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Osman on the comeback trail

by | 16/02/2015  Comments (117)  jump
Leon Osman hopes to return to competitive action tomorrow evening when Everton Under-21s take on Manchester United.

The veteran midfielder has been sidelined for the past two months by a split tendon in his foot and there were fears that he would require surgery that would have ended prematurely both his season and, perhaps, his career.

Osman told the Liverpool Echo that he hopes to play some part for the second string tomorrow evening at Leigh Sports Village.  


Reader Comments (117)

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Peter Carpenter
1 Posted 16/02/2015 at 17:28:31
Ossie as the saviour of Everton..... Now that would be something. Must buy shares in humble pie companies.
Phil Walling
2 Posted 16/02/2015 at 17:30:24
In spite of all the venom aimed in his direction on here, Ossie has been missed and his return should be welcomed.

He has been a great servant and has still much to offer us, I feel. Different class to the possible replacement Cleverley regardless of the age difference.

Stephen Brown
3 Posted 16/02/2015 at 17:33:55
God we have missed Ossie! Never thought IÂ’d write that on TW!
Colin Glassar
4 Posted 16/02/2015 at 17:35:21
Good God Phil, for once weÂ’re on the same page.

Ossie, for an hour max, is indispensable for the type of football Martinez wants to play. HeÂ’s the link between MF and attack with his quick thinking and intelligence. HeÂ’s been sorely missed and I hope he can come back and be the influential player he was last season.

Age, and injuries, are catching up but I hope he can give us one last hurra this season.

Martin Mason
5 Posted 16/02/2015 at 17:34:32
I welcome him back, his absence has coincided with dark days for us. A great Everton servant and a very underrated player. If heÂ’d a bigger physique he would have been up with the very best.
Peter Carpenter
6 Posted 16/02/2015 at 17:42:32
Share price rising fast!
Tony Hill
7 Posted 16/02/2015 at 17:56:31
A great servant but I canÂ’t see him returning in any meaningful way. Hope IÂ’m wrong because I agree he has a good football brain.
Clive Mitchell
8 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:06:58
Can we get ten positive posts in a row on an Ossie thread?!
Lyndon Lloyd
9 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:09:55
He absolutely can, Tony. I think the problem where Ossie is concerned is that he was being relied upon by Moyes and then Martinez as a week-in, week-out 90-minute player but time has caught up with him.

He can make a real difference in limited bursts now and could really add some guile and imagination to the team as an impact player for the remainder of the season.

MartinezÂ’s top priority in the summer should be replacing him and Pienaar.

Tony Hill
10 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:14:04
Yes Lyndon if heÂ’s used intelligently he can be very effective,and indeed put in a full 90 minutes of excellence against West Ham in the league win. I just doubt he has realistic time available to regain fitness in what was already a tired body. HereÂ’s hoping.

You are certainly right about replacing Osman and Pienaar. It should have been done in my opinion last summer.

Colin Glassar
11 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:17:06
Ossie, Ossie, Ossie ooh, ooh, ooh. How about that Clive?

Spot on Lyndon, as an impact sub or for an hour long shift, Ossie can still have an influence on our game. He can also teach young Ross how to run with the ball with his head up

Darryl Ritchie
12 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:18:22
I can hear Big RomÂ’s sigh of relief 7300 kms away. OssieÂ’s getting a little long in the tooth, but for the time being, heÂ’s our most offensively creative midfielder. If Barkley could just try to pattern his play after OsmanÂ’s...problem solved!
Ian Burns
13 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:32:42
Welcome back Ossie - underrated and an EFC man through and through.

Besic will have his back - no problem - whilst Ossie tries to fill the role we have missed so much this season - ie a midfield player with a brain.

Phil Walling
14 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:32:04
I sometimes wonder if Ross will ever play the huge number of games Ossie has clocked up for us. Bear in mind, Leon was older than Ross is now before he made his mark, so Barks has got a head start on him.

WeÂ’ll see!

Colin Glassar
15 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:39:26
Phil, did you know Ossie was born in Wigan? What did I tell you about conspiracies?
Darren Hind
16 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:37:46
Good news

The most intelligent footballer weÂ’ve had this passed decade whether he is easily knocked off the ball or not.

I wonder if He and Pienaar have enough of a swan song in them to take us to European Glory

Hope continues to flicker

Sean Kelly
17 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:52:09
IÂ’d say Barry is delighted. Someone to share the flak with.
Terence Tipler
18 Posted 16/02/2015 at 18:55:05
Got a feeling at OssieÂ’s age now, he will struggle to get back to the player he was earlier this season, and by the time next season comes around, will struggle even more, due to Old Farher Time.

Could be the end... hope I am wrong.

Trevor Lynes
19 Posted 16/02/2015 at 19:07:51
Osman has been much maligned along with Hibbert and he has more football nous than any other midfielder we have, including Barry! Osman played just once for England and had a decent game. Osman is probably clever enough to get the most out of Lukaku and Barkley so long as his ability has not declined during his injury absence.

Pienaar has also been missed for his link up play with Baines. It is no coincidence that Baines has struggled in PienaarÂ’s absence.

Paul Tran
20 Posted 16/02/2015 at 19:10:02
Hope heÂ’s fit enough to perform some excellent 30-60 minute cameos like last season. Would also be good to keep an intelligent, committed Evertonian at the club in a coaching capacity.

Phil Walling
23 Posted 16/02/2015 at 19:51:01
IÂ’d forgotten that, Colin. Billinge Higher End to be exact. I just knew there had to be a reason why Bobby always picks him!
Gavin McGarvey
25 Posted 16/02/2015 at 19:38:39
It will be difficult to replace Osman and Pienaar. IÂ’d like to think the club had their eye on young long term replacements. Both are on high wages so there should be money there, although not for the type of transfer fees it would take to bring in established names.

For fear of being predictable in suggesting we try and bring in Deulofeu, I would leave him out of this. He may not be of a similar type but he is a threat going forwards which we are distinctly lacking. Buying him and another creative prospect would be a solid way of moving forwards. Not holding my breath like.

Pleased that Osman is on his way back, but feel it will be tougher and tougher for him to come back from these type of injuries. Fingers crossed he can be effective for the remainder of the season.

Wayne Smyth
26 Posted 16/02/2015 at 21:08:42
Gavin, donÂ’t think it will be difficult to replace either. Osman is a clever footballer, but is too limited. Pienaar is a shadow of the player we sold to Spurs. Both players work hard and are good professionals, but primarily what you want from your forward players is to hurt the opposition, and they do neither with enough regularity.

WeÂ’ve apparently got a fee agreed with Spurs for Lennon if we want him(no idea what that is, though). Deulofeu is another good call. There are others from abroad IÂ’d like to see. Tielemans from Anderlecht is a top drawer 17 year old midfielder who played left wing last time I saw him and he was on their set pieces too, which says a lot given his age.

For the money we have available to spend with the TV deal we have, we can certainly do a hell of a lot better than the ageing Pienaar or Osman.

Rob Brady
27 Posted 16/02/2015 at 21:57:27
Anyone else wondering how Ossie qualifies to play with the U21s?? Absolutely love him but he wouldnÂ’t make much of a difference in the current system would he, Roberto M
Trevor Lynes
28 Posted 16/02/2015 at 21:57:20
In todays football with seven subs a 60 minute cameo is enough in most games. Osman coming on for Barkley absolutely changed games in a few instances. I still think that Baines is badly missing Pienaar and the stats will show that most of his assists and even goals have come when Pienaar was playing.

I am really disappointed that we have not produced replacements for these two players from our youngsters. Since Rooney, we have not produced a striker or even a top attacking midfielder. If it is true that Cleverley is coming then that IMO is an indictment of our reserves, he is certainly not up to standard.

Colin Glassar
29 Posted 16/02/2015 at 22:24:43
Phil, do you think Gareth Barry is a secret Wigan-ite (or is Wigonian?) then? IÂ’ll check his birth certificate to make sure.

Wayne, thereÂ’s a few good freebies to be had in the summer e.g. Konoplyanka, Ayew, Cleverley, Ings etc...and a few more whoÂ’s names escape me.

Michael Kenrick
30 Posted 16/02/2015 at 22:28:00
Rob, seems we go through this every time, and probably need to restate it in the story for folks who donÂ’t seem to know that you are allowed to field a number of over-age players (I think it is three) in among the young U21s. So the concept of the Reserves is not entirely dead.
Gavin Johnson
31 Posted 16/02/2015 at 22:30:13
Welcome back Ossie, youÂ’ve been missed.
Colin Glassar
32 Posted 16/02/2015 at 22:41:31
Love all the love being shown to Ossie on here. He deserves it.
Paul Dark
33 Posted 16/02/2015 at 22:41:58
Good luck to him.

He is not the answer to our problems, though - far from it.

Gavin McGarvey
34 Posted 16/02/2015 at 22:34:20
Wayne, I hope youÂ’re right. Given the clubÂ’s record on this type of thing, IÂ’ll retain a touch of scepticism. IÂ’m still waiting on ArtetaÂ’s replacement, and heÂ’s been gone for getting on for four years.

How long did it take to get a replacement for Yakubu? Beckford was a trier, and not a bad player, but you have to sign a few 17-year-old players to find a top quality striker. As it is, weÂ’ll see if we do sign a couple of creative midfielders and try and develop them into the attacking threat we need.

To put a more positive slant on it, our smaller squad does mean we can offer a more realistic chance of first team football than other teams. ItÂ’s how we got Mirallas, so maybe we can use it to get a couple of decent players. Fingers crossed.

Stephen Daniels
35 Posted 16/02/2015 at 22:59:17
Well, we definitely need him back!
Nick Page
36 Posted 17/02/2015 at 00:38:42
Have Spurs come in for him yet?
Colin Williams
37 Posted 17/02/2015 at 00:50:46
DoesnÂ’t deserve a place!... Weak, not good enough!! Ossie playing again will do nothing to influence our midfield, or our game play (never has, never will). Macca and Besic have performed at a higher standard in their short blues career that Ossie in 10 years (sentimental).

As for playing the № 10 role... the lad has a better chance, although there are much better options available. Ross will command this role for many years, "perfect fit"... just leave this lad develop into the top player he will be.

Mark Andersson
38 Posted 17/02/2015 at 02:19:16
At last some good news. Ossie did make a difference last season as an impact sub. I recall at least two games where his intelligence and quick feet opened up defences that led to goals.
Darren Hind
39 Posted 17/02/2015 at 06:18:27
Why on earth are people talking about replacements? The transfer window is shut.

We are talking about this season because there are some very big matches to play and, whether you like it or not, Pienaar, Ossie and indeed Hibbo are likely to be required at some stage.

Martinez has had three transfer windows to replace ageing players, but in most cases he elected to lengthen their contracts. could it be that our results are better when they play?

He is lost without the experienced players he inherited and he knows it.

Rahul Sreekumar
40 Posted 17/02/2015 at 06:36:56
Rob #27- think he qualifies as an "allowed overage player" or some term like that.. ItÂ’s common practice for first team players coming back from injury to play with the U-21s... Kone & Oviedo have played with them this season.
Darren Hind
41 Posted 17/02/2015 at 06:35:40
Colin (#37),

Wanna compile a list of goals scored, or created by Macca and Besic combined? ... it wont take long.

You wouldnÂ’t want to be dragged around by the balls until one of those two created or scored a goal.

We need to be able to introduce different players to pose a different threat when things are not working.

Nick Armitage
42 Posted 17/02/2015 at 07:48:28
Osman was a better player than Barkley at 21.
Mark Andersson
43 Posted 17/02/2015 at 09:00:29
Good point, Darren Hind. Those that knock Ossie must have missed not being able to slag him off recently. The guy is blue through and through unlike the Belgian super flops.
Gavin McGarvey
44 Posted 17/02/2015 at 09:01:45
I remember Osman when he first appeared on the edges of the first team. He had that spell on loan at Derby and there was a real clamour for him to be played in the first team. Not sure if he was a better player than Barkley at that age, but he was certainly our stand-out young player before Rooney came along.

I think the reason for the talk of replacements is because we have missed Pienaar and Osman so much this season. Darren, you point yourself to the dearth of creativity in the midfield. YouÂ’re probably right that Martinez isnÂ’t confident about the youth team players or cheap/free transfers BK would fund.

Nevertheless, lack of goals is a problem at the minute. IÂ’m a teacher and one of my students (West Ham fan) keeps asking me whatÂ’s happened with us this season "such a boring side to watch", "no creativity except for Mirallas" and itÂ’s difficult to argue with his assessment.

At the minute, Cleverly is the only name consistently linked with us, and he seems more an answer to BarryÂ’s retirement than Osman and PienaarÂ’s. People are going to talk about replacing them until they are back to something full fitness, and even then neither are spring chickens.

Hopefully they both come back to bring some more impetus to our European campaign.

Ian Brandes
45 Posted 17/02/2015 at 10:10:18
Best news for a long time. I have never been in the camp that likes to put him down, and crucify him for the most minor of mistakes.

He has always given his all for this club, and his return will be a tonic in this bleak season.

Christine Foster
46 Posted 17/02/2015 at 10:31:54
Perspective. Whilst pleased to see him back, the reality is that age and injury are not a mix for the Premier League, sadly but predictably his influence is more likely to be used sparingly.

We lovingly talk of him and Hibbert as great servants of the club, which they are, but no-one can forget the Chelsea final which exposed their limitations and ability. Sadly, a few years on, it can only deteriorate not improve.

Thankfully we donÂ’t play Chelsea every week, so there is a place in the squad given we have no better. Which is the real problem, we should have found a replacement in January. as itÂ’s left us creatively very weak given the loss of confidence Barkley is going through.

Ant Summers
47 Posted 17/02/2015 at 10:44:13
Nah, agree he ainÂ’t the answer. A grand servant, but 34 in a couple of months, a rack of injuries.. I canÂ’t see him starting too many between now and May. Back room maybe?

Boy have we got some pensioners. Good luck to the guy, but we have big mountains to climb and, at 34, outfield players canÂ’t do it anymore... not in the Prem.

Brian Hennessy
48 Posted 17/02/2015 at 11:27:21
Delighted to see him coming back.

This must be the most positive thread that has appeared here in ages, keep it coming.

Dave Harrison
49 Posted 17/02/2015 at 12:18:51
He canÂ’t have been that good Nick #42, we sent him on loan to Derby aged 22!
James Marshall
50 Posted 17/02/2015 at 12:53:03
People giving Ossie a hard time are entitled to their opinions, but those opinions are short-sighted.

Best football brain at the club by a country mile. Look at players like Barkley, and Lukaku who are clearly terribly nice young men, but also not the brightest buttons in the box.

Ossie has been class for us, and been unfairly treated by many in my opinion. HeÂ’s a link player, keeps it simple, keeps it moving, can play a pass and knows whatÂ’s going on around him. Players like Barkley and Lukaku could learn a lot from watching Ossie but they simply donÂ’t have the inherent football brain that he does.

Welcomed back with open arms. Now we just need to get Hibbo back starting and IÂ’ll be truly happy. ;)

Tony J Williams
51 Posted 17/02/2015 at 13:05:54
Oh my God, Christine! – One game in 10 years where both Hibbert and Ossie were not fully fit.

Hibbert screwed with the early yellow and both were rushed back too soon from injury.

I just wish people would stop defaulting to the one game, over 5 years ago when they have played 750+ games between them.

Mark Murphy
52 Posted 17/02/2015 at 13:06:35
Gareth Barry is NOT from Wigan – he just looks like he’s eaten lots of pies! He’s from Hastings and I know the old guy who scouted him for Brighton & Hove (actually) Albion.

I always thought Ossie was from Skem?

Mark Andersson
53 Posted 17/02/2015 at 13:28:46
OssIe is from Skem but, like many, he was born in hospital either Billinge, Ormskirk or like my first two, in Fazackerly. I watched Ossie as a 7-year-old and knew he would make a pro. Great lad and great Evertonian.
James Stewart
54 Posted 17/02/2015 at 13:33:09
A strong case of absence makes the heart grow....

Not trying to be a party pooper but a lot of the posts are OTT to the extreme. Osman has been a massively inconsistent player who is fast approaching the end of his career. We are already carrying one pensioner in Barry – do we really need another?

HeÂ’s performed a few times and on his day is a decent player but those days well and truly behind him. Before his injury, he wasnÂ’t in form so IÂ’m not sure what people are expecting on his return. Not much would be my expectation.

Sam Hoare
55 Posted 17/02/2015 at 13:34:11
Lots of love for Ossie. A sign of how bad things are!

ItÂ’s true we have few players with his footballing intelligence and I have been saying all season that we have suffered from the lack of a playmaker. Barkley has sadly regressed this season and looks less and less like someone able to pull the strings.

It will be nice to have Ossie back but certainly this Summer the priority should be to find someone with touch and guile to knit our midfield together with our attack, a younger, fitter, stronger Ossie ideally.

Christine Foster
56 Posted 17/02/2015 at 13:36:19
Tony, totally disagree. The sad fact was and still is, more so now, that neither player is good enough to warrant a place in the starting 11. Their lack of pace in that game showed up the monumental tactical error of Moyes in placing Osman in front of Hibbert. We all knew it then, it wasnÂ’t just that game, but that game highlighted it.

They have been brilliant servants of the club, absolutely brilliant and I am not putting either down because of ability; as I said in my post, itÂ’s age and injury. It gets to the best.

Tom Bowers
57 Posted 17/02/2015 at 13:43:20
Ossie has had his day. Get used to it. He will in no way improve this team and could only be used in a bit-part role maybe as a sub in the last 20 minutes.

The team needs to go forward next season and it is necessary to bring in new blood, whether from within or signed, but they cannot go backwards – and that they will do by using the ’over the hill gang’.

James Martin
58 Posted 17/02/2015 at 13:50:42
Christine, Osman would walk into our starting 11 either in central midfield or on the flanks. Him and Hibbert were targeted in that cup final by a ruthless left side of Chelsea but what does it tell you about Everton that, even five years after, weÂ’ve struggled to find the players to keep Osman out of the starting 11.

Even now, we are crying out for his invention. He is not fast, he is not strong, and he is weak as anything, but his ball control, incisive passing, one-two play, and ability to score goals from midfield is still far far in advance of a lot of the players in the squad. Osman and Pienaar are our only real sources of midfield creativity.

Our failings this season has largely been down to a completely drab midfield. Barry Besic and McCarthy couldnÂ’t create anything between them if they played all game. Until someone at Everton pays some decent money for a creative player rather than just hoarding defensive mids and wingers on loan then we will still keeping finding room for Osman.

Sean Kelly
59 Posted 17/02/2015 at 14:11:25
Jes, I think you hit the nail on the head, lad. Ossie can only walk into our stating eleven and unfortunately Mother Time has caught up on him. Twenty to thirty minutes maximum is his lot and do me a favour – not on the wing.

ItÂ’s the clubÂ’s fault for not bringing in a playmaker when Ossie, Pienaar and Gibson have been on the wain for some time. Btw, on this seasonÂ’s evidence, Barkley is not the answer either.

Michael Kenrick
60 Posted 17/02/2015 at 16:13:10
According to an Â’exclusiveÂ’ in the highly respected local rag today:

Osman is now back in training and ready to play competitively for EvertonÂ’s second string this evening.

"It’s been very frustrating," Osman said. "It seemed an innocuous thing I’d done at the time and I managed to play through it but it got to the point where I couldn’t move anymore.

"It snuck up on me and the next thing I know IÂ’m being told itÂ’s an injury that might put me out for a considerable period. No-one even knew how long I was going to be out for, and that was the most frustrating thing. Some people were telling me it could be six weeks but itÂ’s ended up being closer to 12 so itÂ’s been a really frustrating period.

"But, touch wood, I’m getting closer to being back. I’ve trained for a week and there’s a reserve game tonight."

Osman added: "I couldnÂ’t see any progress for a long period. I couldnÂ’t notice any progress day to day, it was more weekly when I looked back I could see some. That was still after five or six weeks but in the past three weeks or so IÂ’ve come a long way."

Roberto Martinez has said on a number of occasions how OsmanÂ’s absence through injury has been keenly felt. The Academy graduate was the only player to feature in every Premier League match for the club last season and he says the managerÂ’s words have helped give him a boost when on the treatment table.

"It was a great boost – it’s quite a bit of pressure like!" Osman said with a smile.

"But it is great that the manager has said that and feels like that. IÂ’m determined now to be fit enough to be in the squad and then force my way through good play and back into team.

II want to keep playing because IÂ’m really enthusiastic. This injury has shown me that I feel like IÂ’ve got a lot more football left in me. IÂ’ve hated being out and not playing. I want to keep playing for as long as I feel like that."

Osman has looked on as Everton endured a miserable festive period but then stopped the rot with five draws and a win. The long-serving midfielder travelled to London last week for the BluesÂ’ game with Chelsea and despite a sickening defeat, he was again encouraged by their performance.

"It has been a tough run and weÂ’ve picked up a few injuries," said Osman. "But weÂ’re a good group and a good squad and weÂ’ve shown over the last three or four games how well we can play.

"WeÂ’ve picked up some clean sheets and if we can continue to play with the effort and commitment the lads did at Chelsea then weÂ’ll win more games than we lose this season.

"Defensively, we were outstanding. Chelsea had a lot of the play, especially in the second-half, but didnÂ’t get into our box very often which shows the quality of our defending.

"But we were also a real threat on the counter-attack and we had the best chances of the night and we shouldÂ’ve scored at least one goal. Chelsea are renowned for being terrific defensively at home and we had a number of opportunities.

"It shows the steps we are taking."

Clive Rogers
61 Posted 17/02/2015 at 16:27:30
At 34 in May, he is getting too old to come back. That is if he does manage to regain full fitness which is far from certain. He may not be the same anyway.

Also, this team badly needs someone to put the ball in the net. At present, apart from Lukaku, Ossie averaged four goals a season from an attacking position which is probably, going to be reduced now with his age and fitness. We should have bought a goalscoring replacement.

Tony J Williams
62 Posted 17/02/2015 at 17:13:33
His interplay with EtoÂ’o was good to watch.

Unfortunately there is no-one left now really to benefit from his quick mind (and slow body).

Clive Rogers
63 Posted 17/02/2015 at 17:31:38
On the other hand he could be phenomenal in the second half of the season!!
Ray Roche
65 Posted 17/02/2015 at 17:31:37
Christine Foster @46

Christine, re your comment about the Chelsea Final "which exposed their limitations and ability". IÂ’ve mentioned this before and I donÂ’t apologise for mentioning it again, the main reason for HibbertÂ’s poor first half was him being booked for his first, and what was really a "nothing" tackle after 8 minutes, by that clown of a referee Howard Webb.

For the next 37 minutes he was scared to tackle Malouda and Chelsea sent everything down our right hand side. This, coupled with OsmanÂ’s ineffective defensive work was our downfall. Osman, to be fair, is not a defensive midfielder and shouldnÂ’t have been put in that position.

Clive Rogers
66 Posted 17/02/2015 at 17:55:13
Ray,

Actually Hibbert was only half fit. He had been out for about 4 or 5 weeks, and Moyes brought him back a couple of games before the final, but he struggled and had to go off at HT. In the final it was obvious right from the start that he wasnÂ’t fully fit, and Chelsea soon latched on and attacked down our right, where their goal came from.

I have always blamed Moyes for that.

OssieÂ’s nerves got the better of him on the day.

Ray Roche
67 Posted 17/02/2015 at 18:22:49
Clive, yet another reason to give Hibbert a break from the slagging he (and Osman) suffer on this site.
Trevor Lynes
68 Posted 17/02/2015 at 18:07:38
My main gripe is the fact that we have not produced replacements for both Osman and Pienaar from our Academy. The only youngsters worth a punt are defenders eg; Galloway, Stones and Garbutt. I have watched them a few times and have been disappointed.

Surely the coaches should be concentrating on finding replacements for our senior players? Otherwise why are they employed? Perhaps our coaches should include players who played as schemers rather than defenders.

I love to see kids who have the confidence to take opponents on and be able to pick a pass and score a few.We appear to have youngsters who can do a job and can play to a plan.I watch wide players passing square and back instead of taking on the fullback.Maybe Atsu can provide that type of free running and taking on defenders.

Mirallas is one of the few on our books who will run at defences. Pienaar did at least dribble and he drew lots of fouls in dangerous areas. Barkley should be doing exactly that more often. It always lifts the crowd and other team mates feed off the support.

Colin Glassar
69 Posted 17/02/2015 at 18:26:58
The FA Cup Final meltdown, capitulation, surrender whatever you want to call it, was all down to one man: Dithering Dave.
Jay Wood
71 Posted 17/02/2015 at 18:29:15
Of course it was, Colin... nothing to do with having the spine of the team ripped out by injuries to the Yak, Arteta and Jags. Whilst Chelsea had the luxury of bringing on the then German skipper Michael Ballack from the bench, Moyes was reduced to throwing on a kid, Danny Gosling, to save the game.

Too many false myths are attributed to that game. If you could bear to watch the whole game again, you would actually see how very close we came to winning it following an extremely difficult passage to Wembley.

Phill Thompson
72 Posted 17/02/2015 at 18:46:11
Looking at the team, I would guess we are either playing 4-4-2 or Ossie is playing DFM alongside Ledson in 4-2-3-1, as I canÂ’t see anybody else playing DFM with Ledson . Any one see other options?
Clive Rogers
73 Posted 17/02/2015 at 18:53:04
Ray, agreed. They were both decent squad players who were over employed by Moyes IMO.
Dean Adams
74 Posted 17/02/2015 at 19:05:50
Jay Wood.

Be careful, some donÂ’t like the facts. It does not suit the purpose that they are trying to peddle. If we had had Jags, Arteta and the Yak, I believe we could have won that game. Of course I have a biased outlook and no-one can ever prove me wrong, I think!!

Darren Hind
75 Posted 17/02/2015 at 18:57:29
"Too many false myths are attributed to that game"

Absolutely Jay.

I cringe when I hear some of the bollocks spouted about it.
The claim that Hibbert cost us the game is laughable. at no time were we behind when he was on the pitch.

Lescot and the rusty Yobo were bullied by a Drogba in his prime. a naive Fellaini, a simply not good enough Cahill and a woeful Neville were murdered by Lampard, Essian, Mikel and Later Ballack. Hibbert returning from injury was protected by Osman because our options on the right were virtually nil, they faced what was generally regarded as the best left side in football at the time and were were quite simply overun.

Facing a better manager, a vastly superior bench, a team who were considerably better than us in every single position, Our only hope was to go with our strongest team and hope they had an off day, unfortunately neither happened, we lost our best players and our only real hope in the run up to the final

To still, after six years, hold this game up as an indictment of Hibbert and Osman is pathetic. Not one single Everton players won his personal duel that day, We were mullered all over the park.

Paul Andrews
78 Posted 17/02/2015 at 19:37:41
The worse one for me Colin was the semi-final against them. We were winning and they were totally gone, the second goal there for the taking.

Moyes, instead of going for the killer goal, told the team to sit in. We know the rest.

Christine Foster
85 Posted 17/02/2015 at 20:15:00
Hmmm some revisionist thinking going on...

Darren, my beef with that final was never against either Osman or Hibbert, nor the fact that they were ruthlessly targeted by Chelsea, but they were targeted for a reason.

As has been said before Osman is NOT a player with a huge motor, he is not defensive minded nor does he have the ability to be so and frankly was unable to give cover to Hibbert. So yes it did expose their limitations as they were crucified, but frankly the blame for that sits with Moyes who did nothing to change it. Bad tactics and management cost us the game – not either player.

But both players struggled to compete then and this is five years on and at 34 you can not play like you used too. To compete in the premier league players have to be at their peak or used selectively because of their ability.

Dave Abrahams
86 Posted 17/02/2015 at 20:34:42
James Marshall (50), it’s very interesting that you think Barkley hasn’t got a football brain because that view is shared by an ex-Everton great – and I mean a true blue Evertonian who is liked and respected by most Everton fans.

I hope you are both wrong but IÂ’m leaning that way myself.

Jay Wood
87 Posted 17/02/2015 at 21:18:25
You are indeed being revisionist Christine.

Howard Webb did us no favours in that final with a nothing booking of Hibbo early in the game, as he did a couple of weeks earlier in the league game at Villa, again booking Hibbo early for a Â’foulÂ’ on the diving Ashley Young. That restrained Hibbo for the remainder of the half.

A few minutes after booking Hibbo, Fellaini was absolutely clattered from behind by, I think Essien, but it also could have been Mikel. We werenÂ’t even awarded a free kick and there was no booking.

Everton never trailed in the game whilst Hibbo was on the pitch and Moyes used the only defensive option available to him at half time, subbing in Jacobsen who himself was barely fit from a near season long injury.

It was an evenly balanced game after the break and Saha missed a great opportunity with a header before LampardÂ’s stumble and shot won it for them.

Our bench that day read: Carlo Nash, Jacobsen, Castilo, Rodwell, Gosling, Vaughan and the 17 year old Jose Baxter - 4 teenage kids. In addition to missing the Yak, Jags and Arteta, Anichebe, Nuno Valente and vd Meyde (cough!) were also injured.

The Chelsea bench, never mind the starting XI, was: Hilario, Ivanovic, Belleti, Mancienne, Ballack, Di Santo and Kalou.

I accept there is plenty to critique Moyes for in his time with us. That year, that cup run, the cup final itself and how he juggled and managed his vastly depleted resource was not one of them.

Bobby Thomas
88 Posted 17/02/2015 at 21:22:29
Dave #86

Towards the back end of last season Martinez was playing a 4-3-3 and had started having a go with Barkley in a left half position, left of the midfield 3.

Early on in a game, forget which, Ross was on about the halfway line, back to goal. The ball was knocked into him and...... he honestly had no idea what to do. Hold, give, take a touch, play. Ultimately he awkwardly retained possession. But it was the first time I ever though, "Oh no."

People say Martinez should play him in his proper position. I have no problem with Martinez playing him in mid. He should be able to. Midfielders such as Santi Cazorla can play all across. You have to be able to these days. Only world legends are exclusive number 10Â’s.

The fact that he cannot get to grips with playing in that left half kind of position, worries me. There Â’s a lot more to football that just picking the ball up and dribbling straight at the opposition. I am very worried about him off the ball, heÂ’s poor full stop. Also his combination/link play and awareness appears lacking. To be fair he looks better in a deeper central role but off the ball he is a bit of a liability. People may view that as Moyes-esque, however there are two aspects of the game. Look at how hard a flair player like Hazard at Chelsea works for the team.

He is still young and developing. I think there are some parallels with Jack Wiltshire. Now I know he splits opinion, but I rate him. I think injuries have really troubled him, meaning he has had big spells where he hasnÂ’t been fully fit & able to get going. HeÂ’s also been moved about & been struggling for a defined position. IÂ’ve seen him have some shockers where IÂ’ve wondered quite where his career is going.

Maybe they are both just young players finding their way. Not everyone, well, anyone, comes through like Rooney, basically ready to play at 17. That was a freak. Although he did have some shockers as well. Its also a much easier game when your playing for a good side with good players. We have been awful & Barkley has lost his confidence playing in a clearly troubled dressing room.

Basically all we can do is wait and see. HeÂ’s better than this season, definitely. But he needs to start developing & fast, as there are aspects of his game which are not top class. Look at Sterlings rate of progression. To do that, first he needs to be injury free.

Mark Andersson
89 Posted 18/02/2015 at 03:00:13
Very interesting read, Bobby Thomas. The whole team has been off this season. Sterling was hit and miss last season, he has been more consistent this season, so letÂ’s just hope that Ross will have learnt from his mistakes.

Maybe he will do better in the Europa League and get his confidence back. No doubt about it though itÂ’s been a utterly disappointing season. We still have a relegation battle ahead, so the players need our support big time.

Christine Foster
90 Posted 18/02/2015 at 04:50:29
Jay, I am not blaming Osman or Hibbert for the loss to Chelsea, never have. As you rightly point out, the circumstances were not the best, the referee didn't help and we had chances to win it.

The point I was making was that both players struggled badly to cope (not good enough) and that Moyes did nothing to change it on the field never mind from the bench.

HIbbert is a full back, Osman is a midfielder. they were not played out of position but on the day they, and others, were not good enough. Five years later I for one am surprised they are still in consideration but we are were we are.

On a good day Osman has been brilliant but the gap between those days is lengthening and age and injury compound their ability.

Darren Hind
91 Posted 18/02/2015 at 06:02:23
Sorry Christine. I can't agree.

If you had spoken about Baines's church-mouse performance, Yobo and Lescott trembling at the site of Drogba, Howard's Julian Clarey wrist, or the capitulation of Cahill, Fellaini and Neville (allowing Chelsea almost total possession for the last half hour of the game), I could have accepted that; but you didn't. You went down the well trodden path of pointing the finger at Hibbert and Osman.

Our right side wasn't targeted, Malouda and Cole had been destroying some of Europe's top teams that season and they were coming down our right side no matter who was there.

I like and agree with most of your posts Christine, but I think you are peddling a myth here. I think you know in your own heart the Osman WAS played out of position that day. I also think you know that, if Lyndon or Michael were to put up a pole asking who has been our best right back this season, the fella you dismiss as "not good enough" would win by a landslide.

Neither of these boys are world class, in fact they are not even international class, but between them they have accumulated more points for EFC than probably any other pair in our history.

They deserve so much more than to be regarded as eternal scapegoats.

Daniel Joseph
93 Posted 18/02/2015 at 07:22:44
Sorely missed.
Clive Rogers
94 Posted 18/02/2015 at 09:25:51
Christine, I'm with you.

Lets be honest, the club are trying to get him fit now so they don't have to buy a replacement. He's had his day, the same as Barry, Hibbert, Howard etc.

Colin Glassar
95 Posted 18/02/2015 at 09:44:15
Fact is, we scored an early goal and then, surprise, surprise, we went deep and tried to defend for the rest of the game.

Neither Ossie or Hibbo were to blame – it was our gutless manager (at the time) who probably told the players before KO, "This is a top, top team so just keep the score down and don’t embarrass me."

Yes, we had missing players; yes, we had unfit players playing but the tactics were abysmal and after scoring it was a return to damage control.

Christine Foster
96 Posted 18/02/2015 at 09:50:23
Darren, I actually agree with the basis of what you say BUT the fact remains that, when the teamsheet was seen by Chelsea, that's where they concentrated their attacks, They played to their strengths and our weakness. That's NOT to say (repeating myself) that others did not step up to the mark either but watching that game was cringeworthy to see... sorry, my opinion.

The point of my posts are that we are celebrating a possible return which is good for the player and the squad but frankly at 34 he is unlikely to start very often or last a game, so he is no longer the answer to the creative requirements of midfield. I am pleased for the guy but frustrated that we are having to depend on someone who cannot give a full 90 mins. For all his skills, time catches up with all.

Christine Foster
97 Posted 18/02/2015 at 10:00:11
Poll for the best Right Back of the season? Hibbert? Really? Sorry Darren.. Big heart but sadly lacking now...
Colin Glassar
98 Posted 18/02/2015 at 10:13:50
Christine, I donÂ’t think anyone in their right minds would ever mention Ossie and Hibbo amongst the Everton greats.

My admiration for them stems from the fact that, in this day and age of greedy, money grabbing, egotistical prima donnas, these two lads have stayed loyal to the club they love.
They may not be the most talented but they are part of us. No airs or graces – just down to earth, honest pros who give their all whenever called upon.

Clive Rogers
99 Posted 18/02/2015 at 10:18:07
I can just see it now at the start of next season, Osman and Pienaar are like two new signings.
Charlie Burnett
100 Posted 18/02/2015 at 10:39:47
Bring back last season's Fisher-Price crest...

It clearly brought us luck!!!

Jay Wood
101 Posted 18/02/2015 at 12:20:54
Christine, I appreciate you are questioning the 'celebration' of the possible return of two great club stalwarts who, as you rightly say, are ageing and waning and unlikely to be regularly selected or able to contribute much more (on the pitch) in the long term. This is one of many issues RM needs to address.

That said, it was you who first referenced the 2009 final in this thread and repeated the myth that they cost us the cup. In your later posts that morphed into blaming Moyes for not addressing the issue, seemingly pre-game and in-game.

I and others have detailed the considerable mitigating circumstances that contrived against Moyes and the team that cup run, that day.

So, take the controls. You are David Moyes in the white hot heat of a Wembley cup final (literally! It was a scorcher that day, with the sun concentrated most fiercely in the first half in the very quadrant Hibbo and Oz were operating in).

You look to your bench and think how to change things up. You have Carlo Nash, Jacobsen, Castilo, Rodwell, Gosling, Vaughan and the 17-year-old Jose Baxter – 4 teenage kids. You are mindful you have players out on the pitch carrying knocks, returning from injury, not fully fit. You're not sure if the game will finish in 90 minutes or require extra time.

Now, make the decision to not merely hold on, but to win the game. Not easy, is it?

I repeat, I accept there is plenty to critique Moyes for in his time with us. That year, that cup run, the cup final itself and how he juggled and managed his vastly depleted resource is not one of them.

Colin Glassar
102 Posted 18/02/2015 at 12:23:34
I see Baines isnÂ’t in the squad for tomorrow which must mean his Â’knockÂ’ is far more serious than we thought or were led to believe.
Dominic Tonge
103 Posted 18/02/2015 at 12:21:07
To be honest, Hibbo has come in this season, and done very well, and to be fair to him, he offers more defensively than Coleman does. I am happy to admit he is not the most dynamic, or his distribution is not great, but he is a very solid defensive right back, bit of a throwback.

Also, re: the 2009 FA Cup Final, the lad was plainly not ready fitness wise, but, he ran his tripe out, and him putting in that much effort when not at 100% should have been talismanic for us, something the rest emulated, but it wasn't. Instead, he gets slagged to bits. That final, Hibbo was the ONLY Everton player who was worthy of praise.

Tony J Williams
104 Posted 18/02/2015 at 12:35:09
Christine, they concentrated their attacks down the right because Cole and Malouda were having the time of their lives that season.

This is a team that should have went through to the final of the Champion's League but for some dodgy reffing and a last gasp goal from Barca.

What about the pathetic attempt by Lescott to defend Drogba's header, what about Pip shitting himself and dropping off allowing Lampard to fire in the winner?

Chelsea didn't target the right side, they just played better down that wing and a combination of an unfit Ossie/Hibbert and a dodgy early yellow by Webb screwed us royally.

One game five years ago when both were clearly not fully fit should not be continually dragged up as some sort of proof that these Premier League players with 750+ games between them are "not good enough"....!!!!

Christine Foster
106 Posted 18/02/2015 at 13:07:59
Tony, let's get it straight, the final was a culmination of poor performances on the day, all round, okay? But... Go back and look at the seasons in question and tell me that either didn't come in for significant stick for their performances throughout, as did Moyes for his obvious favoritism.

Sad to say also but your contention that, just because they have 750 appearances between them, it is an affront to common sense. No matter how good players are, I repeat once again, that there comes a time when they are simply not good enough to do a job for 90 mins. Both Osman and Hibbert are well into that category and have been for some time.

Both have been great servants to the club, commitment, heart, blue through and through. They played to the best of their ability and that's all you could ask for. Whether or not that is good enough now is clear to them and most supporters. They are now fringe squad players, in my opinion – that's not a critiscm but a fact of life.

Dave Abrahams
107 Posted 18/02/2015 at 13:11:18
Bobby (88) and Mark(89 ). I still think Barkley has the making of a very good player and I also hope he will realise, himself, how good he can be, it's just he is a very slow learner and sometimes to be playing with blinkers on and doesn't see the easy pass or when a shot is on at goal.

Then you see him play a full game, as against Man City at the end of last season, when you can see how brilliant he can be. Basically it is really up to the lad himself, but he does need help and support from others including us fans.

Tony J Williams
108 Posted 18/02/2015 at 14:04:17
Christine, it would seem that both Martinez and I disagree with you in the issue with Ossie now being good enough or not, as he is played whenever fit.

No-one is arguing with you about Hibbert now, but are arguing about the issue of 5 years ago, when he clearly was good enough.

Andrew Ellams
109 Posted 18/02/2015 at 14:20:08
Personally, I think Barkley's problems are more down to confidence than ability. He was played in the middle and was outstanding and scored a screamer, but then he was moved back into his no particular position at all in the next game and the confidence boost was lost. He needs a quality continental coach who would know exactly how and where to play him
Gareth Fieldstead
110 Posted 18/02/2015 at 14:23:34
Totally agree, Jay. If Everton had no injuries that day, we would have won the cup, no problem whatsoever. This has nothing to do with being a blue. Arteta and Jags were in the form of there careers and the Yak had just come off being EvertonÂ’s most successful scorer in a season for 16 years.

Our three most influential players all out. It would have been the equivalent of Chelsea without Terry, Drogba and Lampard and us having a full squad to choose from. Webb was dreadful that day, as you already pointed out the challenge on Fellaini should have been a red.

Unlike that lot over the park we never have an easy run to a final. We played four of the top 6 teams that season. To get as far as we did was unbelievable. Same in 1995, Spurs, Man Utd, Newcastle all favourites for the cup at one point. They get Blackburn, Bolton, Wimbledon!

Hopefully Osman can provide us with that spark we need for a safe run in and hopefully a few more rounds in the EL.

Colin Glassar
111 Posted 18/02/2015 at 14:35:50
LetÂ’s forget that final.

I have a foot in both camps with this one. Whilst recognising the contributions of Ossie and Hibbo over the years, Old Father Time is catching up with both of them. Regardless of that, I still think they can contribute in certain games and for short bursts (in the case of Ossie).

I say ease them out gracefully, itÂ’s the least they deserve.

Tony Hill
112 Posted 18/02/2015 at 15:04:59
Agreed Colin. I also share your concern about Baines from your previous post. I find his situation a bit strange in truth; let's hope it's not yet another of those odd injuries we seem to get which keep the player out for months.
Colin Glassar
113 Posted 18/02/2015 at 15:12:12
It's not just now Tony, for some reason when our players get 'knocks' that usually means a few weeks out. Now I don't know if this is established policy but why don't they just say, "X player has a knee injury and will be out for several weeks?" It's far simpler that way IMO.
Michael Kenrick
114 Posted 18/02/2015 at 15:37:39
Osman and McGeady also not traveling to Switzerland, Colin. Along with Kone and Pienaar. So much for all this talk of a comeback!

Christian Atsu is back in the fold having starred for Ghana in the recent Africa Cup of Nations. And the winger is joined in the 20-man squad by young striker Courtney Duffus, along with Russell Griffiths, Tyias Browning and Luke Garbutt. So it could be Young Boys vs Young Boys....

We probably need a new thread for this — I imagine Lyndon is busily writing his preview at this moment!

Colin Glassar
115 Posted 18/02/2015 at 15:44:48
I agree, Michael, but didn't we have a thread when our physio(s) left a few weeks ago? The recovery time for our players has been a concern for me for quite a few years now. This is not a recent phenomenon.
Michael Kenrick
116 Posted 18/02/2015 at 15:48:31
I'm not sure there's any conspiracy here, Colin – just the incredible desire among the footballing fraternity for positive outcomes – to the point where 'negativity' (aka realism) has to be suppressed.

I'm sure you're familiar with the tendency. It's like repeating the mantra "our manager is something special" and "there is no way we will be in any danger of relegation" – even when results are crap, you're bottom of the form table, and can't buy a goal for love nor money!

Colin Glassar
117 Posted 18/02/2015 at 16:03:41
Not a conspiracy, Michael, just a sad truth that ever since the days of Rathbone our players take an extraordinary amount of time to recover from 'knocks'.

I don't have the stats to back this up, or to compare to other teams, just a perception I have.

Michael Kenrick
118 Posted 18/02/2015 at 16:08:52
Colin, you're surprised that players generally take longer to fully recover than is initially suggested by the management, coaches and fitness experts?!?

I guess I'm surprised that you're surprised, Colin. It is the natural state of things.

Putting perceptions aside for the moment – without intimate knowledge of every injury, it's nature, extent, treatment, normal recuperation time, therapy, the individual's innate powers of recovery etc, etc – how could you possibly make the call either way?

Andrew Ellams
119 Posted 18/02/2015 at 16:15:30
I don't pay as much attention to how long players at other clubs are out injured, but if you take the Sturridge case this year where he must have had half-a-dozen postponed comebacks, there is some eveidence that it's not just Everton.
James Martin
120 Posted 18/02/2015 at 16:45:28
Darren, I am with you on a lot of the discussion here. For too long, fans have just looked at players on a teamsheet and pinned blame on so-called weak links. Finally we have a team now without an obvious scapegoat yet people still try and find one.

It's McGeady's fault we've had such a poor season, Hibbert, Osman, Pienaar, Gibson, Kone Alcaraz aren't good enough. These players aren't even playing, or if they are it's minimal game time yet they're getting blamed for a lot of the ills this season because the modus operandi of the football fan is to pick the weakest name on paper and blame him and it is exactly for that reason that fans are not football managers.

This is the first season in a while where every name in the first 11 appears to be beyond reproach so the blame has instead fallen to the manager. McCarthy, Barry and Besic could barely get the ball off Chelsea or Liverpool. They've created the total sum of zilch all season. Yet I bet if I did a poll of people on here, there wouldn't be many who would want to see them dropped for Gibson, Osman or Pienaar. Why? The latter three are proven top 6 quality players with assists and goals records far superior to the first three. They've had their injury problems yes, but the crux of the issue is these players are viewed as small, lightweight, slow, and plucky. Everyone much prefers the athletic, fast, young, 'top quality' profile of McCarthy, Besic, Lukaku, Barkley.

The problem is though none of these players are very good at playing with the football! They'll do all the running you want but when we get it they don't have a clue what to do with it. The sort of one-touch backheeled flicks you used to see between Baines, Pienaar, Arteta and Osman are a very distant past now. Even in that era though people were still calling for that grock Fellaini to displace these players. Another running machine who couldn't play football.

People never wanted to admit that when Hibbert was in the back four our defensive record was better. They don't want to admit that nearly every win this season has come with Osman in the side. They don't want to watch a highlights reel from last season showing that the majority of goals had Pienaar or Osman involved in some way.

City's most important player? Silva. Chelsea's? Fabregas. Liverpool's? Coutinho. Spurs? Eriksen. United? Have struggled to replace Scholes so have pushed Rooney in there. Top teams build their sides around creative talents no matter what shape or size they are. Barcelona were a prime example of that. You lot would be trying to retire Xavi and Iniesta to get Fellaini in the 11. Where are Everton's creative talents? I'm not talking about getting Deulofeu in or Atsu or Lennon, wide single-line runners; with the three drones in midfield, they'll never get the ball.

Where are our players who take the ball on the half turn, lay it off round the corner with their wrong foot, get the return back with their other foot, then carve a blind reverse pass through the defense for our striker to give him a chance? We don't have ONE player who can do this in the first 11, yet the two players we have in the squad who can get closest to this, people want sold. Mind-boggling.

Martinez can play whatever system he likes but the facts remain no football team has ever won anything without a midfielder who can link defense and attack. Besic and McCarthy cannot do this. Barkley potentially could if played deeper but will never be allowed.

Notice how in their years of domination Ferguson never bought a holding midfielder? Scholes and Keane or Scholes and Carrick, a classic midfield two where both players could get their heads up and feed the attacking players whilst they're on the move. That is what we need. That is what we don't have and should be what Martinez is targeting in the summer. Instead we'll get a defensive mid to replace Barry and another useless winger on loan. Then all the fans can keep on blaming whichever player's face doesn't fit – even if he's not even playing.

Michael Kenrick
121 Posted 18/02/2015 at 18:00:24
From The Source:

Roberto Martinez expects Leighton Baines to be fit for Sunday's visit of Leicester but Aiden McGeady will miss out.

Both players were left behind for this week's Europa League trip to Bern to continue their rehabilitation.

Martinez also explained that Arouna Kone wouldn't be risked on the artificial service and that Sylvain Distin was fit but didn't make the squad.

Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar are not yet ready for a return to first team action after only returning from foot and knee injuries respectively on Tuesday evening for the Under-21s.

More follows.

... Only it doesn't! Not yet anyway...

Colin Grierson
122 Posted 18/02/2015 at 18:25:51
We've missed Ossie massively. We have absolutely no-one who has anywhere near the footballing intelligence that he has. If only his physique matched his decision-making he would've been world class.

I still believe, at 34 and coming back from injury, he can influence the way we play and the tempo we play at. When at his best he lets the ball do the work and is the transition from defence to attack.

The haters have always baffled me. As someone stated earlier, he's a blue through and through and deserves respect for that. More respect than the Belgian pair of 'Mirror, mirror on the wall...' utterers.

Gavin Johnson
123 Posted 18/02/2015 at 18:40:40
I hope we get to see Atsu get some game time tomorrow. Thankfully, I don't think we'll see too much of McGeady irrespective of injury, now we have Atsu and Lennon competing with Mirallas for the two wide positions.

I'd like to see Martinez think a little bit more out of the box for the position behind Rom, with Baines, Mirallas and even Lennon given a chance there.

Fat Sam pulled a master stroke by playing Stewart Downing more centrally. Like Downing, I think Lennon has everything in his locker except consistent crossing (yes, pretty bad for a winger), so I think the middle of the park might be a position for him to be rejuvenated.

Colin Glassar
124 Posted 18/02/2015 at 19:05:07
A 'knock' used to mean a bruise, Michael. I don't want to get into semantics but a knock/bruise used to clear up after a few days. Maybe today's super athletes are just weaker then they used to be.
Mark Andersson
125 Posted 19/02/2015 at 05:01:08
Great post, James Martin. The reality is, though, we canÂ’t afford a top playmaker. This is why too many people put their wishful thinking on the shoulders of Ross, hoping he would be the saviour. If, and itÂ’s a big Â’ifÂ’, Ross dose somehow turn his potential into reality, do you think we would hold onto him? Not in a million.

I have slowly lost interest in this team; the manager has failed big time this season. Imagine a Europa League final between us and the Redshite, only one winner there and it ainÂ’t us.

Christine Foster
126 Posted 19/02/2015 at 08:06:21
Jay,

That said, it was you who first referenced the 2009 final in this thread and repeated the myth that they cost us the cup. In your later posts that morphed into blaming Moyes for not addressing the issue, seemingly pre-game and in-game.

Sorry Jay, I did most certainly not repeat the myth that they cost us the cup. I did say they were exposed for their limitations in that game. I did say Chelsea targeted that side of the park knowing the limitations.

You say there are mitigating circumstances, that other players also contributed to the downfall on the day, but my one abiding memory was of Hibbert and Osman in particular unable to cope. I lost count of the times both players were beaten to the ball or hopelessly caught out of position.

Both players were regular starters then and they ran their guts out but on the day they were nowhere near good enough to stem the tide. That was my point. Tactically you can argue we didn't set it up right or change the formation on the pitch to cover either player but we did nothing.

It's my last word on the subject, Jay... I repeat, I do not hold them singularly responsible for losing the game, that's down to the whole team and Moyes but a big heart and bleeding blue blood is no substitute for ability and they were lacking that day (as were many, but most unforgettably, both of them because they were targeted). We are 5 years on and still believing both are worth their places. That's my problem... end of.

Andy Meighan
127 Posted 19/02/2015 at 08:39:17
He's been a great servant for us and a great little footballer etc, but having to rely on an ageing midfielder is sad. Is that how far we've fallen this season? I like Ossie, I really do... but I've got to be honest and say he won't make a blind bit of difference in this relegation battle we're in.
Colin Glassar
128 Posted 19/02/2015 at 09:58:40
James Martin, that's probably one of the best posts I've ever read on here. We seem to be obsessed with wingers but if they are not supplied with the ball they may as well not be there.

I still think Ross has the ability to play that role, if he's ever given the chance.

Tony J Williams
129 Posted 19/02/2015 at 10:08:01
It's strange that of all the times you "lost count of the times both players were beaten to the ball or hopelessly caught out of position" we only conceded one goal when Hibbert was on the pitch. A goal I actually blame Lescott for, as he shit out of challenging Drogba.

Their second came right down the middle, so nothing to do with Ossie either.

Jay Wood
130 Posted 19/02/2015 at 10:21:47
OK Christine, let me change one word in my quoted words. Instead of 'repeated' let's say 'alluded to the myth'.

In my previous post, I acknowledged the point you were making about the waning powers of Hibbo and Oz, but challenged you to 'be Moyes' that day as you explicitly blame him for the loss that day.

I and others have spoken of the considerable mitigating circumstances that contrived against Moyes and the team that day, that season. I have shown you the impoverished bench available to Moyes and... you body swerve the challenge.

No problem. As I said previously, to try and win the game using the limited resources available was 'not easy'.

It's a tendency of some in the age of Xbox and Playstation to think football management is a doddle. That the opposition are static traffic cones for us to pass around. But of course they're not.

As one manager tweaks things in a game, so the other reacts. And that May day in 2009, man for man and the collective, their traffic cones were better than our traffic cones.

It proved just - just! - a step too far for our stretched to breaking point resources.

ps: 'end of', Christine...? Cummon ... you're maturer, more intelligent than resorting to that, Christine.

Christine Foster
131 Posted 19/02/2015 at 23:31:37
Lol, Jay, less of the mature bit, thanks, I went long blonde for a while but no-one took me seriously anymore! Did they ever, I wonder.

My sole and key point in making the comments was that both players are on the downward curve and have been for some while. More to the point, I think the pair of them have been the most loyal and committed players we have had.

The reference to the final was more to emphasize that they struggled against class opposition 5 years ago and here we are believing they are good enough to hold a place in the team, let alone the squad.

Did I body swerve the Moyes selection perspective? Probably... but only because it wasn't central to the fact that they struggled then and time has marched on. My real issue with all of this is that certainly Osman has been, and still is, a creative midfielder. That he is the only solution to our creative midfield reflects badly on our lack of replacements. I have a great deal of time for him, as I do Distin, but to compete in this league and be successful, you have to have players who are sharp, skillful and fit for 90 mins.

But when the legs go, they go. Look at Barry, in my opinion the reason he picks up the most yellow cards is not that he is a dirty player, but that he tackles a split second too late.. The edge has gone... Bit like me...

Jay Wood
132 Posted 20/02/2015 at 16:33:17
I'm not so much mature as decaying Christine ... and as for having hair to dye, I envy you!

I agree with the thrust of your main point – that if some are stating Ossie (in particular) is the best solution available to the lack of creativity in our squad, then it does reflect badly on the depth and quality of the squad. And I'm someone who loves Ossie to bits and believe we have missed him this season. It's a lack (among others...) that needs to be addressed in the summer.

I'm with you on the Barry thing too. He was never fast, but it is noticeable this season just how many times he has the ball stolen from him by an opposition player coming in on his blind side and in attempting to recover the ball he concedes the foul and picks up a booking. He and others, mind, had a cracking game last night!

The edge may have gone, even though (like you, I'm sure...) the mind is still sharp!

Now ... where did I leave me frigging glasses again...?


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