never mind as far as the semi-final. I can feel cup fever running through my veins.

But I for one have been taken by surprise. Now in all honesty, I find it ridiculous that semi-finals are played at Wembley. It ruins the prestige of the competition when you can play at the Wembley without having to make the final. The whole point is meant to be the want to make it to the final because then you made it to Wembley. By staging semis there, it eases the pain should you lose because you have seen your team play at Wembley while not suffer the indignity of losing in a final. With that being said, since I have a ticket for Sunday, I am not complaining now but I am sure many can see my point. This will be better than going to watch the Milan Derby (which I would recommend to anyone) but hopefully this will not be as good as it gets. Hopefully we will be back there on May 30th.

The thing is, can it be done? United as of late have been very shaky, to say the least, and if ever there was a time to beat them now it is. They cannot stop conceding goals at the moment and, while they may be the best team on the planet on paper, at this moment they are certainly not playing like it. They no longer have that invincibility about them; it has been replaced with vulnerability. It was only a couple of months ago you could bank on United winning with a clean sheet, they looked unbeatable. But now the tables have turned and they are there for the taking. Their weaknesses must be exploited.

For me the main weakness in their team at the moment is Patrice Evra. He has been caught dallying several times as of late and that?s where Dan Gosling comes in. He is the one to combat Evra?s attacking threat and exploit his defensive weakness. Forget a slow, plodding Leon Osman ? he will hand Evra a field day. A young, energetic Gosling on the other hand will be a pain in the arse. With him playing Evra will probably get frustrated with someone constantly up his arse put pressure on.

Of course I would be silly to suggest Moyes will actually do this but, as far as I am concerned, if Osman plays we may as well kiss our hopes goodbye. If Moyes decides it is time to drop this clown and play a youthful Gosling, then we have a shot.

Another player that is worrying me at the moment is Howard. He has consistently been making mistakes for a few months now and against Villa in particular he had a shocker. It was around the time of the United game that he started a couple of great months; let us hope he rediscovers his form Sunday.

However, there are positives to take into the game. Cahill usually delivers when it counts, Saha has tremendous quality and Fellaini may have found form at the right time. The Mancs cage has been rattled and we can rattle it further.

We have waited long enough to get here but let it be the first of many great moments to come. I don?t think people really give us a hope and being the huge underdog will do me just fine. We were underdogs in '66 and '95 when we played United and look what happened. When I toured Wembley back in December and touched the FA Cup, I said ?Phil Neville will be lifting this in May?. And the tour guide, some no-mark player from the late 70s replied ?Phil Neville, haha?.

And while I am at it I wouldn?t recommend the Wembley tour either ? it was just easy for me because it was cheap as I was on a college trip and didn?t have far to travel. But it is nothing exceptional and certainly couldn?t hold a candle on our tour that is for sure.

The feeling we will all get if we win Sunday will be indescribable, I wonder if we will release a cup final song? I say if we get there forget a repeat of All Together Now, that is history. Elton John?s - I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues would be fitting especially since we had that to sing in 84. Or maybe Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Hey, doesn?t everybody want to be the best? That song probably wouldn?t be out of place either. However, that is just a dream but as the song says we can dream (Everly Brothers - Dream in case anyone gets confused).

I am so excited I can feel cup fever running through my veins and one way or another this will be a day none of us will ever forget.

COME ON YOU BLUES ? WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED

Reader Comments

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Nick Entwistle
1   Posted 15/04/2009 at 16:37:53

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I can?t say I feel the cup fever. In fact I felt more cup fever back in 95 in the 3rd round... Bristol City? But that?s the cynic in me who thinks the cup was sold off with its prestige years ago... Still, it can be done and I look forward to the game...
Steve Williams
2   Posted 15/04/2009 at 17:50:15

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For goodness sake, show some originality and change the record re Osman.

Gosling is nowhere near ready. I hope one day he will be, but this week or next isn’t it. He played well against the poorest Boro side in memory (but still showed a lack of composure to miss three sitters) and had a half hour cameo against a tiring 10 man RS at home. He has shown a considerable lack of ’know-how’ in all the other games he’s played. He’s not ready for a game this big and to throw him in would be a gamble of enormous proportion.

I’d stick with Osman who has played well of late (including at Villa). We will need all our expereience if we are to get through. Possession of the ball is going to be the key on Sunday and like it or not Osman is more comfortable in possession that Gosling. Even going forward, I’m not sure how a rookie right back will steal a march on an established French international.

In fact, the pressure point to attack is their right back whoever it may be. That is the weak link so this may just be the game for Pienaar to produce the goods instead of flattering to deceive. Follow on from Villa please and we may just be smiling come Sunday night.
Andy Crooks
3   Posted 15/04/2009 at 18:50:55

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So,James. you think the selection of Osman could well decide the game.For Gods sake give the guy a break.He may have his limitations but he is one of the few player we have who might actually create something or score a special goal.We will win on Sunday and Osman willscore!
Tony Marsh
4   Posted 15/04/2009 at 19:12:00

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James is right to worry about Osman playing in the semi against the Mancs. I was at Villa on Sunday and yet again Leon was invisible for most of the game, in fact I forgot he was on the pitch in the second half. No matter how poorly this kid plays he is never dropped or pulled off and I just don't get it.

If Osman does play on Sunday then we effectively take to the field with 10 men ? that's how serious this is. We need every player at the top of his game to stand a chance and we can not afford passengers. Leon has been a passenger all season and doesn't deserve a shirt.

Why have a go at James when he is making a valid point just because none of you have any ammo to defend Osman with?
Gerry Western
5   Posted 15/04/2009 at 19:37:46

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Paul, you’ve hit the nail on the head our Achilles heal will be Osman if he’s selected to play wide right. He’ll offer nothing from that area of the park and once again the team will be unbalanced as we were against the Villa. Evra is a terrific wing back and will readily exploit the acres of space vacated by Osman. With Howard experiencing one of those periods of uncertainty, the last thing we need now is for anyone to be given license to get crosses into the box. It could get worse if Ferguson decides to switch Ronaldo.

It may be a bridge too far for Gosling but I agree just about anyone would be an improvement on Osman in that position and who knows Gosling may just seize the opportunity. I suspect Moyes may well have a rethink following the weekend debacle with Hibbert who unfortunately became the fall guy. He may well opt for five in the middle in an effort to accommodate Osman and to compensate for his shortcomings.
Andy Crooks
6   Posted 15/04/2009 at 20:51:08

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Tony,I generally respect your views but to suggest that playing Leon will mean taking to the field with ten men is an absurd over-reaction.
Osman scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen at Goodison park .In the absence of Arteta he is the only player we have who can provide the little passes that can put someone through.Most importantly,despite the stick he doesn’t hide.I believe that on Sunday he will answer his critics and at least,Tony,I know you are a man who will admit he was wrong.
Matt Bone
7   Posted 15/04/2009 at 22:38:24

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Osman is nowhere near as bad as many on here make out. I?ll happily admit he is no Arteta but he does try and create things. He does try and beat his man and does try to play killer passes. Sometimes (and perhaps too often for him to be considered a really good player) the things he tries dont come off. He will start Sunday against the Mancs as in case you havent noticed, we are short of players and have no-one else really capable of playing ahead of him ? Gosling isn't ready and Shandy isn't trusted.

Guess it all depends on Saha ? if he?s not fit then we may be reverting to 4-6-0 with Rodders coming into the middle with Capt Pip. If Saha is fit then 5 man midfield with Rodders missing out. Same back four who started against Villa.

Denver Daniels
8   Posted 16/04/2009 at 00:30:32

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Here we go again....

So if we play Osman, we lose, but if Gosling plays, we’ll win. If only it where that simple. Mate, give it a rest will you.

If Gosling was that good, he’s be playing instead of Osman. Moyes sees these guys in training everyday, watches them play each game. He get’s paid the big bucks to make these decisions, so shouldn’t we trust him to?

I’m not sure where all this animosity towards Osman comes from, but it seems like he’s the fall guy whenever we have a bad game. Nevermind there’s 10 others.....

I agree that Evra is their weak link, but Fergie will probably sort that one out before the semi, so he may not even be playing.
Stewart Littler
9   Posted 16/04/2009 at 02:54:38

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Leon Osman is far better than Dan Gosling ? I know the kid scored against the RS and for that he is guaranteed to be remembered (especially if we go on to win the Cup) but apart from that, I have to say that I think he has been poor in the games he has played. But I?m not getting on his back ? he?s 19 and still has a lot to learn.

Osman played very well against Wigan, scoring one, getting an assist, and providing the telling ball for the other two, and whilst he was not as good at Villa, he still offers our team a lot, both going forward and back. I do agree that this is an area of the pitch we need to strengthen if we are to move forward (though I also think Osman will and should continue to be a major part of our squad), but FFS, playing an amateur in a Cup semi final instead of a proven Premier League player ? who let's these people post shite like this???

Tony ? I know you are not a fan of Osman?s, and you?re entitled to your opinion, and have had good reason at times this season to hold that opinion, but realistically, at this moment in time, who is the better option? Please don?t say Gosling or VdM cos I always read your articles and comments with interest and whilst I usually disagree, I can see your point and have respect for that ? playing either of these two would be suicide.

John Sheron
10   Posted 16/04/2009 at 09:13:31

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Osman is in poor form at the moment and, if the squad was larger and more established players were available, then I would be confident he would be dropped. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

If he continues to play below average then Osman can expect to warm the bench next season if a couple of midfield recruits arrive in the close season. Between now and then I fully expect him to play on Sunday and pray that he has a stunner.

Howard Don
11   Posted 16/04/2009 at 09:39:07

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It never ceases to amaze me how bandwagons get underway to focus on knocking one particular player. Leon Osman is never going to be Fabregas but he IS a good and important player for us. OK he wasn’t at his best before the international break but anyone who chose to read the papers would have known he was playing through an injury for the cause. Against Wigan he looked a different player after getting some real fitness back.

To suggest we take the field with only 10 men if Leon plays is ludicrous, I’ll say it again absolutely, completely ludicrous nonesense.

One thing is for sure none of our squad nor the United squad nor SAF will be looking on Leon as a waste of space. Far fom it.
Alasdair Mackay
12   Posted 16/04/2009 at 09:41:41

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It is unbelievable how divisive Leon Osman is! People either love him or hate him.

Personally I find it amazing that anyone could have gone to either of the last two games and not seen the good side of Leon Osman. He was terrific against Wigan and played well against Villa as well. He is a very good short-range passer, has bundles of energy and he is good at retaining possession against the odds.

He is never going to try a 75-yard Hollywood pass, but he is capable of a goal of real quality. Remember Watford away a couple of season ago, Portsmouth at home the year before that. Sunderland at home last season and the two goals in Europe?

Osman is a good player. I actually prefer him to Fellaini, but then I appreciate someone who works hard and never gives up and ? for all the goal-scoring ability, aerial prowess and technique ? willingness to put in a shift is not an attribute Fellaini appears to possess.

Tom Owen
13   Posted 16/04/2009 at 10:22:05

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The last couple of games when Leon as been playing in the Right Midfield role, he has been playing far too deep. How many times did you see him come out wide against Stoke at Goodison? Zero times. This makes the midifeld deep and results in a ?hoof? as there is no room to pass it about like we would like to.

This is evident against the likes of Stoke, Blackburn, Pompey & Newcastle. Maybe that was a tactic used by Moyes so let's not have a go at Leon. In our last two games against Wigan & Villa. He hasn?t been as deep as usual and so there as been more space in the midfield to pass it about. Against Villa, we passed it around brilliantly and it was a joy to watch.

Obvisouly Leon hasn?t showed the form like he did last few seasons were he would take on people with his quick feet and get on the score sheet. I may be wrong but I?m sure he is carrying an injury ? but should he be playing then if he has an injury??? Hopefully he will rise to the occasion and have a good game and shut those boo? boys up at Goodison.

As for the debate of Wembley as a semi-final. I don?t mind it too much but would rather it would of been played at Villa Park or City?s ground. It takes the excitement out of the final now with the semi-final being at Wembley. The reason is obvious that they need to pay for Wembley. In other words, its been ruined by money.

Finally, I?m in disbelief to see that they have Arsenal and Chelsea playing on the Saturday when they live in the same city as Wembley when United and Everton fans have to travel all the way down and hurry back home to get to school/work on time for Monday. Would've made much more sense switching the games but NO, Setanta, ITV and the FA had other ideas.

Richard Parker
14   Posted 16/04/2009 at 10:37:42

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Utter pish. If Osman plays we lose.... any valid points you made were quickly undone with that ridiculous claim.

Ossie has been on pretty poor form, fair enough, but he did well against Villa and he’s far more likely to create or score that Gosling is. Gosling has looked average at best, even against the shite, but that goal suddenly makes him a world beater.
Mike Gatting
15   Posted 16/04/2009 at 11:09:28

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The only way I can see Gosling starting is if we have Saha missing and so have to play with Tiger Tim up front. Then my team would be...
Howard
Hibbert Jagielka Lescott Baines
Neville Osman
Gosling Fellaini Pienaar
Cahill

Most may disagree with me here, especially with putting Osman so deep in the centre of midfield. But does anyone remember where he was playing when we went on that great run of games last season? He was pretty much next to Carsley in front of the back four, giving the defenders an option to play the ball along the floor instead of the hoofball.

While where on the subject of hoofball, and all those people that moan about it on here, did anyone see we only play the 10th most longballs in the league. The redshite were top.

Alan Kirwin
16   Posted 16/04/2009 at 11:55:51

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Sorry James, just to double-check, in advocating that Moyes starts with Gosling instead of Osman against ManU at Wembley, you are taking the piss are you not?

Like most players Osman has limiations. But he also has virtues. He has struggled with an injury all season and only in the last 2 weeks has he been able to train on 2 consecutive days. Oddly enough, this has coincided with him playing well in 2 important games for us.

It is odd that a number of Evertonians blame him for everything except global warming. Even more odd that a manager who yet again is in competition for Manager of the Year, and almost every good football writer that I read (I don?t do tabloids) consuders Osman?s role to be pivotal in Everton?s new expansive & passing football style.

Clearly all these professional observers, and indeed our own manager who sees him every day (if he can train) are wrong. I just don?t understand why David Moyes doesn?t call you guys regularly to ask for further advice on picking the team. I thought he?s played really well last 2 games & is an important creative source for us. Just shows what I know.
Damian Wilde
17   Posted 16/04/2009 at 12:28:45

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You don?t half talk some shit Tony. Were you moaning about Osman when he was superb against Wigan, alonside Fellaini, the best player on the pitch?? Didn?t hear you moaning then? He?s played well in other games and most of the time makes a good contribution to the Everton team.

He?s been supwerb in many other seasons (awesome the season we finished 4th). Do you remember last season when we started playing shite? Who was injured? Osman. Before that he was playing great in that midfield alongside the others.

Some of you moaning about Osman haven?t got a clue. Good player, look forward to seeing him play at Wembley. As I said in a previous post, thank fuck some of you lot don?t pick the side and that Moyes does. Let?s stop moaning for once and get behind the boys. COYB.

Tom Brown
18   Posted 16/04/2009 at 13:26:44

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There are differing opinions on Osman. I happen to be a supporter though I think in the summer I would be looking for a new midfielder and Osman would then drop out of the first team and become useful pressure for places/squad player.

However, the point of my post is... callling him a CLOWN is well out of order. Those two Rangers players are clowns. Barton is a clown. Osman might not be doing it for you but he has done nothing to deserve insults. He?s on our side, you know....
Gary Sedgwick
19   Posted 15/04/2009 at 23:44:10

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I agree with James regarding Wembley. It should be reserved solely for the final. Why cannot the FA come up with a deal with owners of Cardiff Arms Park which turns out to be a win/win solution for both? Or with the owners of Murrayfield? Or the owners of Twickenham? Or with all three? I understand the financial reason why Wembley is used for the semis but do the FA understand the fans?

Cardiff Arms is a fantastic stadium and was a great substitute during Wembley's interim period. Murrayfield and Twickenham also appear quality stadia. Surely some financial arrangement could be agreed with the other three stadia? A three year rotation whereby each stadium hosted a semi-final two years every three. A neutral, quality, national venue each time ? but not Wembley.

Some may argue the semi-final is possibly the best chance they have of seeing their club play at Wembley and that would appear true in the current climate. Even our fans are hyped up for Wembley albeit for a semi-final. What does that say?

To me it says the Wembley venue is more important than the actual match. That Everton or any other team reaching the semi-final, the game is insignificant. We went to Wembley regardless of the final result. That is not good enough to me. Not as an Everton supporter and not as a football fan. Wembley should be a place to be revered. To be the ultimate goal ? not the penultimate. Fail and you can say you went to Wembley. Succeed and you can say you went to Wembley ? again ? to succeed or fail.

As a fan I was only able to attend a single semi-final match at Villa Park on that fateful day in April 1989. The anticipation of seeing my team at Wembley for a final was immense. I somehow feel the aura of Wembley has been lost but more so the anticipation that accompanies the semi-final matches?

David Woodhead
20   Posted 16/04/2009 at 14:46:11

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Lay off Osman ? let's not forget his terrific goal against Macclesfield set us on the road in the first place. We have fans moaning about Tim Howard but it was his last minute save which kept us in the tie. Both are honest professionals and I well believe both could be match winners for us on the day ? Howard saving us and Osman smashing in one of his specials!!
Jay Harris
21   Posted 16/04/2009 at 16:24:42

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As I?ve said previously, to single any player out of the current team is beyond the ridiculous. It is a team game and there aren't many complaints about the team?s success this year in spite of the adversities they have had to face.

The manager knows his best team and as he has stated Ossie is one of the first names on it.

People go on about Neville?s leadership qualities, Cahill?s drive and enthusiasm. Well, IMO, Osman has both and a fair bit of skill to go with it. He was supposed to have his ankle operated on mid-season and elected to wait until the end of the season, which was obviously not for his personal gain!! He has been able to train normally only for the last 2 weeks and despite playing out of his best position has to most of us acquitted himself well.

We always pride ourselves as Evertonians that we are born not manufactured so let's stop this need to pick on individuals and support the blues whoever pulls the shirt on.
Paul Lynch
22   Posted 16/04/2009 at 12:27:15

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Wembley Here we Go!!!

"Tell me mar, me mar, to put the champagne on ice, we're going to Wembley twice, tell me mar, me mar."

Come on the blue boys, do us proud and tonk the Manure 2-nil. COYB

Ian Tunny
23   Posted 16/04/2009 at 16:34:04

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Have to agree with the poster and Tony Marsh (for the second time ever and both on the same day! ? it's like waiting for a bus!) I can count the good games Osmen has had on one hand this season. Most games we have played with him in the side, it's been like playing with 10 men. People keep goin on about these goals that Osman scores an that he?ll bang one in next game, but the trouble is the same thing is said every week but it hardly ever happens.

I have been forgiving of him this season as he has been injured but this is all the more reason why he should be dropped, he is a liability. Gosling has looked 10 times the threat and seems to have a lot more energy and drive, always busting a gut to get in the box.

I try to bite my tongue because Moyes tends to get it spot on IMO and is very loyal to his players, which I like, and Ossie seems like a genuine enough lad... but sometimes it's so frustrating, he has been the weak link in the side for years and somehow continues to walk into the side.

In Moyes I Trust... I suppose, but this has been my only difference of opinion with the great man, so I guess I'll just shut up for another season and hope I start to see in him everything Moyes must see in him in training.
Tony Lynch
24   Posted 16/04/2009 at 17:18:14

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What a pointless article. Gosling is not ready to start in an FA Cup semi-final. More to the point ? he?s not going to.
Roger Osborne
25   Posted 16/04/2009 at 20:47:58

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I won?t be at Wembley to see the game so I will leave it to other supporters to cheer on the men who have something of a obstacle to overcome this Sunday. I still say that the final only should be at Wembley, not semi-finals... hell, Paul Rideout said himself today his thoughts on the choice of venue, and even he was less than pleased with Wembley as the choice for this upcoming fixture.

United will start as favourites, just as in 1995, and look what happened there. I fancy a repeat but maybe 2-1 instead of just a solitary goal being the difference. I would've liked to have been there among the blue masses this weekend but, whatever happens, I will be keeping track of events and hopefully we may just pull it off. Probably Chelsea in the final if we can make it, but then again it may just be the same line up as this year's European Cup final teams.

I wish everybody going to London to have a nice and safe day out and I look forward to seeing on here all the replies and thoughts about the game in the days after.

Also, I can?t stand anything red, but I have to give my sympathies and thoughts to the families and relatives of all involved at Hillsborough 20 years on. A tragic day that should never have happened. You have to let rivalries go at a time like that. RIP the 96.
Kiern Moran
26   Posted 17/04/2009 at 11:03:22

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I’m with Mike Gatting on this one and would go with his team selection. Bring Saha on if things get sticky and Rodwell to cement a two goal lead (well I can dream anyway). Should be a good game with a fair referee as Everton are passing the ball through teams at the moment.
David Brooks
27   Posted 17/04/2009 at 17:18:27

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Rooney talks about being an Everton fan.

http://www.zootoday.com/sport/archive/2009/04/17/wayne-ooney.htm

Ian Mullin
28   Posted 18/04/2009 at 02:21:02

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James, Do me a favour and do one .... Osman has been great this season, he has given his all and I believe has played really well in most games. Granted I do like Gosling but if you want to compare the two there is only one winner.... Osman.
James Boden
29   Posted 18/04/2009 at 14:39:16

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Ian, you hate fickle fans, well I hate gobshites like you who are blind to a crap Everton footballer. Great this season, haha, hilarious that is. Really well in most games.

You must be on drugs or very drunk every game because the Leon Osman I have been watching this season has been a poor excuse of a footballer. Two goals in 6 months, one of which was a tap in and hardly an assist.

How many times does he got caught in possession or knocked off the ball? Also add to the fact he cannot head and has little to no pace whatsoever I think I am entitled to say he is shite. And all this "he tries so hard, he loves Everton", blah blah blah.

My grandad would gives his all if he played for Everton but does that mean he should be picked? Fuck No. Everyone must be at their very best tomorrow and I do not see any signs that it will be the case with Osman. Hopefully he will make me eat my words.
COYB

Daniel Howard
30   Posted 19/04/2009 at 06:22:34

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If we get a penalty today, who will take it?
Jason Broome
31   Posted 19/04/2009 at 19:06:13

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Jagielka!


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