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Osman drives Blues to Victory

No Steven Pienaar today, a big blow for Everton; he was replaced by Osman, playing wide left. Cahill played despite that injured knee, and David Moyes gave another start to Seamus Coleman in that advanced right midfield role. Everton slotted into the possession football on 3 mins, getting the ball out to Baines who crossed well but Cahill's header was straight at Ben Foster.

Everton incorrectly won the first corner that was delivered high, long and deep by Arteta, to avoid the big Brum defenders, producing some limited penalty area action. Birmingham were looking to break but Jerome was getting himself offside as Everton won a second corner looped way long to Fellaini... bizarre tactic, as there is no power on the header and the second header is powder-puff.

Fellaini caught Ridgewell with his elbow on a free-kick, but Arteta this time was way too short and failed to clear the first defender. Osman was linking well with Baines, who got a good run into the area but went down under pressure on the return ball from Yakubu. The Yak did better as left winger, crossing deep for Coleman to head back but to no effect, stealing the ball off Cahill.

Yakubu did well on the hold-up play but then elected to shoot instead of playing in Coleman as Everton dominated possession, but as ever, nothing to show for it after 25 mins. A better cross from Baines but Cahill was backing up and could not do better with his header that went well wide. After showing nothing, Jerome had a glorious chance as Jags and Distin let him through but his half-volley off a bouncing was poor and flew wide.

Osman did great to get the ball in for Yakubu and he benefitted from a defensive error to get a clear shot past Foster but the keeper had slowed it and the ball was somehow incredibly cleared off the line, Yak's shot in truth totally lacking in sufficient power.

Everton were pressing harder, Baines again looking to have been clipped as he dodged into the area. Some lovely football between Osman and Yakubu was spoilt by a poor poor finish from Osman when he really should have done far far better. After another promising forwad move, Carr brushed Osman off the ball too easily and galloped forward to set up a chance for Brum but their crossing, like Everton's was ineffective.

Half-time and Everton had again put in a decent shift but to no meanigful effect; too many looping crosses lacking power and drive; too little invention in the final third... Same old same old?

No changes into the second half Coleman and Osman looking to probe but getting in each other's way. Osman got a golden chance but wanted an extra touch instead of shooting first time and his shot was blocked away. A far, far better cross by Baines, lower and harder, was sent out for a corner by Johnson with Fellaini about to pull the trigger. Much better tempo to the game from both sides, Brum winning a corner that was well defended...

Everton looked brighter and at the other end, they got the ball forward with some pace for once, from a free-kick, Arteta to Baines and a clever low first-time cross from Osman looked to be going to Foster but Johnson bizarrely nicked it past him and into the net ? for Everton's first away goal of the season!!! Fully deserved based on the overall balance of play, which was well in Everton's favour, if symbolic in that a Everton player did not actually score it!!! Arteta finally had a shot from the edge of the area that was deflected away for a corner that was then totally wasted by Arteta. The chance to recover with a cross from Neville was equally poor.

Arteta gave away a silly free-kick, clipping Hleb, Fellaini defending it away well for a corner as Everton sustained some pressure with increasingly desperate defending. After weathereing that squall, Everton looked to strengthen their hold on the game but the towering Zigic came on to put more pressure on the Everton defence. Time to blood young Ross Barkley perhaps?

Coleman had been struggling to make much impression down the right, the game largely evading him, and when it didn't, the ball not running for him. Everton were thus not too convincing when looking to secure the second goal and they proceded to play rather nervously, letting Bowyer get close with an overhead kick. Carr than ran determinedly down the touchline to win a corner, from which Dann pushed over Johnson and then called for a penalty!

Heitinga was the first sub, on in place of Yakubu as Moyes implemented a "have, hold" policy that may be considered somewhat negative... McLeish pulled off Jerome but had two attackers now to Everton's none. Coleman went on a mazey run but lost his footing, and the respite was all too brief as Brum came back with another corner. Everton, unable to retain possession, drew Brum back into their area yet again, much to Moyes's annoyance, and Derbyshire should have done far better when he got through to the byeline, lashing the ball across and over the goal.

A rare cameo for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, who came on for Coleman in the last 5 mins. His first contribution was a foul and his second a big hoof out of defence as Everton clung on to their somewhat fortuitous lead. Jagielka did well to confound Zigic and then Hleb broke through but his cut-back was poor as Everton shakily cleared the ball repeatedly to the half-way line before once again surrendering possession.

Three minutes of added time saw more balls pumped toward the Everton goal, the Blues playing on their nerves. A floated Brum free-kick from the half-way line bounced easily through to Howard and finally Everton took the ball up the other end, Arteta wining a free-kick near the corner. As they looked to time-waste, Baines had no alternative when he ran to the byeline and fired in a superb cross that Cahill stooped to conquer, banging home a fantastic powerful header from close range that almost broke the net to finally set Everton on their way this season.

Everton were much the better side so the victory was fully deserved, ending an unbeaten run for the home side of 18 games at St Andrews going back over a year. So ironic that the best moment of the game came inadvertently when the last thing they wanted to do was attack... it's a funny old game!

Michael Kenrick     Posted 02/10/2010 at

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Reader Comments

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Kunal Desai
1   Posted 02/10/2010 at 17:14:15

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We need to take points from the shite next week and Spurs otherwise this result means nothing.
Paul Olsen
2   Posted 02/10/2010 at 17:15:12

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Think the headline is very misleading as to what you actually write. There are as far as i can see no mentioning of how Osman bossed the game.

Osman was indeed one of our very best today, but a different headline would be suitable here.
Jon Cox
3   Posted 02/10/2010 at 17:15:58

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Happy for the three points but still something lacking. Not fast enough on the counter. Lack imagination in the final third. We dont seem to have that killer instinct.

On the positive side at least something to take into the derby.

Michael Kidd
4   Posted 02/10/2010 at 17:24:41

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A win's a win and this three points I think will give us more confidence going forward. We have dominated most of the games we have played this season without much to show for it - due almost solely to terrible finishing. Still no goals for the strikers and Yak looked pretty poor today. Still can't fathom how Distin plays instead of Heitinga either. I don't want to rain on the parade and, at the end of the day, Moyes would say - we won two nil, but I thought the game was crying out for Yak to go off and Beckford on - give him a game when we are winning, for goodness sake. I don't like sacrificing forwards for defenders when one up - very negative and inviting more pressure.

And why bring on Billy with five minutes left? He brought him on a few games ago with three minutes left. What's the point?

At the end of the day, out of the bottom three - even if only until tomorrow and with the derby looking promising next week!
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
5   Posted 02/10/2010 at 17:28:53

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Some people are never fucking happy are they? Eh, Paul Olsen??? Not counting the title, I make NINE mentions of Osman in the text of my report. I think he only made me scream about five times, which is really good for him coz it's usually fifty times in a normal game.

Watch the game carefully if you have the chance: Osman was well involved in most of the decent stuff we did. Whereas Arteta, for example, once again was almost completely useless. (Although to be fair, the crucial first goal came from his free-kick played out to Baines rather than lofted uselessly into the area for teh umpteenth time.)

I can only tell it how I see it, and I would give Osman MotM. Hence the title.
Rob Murphy
6   Posted 02/10/2010 at 17:38:33

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Saviour the victory guys, we've been waiting long enough!!
Aiden Doyle
7   Posted 02/10/2010 at 17:38:31

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No Pienaar today, but the left hand side still functioned extremely well and managed to craft two well-worked goals against a side that hasn?t lost at home for an eternity. A few more performances like whilst Pienaar is out will seriously strengthen Moyes?s hand in the transfer negotiations.
Mike Allison
8   Posted 02/10/2010 at 17:46:12

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As someone who's argued with you plenty in the past Michael, I really appreciate the report, and thought it was plenty informative.

A more general point, is it maybe the case that playing on our left, with Baines supporting you, is a much easier job than playing on the right with only Hibbert or Neville for back up? Thoughts?
Michael Kenrick
9   Posted 02/10/2010 at 17:52:52

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Cheers Mike. Playing down the left, essentially in Pienaar's position and role as far as I could tell, certainly seemed to suite Ossie today. In fact, I'd say he did better than and was more effective than Pienaar in his role. He came inside plenty, and linked well not just with Baines but with the Yak as well.

Doesn't mean he won't be just as frustrating as usual next week; I'll hold my hand up and admit I'm one of his harshest critics, but I think he played well today, and could indeed have been the difference for us.
Nick Entwistle
10   Posted 02/10/2010 at 18:00:33

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A great result with a so-so performance against a poor side. Bodes well for next weekend. Not far off Europe and top 4!

Mark Williams
11   Posted 02/10/2010 at 18:00:47

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I'd agree with Jon Cox - I saw more than one promising counter-attack stopped in its tracks by a square ball when there was a front man ahead and a ball of some sort on.

I also saw, througha very choppy online feed, more low-percentage long passes from Jagielka, as in previous games. Rarely if at all do they seem to be effective. - Can anyone elighten me as to the managerial logic of this instruction?

But a great result is a great result. Well done Boys.

Michael (Kenrick) - good action on getting a report published so quick mate - my feed was so bad today I couldn't even have a solid opinion of the team performance tonight!
Kevin Hudson
12   Posted 02/10/2010 at 18:06:25

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Blessed relief - finger nails gone!

Considering Brum were 18 games without a home defeat, that was a job very well done.

Now bring on The Shite..
Marc Williams
13   Posted 02/10/2010 at 18:10:08

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Thank fuck for that, we're off the bottom !

I've come over all light headed & feel dizzy.... We're gonna win the league EE..I.. ADEDO, we're gonna win the league.

SHIT, I'm so happy I think I'm turning into Richard Dodd.
Michael Evans
14   Posted 02/10/2010 at 18:18:21

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Why wasn't the usual coach driver available ?
Pat Finegan
15   Posted 02/10/2010 at 18:28:21

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Captain Pip has been back at right back for the last 2 games. In those 2 games we've gotten 2 clean sheets, 4 points... Coincidence?
Mike McLean
16   Posted 02/10/2010 at 18:33:35

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David Hallwood
17   Posted 02/10/2010 at 18:40:45

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Good match report Michael, and agree with you about Paul Olsen#2, there are some TWebbers, who think that you should have a policy of using shite everytime you mention Osman
Jamie Tulacz
18   Posted 02/10/2010 at 19:00:29

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Good report Michael, and good to see Osman getting some credit for a decent performance.

Good to keep a second consecutive clean sheet. Still a bit worried about the performance of Arteta again, who looked well out of sorts, especially on set pieces and was playing sideways far too much. Think the Yak held the ball up well today, but still looks way overweight and his shooting is still under-par.
Nelaj Behajiha
19   Posted 02/10/2010 at 19:07:46

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I thought the fans were brillaint today we need that type of atmosphere for the derby it was really refreshing. I wouldn't be suprised if there was a few thousand USA flags in the crowd for the derby game. We're gonna win the league we're gonna win the league.
Jim Hillier
20   Posted 02/10/2010 at 19:34:51

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Only saw it on a (pretty good) live feed, and to me the performance was on a part with others this season where the result did not go our way. Still think our build up play and possession is pretty good, but we lack the edge in front of goal. The got the rub of the green this time with the own goal, and that made the difference. A bit of that kind of luck against Blackburn, Villa and Fulham, and we'd have six more points and be looking at a decent start.

Football's like that, of course, so I for one am very glad to have the points in the bag this time around. Thought Osman had a good enough game. MOTM? Maybe, so I won't argue the toss.

Come on Blackpool - play the game of your season and depress those Gobshites even more.
Colin Grierson
21   Posted 02/10/2010 at 19:57:03

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I'm glad Osman had a good game cos he's been getting some terrible stick. I personally wouldn't pick him as a starter but he must know that he's not a crowd favourite and to come out and produce a good display certainly gets my respect. Credit where it's due. It may also give Pienaar a much needed reminder that he is not completely indispensible. Come January it might help with negotiations!

Much needed points on the board. COYB
Ian Kearney
22   Posted 02/10/2010 at 20:09:58

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I wondered how long it take someone to attribute anything positive that happened to the worst player on the pitch. Captain Marvel.
Jamie Tulacz
23   Posted 02/10/2010 at 20:12:43

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Ian; must have been the inspirational 'rallying cry' during the week! :)
Mike Green
24   Posted 02/10/2010 at 20:10:32

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Pat Finegan - good call.

Pip might not be Cafu but I'm pretty sure our win rate when he's on the pitch pastes the rate when he's not. He's a leader and a winner and the team fight that bit harder when he's there and I think sometimes that's what makes the difference. Wasnt it Pips tackle on Ronaldo two seasons ago that kick started our season? He's the heart of our team.

Listened to the match on Everton TV so cant really comment on MOTM but fair play Michael Kenrick for giving Ossie credit where you think it was due.
Mark Scarratt
25   Posted 02/10/2010 at 20:27:56

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Much better
Fair play to Osman. He has had a lot of stick recently, deservedly so, and from me included, but in the interest of fairness he should be praised when he plays well as he did today, so well played Ossie.

Also in answer to post 11 from Mark, I actually thought Jags cut the long stuff out a bit more and played through midfield. He did play the odd long ball, but they were flighted into the front men, rather than the fast flat hoof that he has played recently. Also I can't believe he is told to hoof it, I just think he panics in possession when closed down.

Also Yak looked a lot sharper, and just needs a long run of games.

I also agree that we are better organised with Neville in the team in whatever position he plays. Arteta may be a good player, but he is not a captain

Let's hope we can keep this form going and build some confidence.

Oh, an international break next week, never mind...
Ciarán McGlone
26   Posted 02/10/2010 at 20:32:31

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If Neville's the heart of our team, then we need a transplant. Call me a purist, but I'd rather have someone who can play football over someone who has a big mouth...

Anyway... great result and a pretty decent performance... Credit where it's due. Osman had one of his rare moments today... a relatively error-free game. Pity he can't do that with any consistency.
Ian Kearney
27   Posted 02/10/2010 at 20:41:11

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If one more person attributes 'that' tackle to turning round our fortunes I swear everyone in my office should stay home on Monday, because that murderous rampage is on its way.

We still played crap after the Man Utd game that season, Wigan away being a particular lowlight, and it was the tactical decision to play Arteta in the centre that turned our fortunes, not a one-off tackle from a traffic director.
Mark Scarratt
28   Posted 02/10/2010 at 20:48:11

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Ciaran, nobody is suggesting Neville is the heart of the team. In terms of ability he shouldn't even be in the team, but he is a winner and has the right attitude and is a good captain. When he plays, we play better, and that is not because of his silky skills (he doesn't have any), but because of his attitude.

All good teams have that mix of skill and steel. We got played off the park the other week by a Newcastle side that have just lost at home to Blackpool and Stoke. We lost to Newcastle because we had no fight.
Ciarán McGlone
29   Posted 02/10/2010 at 21:00:46

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"He's the heart of our team"


Mark, that's a verbatim quote from above... So, it is being suggested that he's the heart of our team.

Someone also implied our last two clean sheets are somehow down to his inclusion at right back..a rather ludicrous suggestion considering that he's replaced the most consistently good defensive player we've had this season...
Mark Scarratt
30   Posted 02/10/2010 at 21:35:39

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Ciaran, serves me right for not reading all the posts. Got me there, but he does make a difference as I suggested (28)
Mike Green
31   Posted 02/10/2010 at 23:03:39

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Ciaran - thats the point, no one's saying he's Cafu but like it or not when he's on the pitch we win far more than when he's not. How would you explain that....?

Ian (27) - would that be the season Arteta missed the final third of due to injury......? And would it be the game before which we averaged 1 point per game and after which we averaged almost 2 until the end of the season.....?

Erm..... yeah... I guess it would be.

Sorry, but it was the defining moment in the defining game of our season and it was down to one Philip Neville. I'm not making it up - honest. I was there to see it with my own eyes but I'm sure you can see footage of it somewhere....

The point is Neville essentially made a statement that we weren't there to be fucked about and the players and fans responded to it. Which is what he brings to the table rather than a handful of stepovers that some would prefer him to have in his locker.
Ian Kearney
32   Posted 02/10/2010 at 23:28:41

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No it wasnt, thats absolute bollocks, just because Lawro said it on MOTD its been peddled around.

It didnt turn our season around we continued to play poorly after that match. and not until the tactical decision to play Arteta in the centre did we turn things around, and once he got injured we tailed off badly, with Neville still in the team.

He was awful today, and is on the way down.
Mike Green
33   Posted 02/10/2010 at 23:40:28

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8 points out of a possib 24 before the Man U match.

Games after the Man U match:

W W W D L W L W D W W W....

Would you take that 12 game run now?

Lawro? MOTD? Do me a favour.
Gerry Western
34   Posted 03/10/2010 at 00:43:57

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Those are pretty meaningless stats unless you ignore the other ten players and their contributions, not to mention those coming off the bench. Equally what of the other players who were missing from games and returned from injury.

We've just been knocked out of a cup competition by lower league opposition having played poorly but I guess it's convenient to ignore Pip's involvement in that one as technically speaking we weren't beaten in open play. I'd have preferred to have seen Hibbert at right back as I think he would have linked up better with Coleman.

Osman to his credit had a good game and combined well with Baines throughout the match. Very grateful for the three points, but lets not kid ourselves. Our two recent results have been against opposition who can't buy a goal. Talk of clean sheets and attributing these to the presence of Neville is well wide of the mark. For a start, it ignores the fact that Coleman playing in front gives added defensive cover where previously we had none. This was patently obvious in the Fulham game when Coleman had to bail Neville out. This highlights the flaws in using statistic's in this way. I'm not against the use of stats per say. However, they do need to be used with caution.
Gaute Lie
35   Posted 03/10/2010 at 02:17:15

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Good for Leon Osman. Besides Hibbert, he's the one that has gotten most of the criticism over the years. Not all without essence, I would add.

Osman is not a permanent star player. Unfortunately. But he has his games. This game was a good one for Osman, as for Everton. As for us all.

I've also critcized Osman. And will do again.
Sorry, Osman. Way of the game, you know?
You are playing for Everton. And I know you're heart is in the right place. Good enough for me. Just please be a star player more often, would you?

But I like yo
Gary Sedgwick
36   Posted 03/10/2010 at 02:12:44

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I usually keep thoughts about a player's performance to myself and have only posted one previous negative post regarding this topic. However...

Personally I thought the Yak was shite today. I admit to only watching on TV as I live in the US but here is my take on what I saw:

A player with a poor touch.

Running with the ball at a defender he pokes it forward with too much weight and possession is lost.

An easily controlled ball (for a player in the PL) which he allows to go out of play and then feigns disbelief.

Cahill sells an excellent dummy and the ball arrives at the Yak's feet who then does not look up and sees Timmy's run to his right and a chance goes begging.

A player who chooses to shoot when Osman was a far better option to his left.

When in on goal uses his left foot when his right would have curled it past the keeper (I know the defender may have still intervened but...)

A forward player that played too far out of central. I know this is caused by the manager's team formation but can he not sprint back to central areas rather than trot back to where he should be?

A footballer has to make quick decisions, that I understand, but for me the Yak has become too selfish in trying to get that first goal for him at the expense of the team.

My thoughts only and feel free to rip 'em apart!
Alun Jones
37   Posted 03/10/2010 at 03:52:50

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I cant believe the first post to this match report from Kunal Desai, what a brainless comment , we just won away at a ground where the home team have been unbeaten in 18 months!!! Also we deserved it!
I thought this was a good match report and fully impartial in giving Osman the credit for finally putting in a good shift, thanks Michael.

Neville: I am sick of hearing how he makes a difference, his main contribution yesterday was to give the ball away consistently. At the moment, Hibbert is our best option at RB.

Regardless of how we do over the next few games, let's celebrate finally breaking our winning duck.
Liu Weixian
38   Posted 03/10/2010 at 07:52:46

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I thought the Yak looked off the pace. He was a physical presence up front but his shooting and decision-making left a lot to be desired.

Give credit where it's due. Osman had a very good game. He had a few shots and it's always nice to see people having a crack at goal. His link-up play was pretty good too.
Kevin Roberts
39   Posted 03/10/2010 at 09:14:15

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Please all repeat after me Osman is shit, Hibbo is shit, Moyes is shit, Neville is shit and on and on and on. Boring isn't it

Great report I managed to watch the match on live feed and apart from short bursts from Brummies we controlled the game and the only difference from some of the earlier games this season was a bit of luck. Apart from magpies.

Paul Olsen
40   Posted 03/10/2010 at 10:18:57

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"Good match report Michael, and agree with you about Paul Olsen #2, there are some TWebbers, who think that you should have a policy of using 'shite' everytime you mention Osman."

You totally miss the point. I'm not out to bash Osman who was good. I was simply pointing out that when you use his name in the heading you would also expect a bit more lines on how he bossed the game?

To mention that i fail to see anyone that really stood out in this game is also not the point.

When the title is "OSMAN drives Blues to victory" one would expect Kenrick to deepen his sentiment a bit.

And again, no I AM NOT having a go at Leon Osman, just my opinion on headings.
Howard Don
41   Posted 03/10/2010 at 11:08:14

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Quite right, Michael, in many ways Osman looked more effective than Pienaar has been recently down the left. I wouldn't advocate it as a permanent change, but no doubt the lad did well yesterday.

On Osman knockers, the English summariser on the feed I was watching gave him MotM at full time. This almost exactly coincided with someone on the matchday blog posting something like "Another crap performance from Osman" ? Couldn't believe it.
Rob Murphy
42   Posted 03/10/2010 at 14:06:57

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I'd attribute the clean sheets more to playing 2 teams with shite strikers (or none in Fulham's case) rather than anything to do with Neville presence on the pitch!! Ur crazy. Ur crazy man...but I like you!!
Rob Murphy
43   Posted 03/10/2010 at 14:14:06

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Didn't see the game but curiously enough, Arteta was named MOTM after the game by the Premier League panel!!
Graeme Harkness
44   Posted 03/10/2010 at 14:25:27

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I was at the game and thought we won won despite David Moyes.His substitution of Coleman with Billy was laughable. Coleman put himself about all match and Billy's only contribution was to give the ball away. This was the view of all the fans sitting near me. Taking off the Yak as early as he did also showed a defensive mentality. I have said before Moyes use of subs is questionable and yesterday confirmed that view
David Price
45   Posted 03/10/2010 at 14:08:33

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Good report there, Michael, I liked how Osman turned us in to a 4-3-3 with his support inside to Yakubu and Cahill pushing on as well. It seemed to create space for Baines who attacked more direct.

Another game well controlled that could have easily have gone the way of the other away games so far. A bit of luck at last, which seemed to be going against us after the two penalty shouts when Baines was tripped.
Very good win but still the same problems with the cutting edge. Reliable on Cahill until Yakubu shins one in and gets his own confidence going. Solid at the back yet one error from Distin and almost a disaster.

Great support and Cahills gesture to the crowd when he scored spoke volumes on how he feels about the fans. Well done, Everton.

Paul Olsen
46   Posted 04/10/2010 at 03:47:33

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Well, Arteta did play his best game of the season. He's still inefficient, but much improved in this game.

His set-pieces are still trash though.

My MotM was Fellaini or Jags.
Kunal Desai
47   Posted 04/10/2010 at 15:25:39

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@37 Alan Jones ? why is my comment brainless?! We've won at a ground who have not lost for a year, well whoppee fucking do! Obviously you regard this as some achievement so far this season, how about the previous six games ? great as well were they??

The next two results will see if we have turned the corner I believe. One win doesn't make everything in the garden all rosy again.

Denis Richardson
48   Posted 04/10/2010 at 20:23:46

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Very glad with the points - performance aside it was nice to get three points at last.

For people who ask why Bily comes on near the end of the game, its not Moyes being clueless, its to do with his work permit. As a non EU player, he needs to appear in a minmum percentage of games that he is available for (around 75%), in order not to lose his work permit - hence brining in on with 2-5 mins to go is for him to register an appearance.

Although why Moyes would pay 10m for a player he does not seem to rate enough for him to start, is another topic.
Alun Jones
49   Posted 05/10/2010 at 02:33:49

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It's 'Alun', not 'Alan' by the way. And 3 points is 3 points and even if we don't win the next two games it's still 3 points!!! The team get a lot of stick when they lose but when they win the posts here should acknowledge a job well done. And despite the "whoppee doo", yes I do regard it as an achievement because it is!
Richard Tarleton
50   Posted 17/10/2010 at 20:21:16

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Never been a fan of him, but Distin today was immense. Positionally superb and intelligent reading of the game.

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