Player Focus: Leon Osman

Leon Osman has been a mainstay of the Moyes regime at Goodison, chipping in with 25 assists and 36 goals during his time at the Blues. He is a player who has often divided opinion at L4, with some questioning his lightweight frame. For me, Ossie is a top player; he has two quick feet, possesses vision, great touch, can score goals and always puts in a shift. In a national game like ours obsessed with physicality and pace, Osman  is something of an oddity.

The last month has seen the diminutive midfielder take a central role in the absence of a lot of our key midfield players. The stats below show the important impact he continues to have for the Blues, particularly in the final third where his vision has been integral, claiming 3 assists and 2 goals in his last 6 starts.

“Everton’s winning percentage with Osman in the side this season is 35%. Without him it drops significantly to 25%

Osman has more assists than any other midfielder at the club despite missing a large portion of the season. The local lad has benefitted from playing really high up the pitch where he is a best deployed – with his movement and interplay against Wolves on Saturday being integral to the win.

The below table is based on league games this season

It is also interesting to note from the stats that Osman averages a shot on target more rapidly than Tim Cahill, despite the Aussie often playing right up top as a forward this campaign. Osman has always had a nack of finding the net, his 2 goals at Villa Park in a game crucial to our 4th place finish in 2005 was memorable in a season were he got 7 goals, bettered only by Cahill.

His versatility has often been a double edged sword, enabling him to play in more games but often out on the right wing were he can sometimes be periphery.  On the left he has played some great games, but it is through the middle or as a second striker where he has always been most productive. His thunderbolt v Larissa in the Europa League (above) was majestic and arguably came around his most consistent spell in the team, playing centrally as the Blues went 13 games unbeaten,  a run which included Osman running half the length of the field to finish in the 7-1 win against Sunderland – a truly superb strike.

Ossie will certainly be key in the run in to this season, and I for one am really enjoying watching this underrated talent playing some great stuff at the moment.

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3 thoughts on “Player Focus: Leon Osman

  1. Really enjoyed this artice simple because I’ve really enjoyed watching Ossie these last few weeks. Particularly in that fluid 3 at Wolves. Question now is where does Moyes fit Arteta and Cahill back in. Biggest compliment could be is that we’ve arguably become a stronger side since he came in for Pienaar

  2. It doesn’t take statistical evidence to see that Ossie thrives on the responsibility of a central role. His versatility often means he’s forced out wide against his desire when more ‘natural’ central midfielders are fit/available.

    For me he’s a willo-the-wisp player, loves finding space and pulling defenders about. In a central role his physical flaws (lack of pace, strength) don’t matter so much because he’s intelligent enough to find space and his quick feet enable him to quickly shift left or right.

    If he’d have had the opportunity to play off the strikers for the past few years he’d have excelled, but given our squad limitations he’s been asked to ‘do a job’ and play out of position. Fair play to him – a proper clubman.

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