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The Wizard of Os

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A few stats for you. Ossie now has 3 goals and 6 assists in the current Premier League campaign, from just 15 starts. Compare this with the late unlamented Steven Pienaar, who has just 1 goal and 1 assist in 23 starts for Everton and Spurs. What I've noticed in recent games is that Osman's been doing a great job of creating scoring opportunities for himself. Pienaar could never have scored a goal like Osman's against Villa.

Ossie's contribution goes beyond goals and assists. In the 15 games he's started we've got 29 points, compared with 18 points in the 18 games where he hasn't started. Nor is this just down to our revival since the new year. Three of our four wins before Christmas came when Osman was in the starting XI.

Not too much can be read into this kind of stat, because there are always lots of different factors contributing to the team's result. For me, it reinforces the impression that Osman has become more than just a hard worker: his overall contribution and influence on the game is as great as it's ever been, and there's no doubt that he's been instrumental in our recent good run of results.
Nick Wall, New Brighton     Posted 17/04/2011 at 09:18:18

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 17/04/2011 at 17:44:49

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Well, I thought I'd take a look at some stats related to your theme, Nick, and they would tend to reinforce your claim:

Player Starts Pts/Game
Gueye 2 3.00
Osman 15 1.93
Yakubu 7 1.71
Beckford 12 1.67
Neville 27 1.63
Rodwell 10 1.60
Coleman 22 1.55
Jagielka 26 1.46
Bilyaletdinov 9 1.44
Saha 14 1.43
Baines 33 1.42
Distin 33 1.42
Howard 33 1.42
Hibbert 12 1.42
Heitinga 20 1.35
Arteta 25 1.24
Fellaini 19 1.21
Cahill 21 1.19
Anichebe 5 1.00
Pienaar 18 0.89

If we filter out those who have started less than a handful of games, then Osman tops this list impressively, while Pienaar is rock-bottom ? and look who he has for company? Restarts the whole Cahill argument...

Personally, I think it is condemnation for Moyes's poor management in the first half of the season, continually selecting players who were out of form.
Graham Holliday
2   Posted 17/04/2011 at 18:08:45

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As Nick says, these statistics can't be taken in isolation. However, Osman ? despite his frustrations ? does seem to becoming an increasingly competent player.

Just take a look at the chalkboards of the game yesterday. His level of involvement is significantly higher than that of his fellow midfielders... the one criticism would be that in and around the box he seems a little wasteful.

We know he can get shrugged off the ball a little easily and we know sometimes his end product isn't quite there... however, for me this criticism is what separates him from a top 10 in the Premier League player to a top 4 player.

For Everton, in their current position, he's an excellent asset for the club... and I for one am ever so glad he's in our squad. He's got a good turn of feet, he can play his way out of tight positions... and those players are few and far between in our squad.

Long may his run of form continue!
Paul Gladwell
3   Posted 17/04/2011 at 18:38:17

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He has really started to mature and take on a big responsibilty and I can only see him getting better to be honest, as so many centre mids do with age and experience.

It's nice to see him thriving whilst Mr Pienaar shall be looking at no more than warming a bench for a good while yet, reinforcing our shout about the grass is not always greener.

Fran Mitchell
4   Posted 17/04/2011 at 18:47:24

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There are many things that are repeatedly said on these pages. However, one of these has always annoyed me more than any other. This is often used when giving an appraisal to one of Tony Hibbert or Leon Osman.


Neither are world class, they both have limitations and can both at times (not regularly mind) be below average.

But to claim they are not of Premier League standard is absurd. Especially with the performances put in lately by both (especially the latter) in recent games.

What is this mystical Premier League standard that they do not meet, because Leon especially has won us more points than he has lost us during his career. What League 1 or Championship player could replace them?

Can we finally put this awful phrase in the bin (or until Anichebe next plays).

Andrew James
5   Posted 17/04/2011 at 20:09:48

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Fran - totally agree

During his career, Osman has often come in very useful when we want to take maximum points off sides in the bottom half of the Premiership. Many times I have seen him mastermind the comfortable defeats of the likes of West Brom. Therefore the statements about him not being Premiership standard when, on average he scores 6 goals a season, are daft.
Chris James
6   Posted 17/04/2011 at 20:28:13

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Oh priceless!
Even in the midst of an analysis praising a player who our manager has stuck by when most others (notably the comment poster himself) had repeatedly rejected, MK can't resist having a dig at Moyes.

"Personally, I think it is condemnation for Moyes's poor management in the first half of the season, continually selecting players who were out of form."

So when the players are poor that's Moyes bad management but when they play well it's down to their own mercurial brilliance presumably?
Chris James
7   Posted 17/04/2011 at 20:40:20

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Actually, going purely on statistics (and removing players with fewer than 5 matches to bench plus unfit players out of the squad), we'd end up with the following vs United...

Hibbert - Jagielka - Baines - Distin
Coleman - Osman - Rodwell - Neville - Bily

Subs: Gueye - Heitinga -Arteta - Cahill - Anichebe

Which, barring Cahill and Arteta being fully recovered and fresh is pretty much what Moyes will start with I'd guess, not that he has too much choice like!
Ian Bennett
8   Posted 17/04/2011 at 20:56:01

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Osman is a great reserve play maker in our squad. We are lucky to have a player to call on like this who has answered the call when the chips were down.

If you were manager at Birmingham, Newcastle, etc, you'd do a lot worse than sign a player like Osman. It would be interesting to have a value on him?

The other thing with Ossie ? he always looks great in the sunshine shifting bigger players around the pitch with close control and clever movement. Although I remember him having a stormer in the heavy downpour at White Heart Lane a good few years ago ? think Stubbs scored as well.

Pienaar always flattered to deceive, and will never play for a big club as he is nearly player: nearly scored, nearly played the man in, etc. He has a good engine on him ? but was never quite as good as he thinks he is. He suited us and we suited him.
David Price
9   Posted 17/04/2011 at 21:20:53

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Osman deserves all the praise aimed at him.
Quality performances but as said earlier, massive test to come at Utd then City over the next few weeks.
Kase Chow
10   Posted 17/04/2011 at 21:49:11

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Yup, here's the other thing: I reckon Ossie is the type of player that would perform better in an international than in the hurly burly of the Premiership. His style (and the fact u get more time on the ball at international level) makes me think he could unlock defences at that level

Okay, go for it....start slagging me off...
Micky Norman
11   Posted 17/04/2011 at 22:42:02

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During the 60 and 70s both Colin Harvey and Tommy Wright got the sort of stick Ossie and Hibbo get. It's something we seem to do to home grown players. Maybe it's got something to do with jealousy. They are doing what I dreamed of doing since I was 6 years old. So why them and not me? They must be crap cos they didn't cost millions and they don't play internationals. Their WAGs don't do OK magazine and they don't have agents causing trouble at every opportunity mouthing off to tabloids. Give me Hibbo over Glen Johnson any day and as for Ossie, the lad's a legend.
Andrew James
12   Posted 17/04/2011 at 23:05:54

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Kase @ 9

I think Ossie has proved his worth at Europa League level so he could probably do a job for England in certain matches.

For many years I have thought it was and is a disgrace he's never been called up. Not once. In 2004/05 he was awesome but didn't get anything. In recent seasons he has been played out of position and his development stagnated. Gareth Barry and Scott Parker got chances - Leon deserved a couple.

The stats show he is more effective than Aaron Lennon yet the latter gets games regularly and does very little.

Unlike Mikel, it's not as if those ahead of Leon are doing the job well.
Jay Wilson
13   Posted 17/04/2011 at 23:34:00

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"Personally, I think it is condemnation for Moyes's poor management in the first half of the season, continually selecting players who were out of form."

Give me strength. Cahill was top scorer during that period of time! Your comments are just moronic in the extreme.
Kase Chow
14   Posted 17/04/2011 at 21:49:11

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Yup, here's the other thing: I reckon Ossie is the type of player that would perform better in an international than in the hurly burly of the Premiership. His style (and the fact u get more time on the ball at international level) makes me think he could unlock defences at that level

Okay, go for it....start slagging me off...
Gavin Ramejkis
15   Posted 17/04/2011 at 23:56:19

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To me Osman has improved lately because he has been given more of a free hand roaming across the middle of the park and not forced out onto the wing and told to stick there. I'm not sure if there was a blade of grass he didn't cover in the Blackburn game and plenty of times crossed the pitch to cover both wings defending and attacking. He's a much better player in the middle of the park than he is stuck on the wing and lately he has been able to play to his strengths and not his weaknesses.

As far as the national side go, they will always be a bunch of stuck up gobshites with the same old tired faces chosen week after week; earlier this season Parker gave West Ham a decent shot at staying up whilst Barry has done fuck all yet who gets the nod? It's always been the case over the decades, same old favourites, if Osman was never to get a call up I wouldn't lose sleep over it as that side is just a bunch of whingeing losers full of the slimiest examples of mankind going.
Kase Chow
16   Posted 18/04/2011 at 00:17:17

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Gavin #14; it'd be nice recognition for him
Andy Crooks
17   Posted 18/04/2011 at 00:30:10

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Chris James, I think Osman is a fine player and I have been appalled at the stick he has had on this site. Still. Moyes's management in the first have of the season was abysmal and with a different coach we could be playing Champions league football next season.
Ernie Baywood
18   Posted 18/04/2011 at 02:57:00

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He's a handy player. Not as a starter at top 5 or 6 level but not bottom 5 or 6 standard either. He sort of fits us perfectly when the season is dead and we no longer have any ambitions. Genuine midtable mediocrity. Which in the

I'd love him to prove me wrong but he won't. Come next season he'll still be too slow and too weak.
Chris Bannantyne
19   Posted 18/04/2011 at 04:33:01

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Well I like Osman because he's doing a good job right now and he's an Evertonian.

When we have a fit squad he is traditionally left on the bench and may not make an appearance for weeks at a time. The fact that he's never shown interest in moving to a different club where he could be the main man shows a nice bit of loyalty that is rare these days.

And he ain't half bad either.
Gavin McGarvey
20   Posted 18/04/2011 at 05:21:36

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A couple of things. Firstly I don't think much of the basis behind those statistics, there are too many variables. Look at Cahill. Arguably he was all on his own in terms of getting goals in the first half of the season. Then he gets injured just when we start to pick up form. Now you could argue that we started to pick up form because he wasn't playing, which I personally think is rubbish. Nevertheless I do think we need to think carefully about how/when we pick Tim Cahill.

Osman does seem to be playing really well now. Perhaps this is because sat on the bench he saw his career slipping away. When he got on the pitch he grabbed the chance with both hands. It will be interesting to see how it works out for him.

As for the bit MK said about questioning Moyes management in the first half, hasn't Moyes more or less said the same himself?

Stephen Kenny
21   Posted 18/04/2011 at 07:58:37

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He's flying at the moment and has been comfortably our best player for a while now.

Michael's match report was IMO very harsh on Leon mostly because he skied a few. Not really a problem for me as having a player who shoot's from distance causes a whole different set of problems for defence's who are used to dealing with the work it to the left and cross routine.

The biggest compliment I can pay him is that his performance in the second half of this season has been the difference of about 5-8 league places.

If he were to carry this on throughout the remaining games he would have my vote for player of the season. He's only one of our creative player's who has consistently tried to pass the ball forwards, something that Arteta hasn't done all season.

For me this also set's us up nicely for next season as we now know we have options.
Kase Chow
22   Posted 18/04/2011 at 00:17:17

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Gavin #14; it'd be nice recognition for him
Matthew Lovekin
23   Posted 18/04/2011 at 09:14:27

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Confirms what I always thought of Pienaar - a showboater with little end product
Tony J Williams
24   Posted 18/04/2011 at 09:24:11

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A showboater with splinters in his arse now Matthew
Neil McKinney
25   Posted 18/04/2011 at 09:26:41

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Andy #16

"Moyes's management in the first have of the season was abysmal and with a different coach we could be playing Champions league football next season."

I agree that Moyes's management of the team in the first half of the season was questionable, but to state that we would be playing Champions League football next season with a different coach is a very bold statement and equally questionable.

As you have not qualified your statement, it effectively reads that we would have got CL football with anyone else in charge. Do you honestly believe that? Another manager may have done better at the start of the season, but then they may have done worse in the second half. Who knows?

As for Osman, we are all quick on this site to pour scorn on players when they are out of form so I would like to join all the others in congratulating Ossie for his recent performances.

Sam Morrison
26   Posted 18/04/2011 at 09:52:26

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I'm an admirer of both players (Ossie and Hibbert), who play to the best of their abilities and don't hide. When I recently posted about Hibbert's ten year anniversary at the club I was surprised: not at the inevitable slagging from some, but at the general air of indifference from the majority. But there you go; I suppose we're all more likely to say something when we have a bee in our bonnet.

As for MK's comment about Moyes, taken in isolation it does seem a bit odd. But the truth is this season, no matter how it ends, has been a disappointment and in my mind that is down to Moyes. We started with pretty much a full complement of players and yet again we only start to perform when expectations are lowered. I have a lot of respect and gratitude for the man but he HAS to take a step upwards to handling greater expectations and not just relishing life as a perennial underdog.
David Crowe
27   Posted 18/04/2011 at 10:39:32

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Just waiting for the 6 month injury lay off that must be lying in wait for him knowing our luck.
Paul Olsen
28   Posted 18/04/2011 at 11:23:31

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For someone who has backed Ossie all the way (although I´ve had to mention that he´s had quite a few stinkers as well), it´s great to see his form of recent.

Long may it continue and next weekend he´ll get his chance to prove that he can perform against top sides as well. That is another obstacle as he has turned out too weak against the top teams in previous outings.
Stephen Kenny
29   Posted 18/04/2011 at 11:30:23

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Paul, he was the best player on the pitch against both United and Chelsea when we beat the pair of them at home, I'm not sure where this myth comes from.

If anything I'd say he raises his game against the big sides and goes missing too often against poor physical opposition, although he has bucked that trend recently.
Ciaran Duff
30   Posted 18/04/2011 at 12:46:13

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I've got him in my FPL team - woohoo!
Andrew Ellams
31   Posted 18/04/2011 at 12:47:31

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I would put Leon in a similar category to Ji-Sung Park at Man U or Kalou at Chelsea. All players who probably aren't good enough to get into their respective 1st XI when everybody else is fit and playing well but get on with their jobs when called on. And then when you look back at their stats at the end of the season, they have played a pretty vital part in what their teams have achieved that season.

Would you rather have those 3 in your team, or Balotelli and Torres who are undoubtedly world class players but who have both wrecked their seasons by behaving like spoilt 3-year-olds?
Sam Hoare
32   Posted 18/04/2011 at 13:32:46

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Ha. Think there's a fair few on here saying that they always liked Osman who I distinctly remember giving him a massive slagging off in the not so distant past!!

Just like all those 'Moyes out we're definitely getting relegated' moaners have lost several decibels of volume!!

I say keep Ossie exactly where he is.

Next season's team:

Hibbert Jags Distin Baines
Coleman Neville Fellaini Arteta/Gueye
Norman Merrill
33   Posted 18/04/2011 at 14:01:33

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I will admit that Leon Osman, is not one of my favourite players, but I must give credit to the lad, in recent weeks he has worked his socks off, while getting on the score sheet has been a bonus.

We have some very tough looking games coming up: United, City, Chelsea, so let's hope he continues, and some other players up tempo, as well, so that we can enjoy a good run-in.

Andy Callan
34   Posted 18/04/2011 at 14:22:38

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Does anyone think that the injury to Fellaini and our recent decent run are linked? Because I do?..

The facts speak for themselves and he?s a liability.

Get shut in the summer I say and cash in on him.

Andrew Ellams
35   Posted 18/04/2011 at 14:24:58

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Andy @35, the good run also coincided with injuries to Cahill, Arteta and Rodwell and the departure of Pienaar. Was the whole midfield to blame?
Sam Morrison
36   Posted 18/04/2011 at 14:48:15

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Andy Callan, that's just... weird.
Anthony Hughes
37   Posted 18/04/2011 at 14:54:36

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Leonardo Osmanaldo.
Tony J Williams
38   Posted 18/04/2011 at 15:00:17

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I see where you are coming from, Andy ? it was about the time Felliani was injured last season we started playing well.
Trevor Lynes
39   Posted 18/04/2011 at 14:59:33

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There must be lots of hypocrites writing here because Ozzie and Hibbo have been the most VILIFIED and MALIGNED players on the books for seasons... nowadays its Anichebe !!!
Andy Crooks
40   Posted 18/04/2011 at 19:02:55

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Trevor, attacking players especially at a game never achieves anything. It's Victor's turn now and it's wrong.
John Gee
41   Posted 21/04/2011 at 17:53:32

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I think stats can be misleading... could Ossie be better than the stats suggest? He often plays when the first team is depleted by injury.

He plays the way the shite wish joe cole would play. I bet if cole had Ossies run of form he'd be in the national squad for the next game.

Anthony @ 37, fantastic, you summed it up in two made up words! Quality.

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