Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert have been mainstays of the this Everton side for over a decade now. While the right back has struggled to find fitness and maintain his position in the squad, Osman has been able to find a place in Roberto Martinez's starting XI quite regularly, playing in every single League game. He started twenty-seven times in the Premier League, with eleven appearances as substitute.
This season, the goals dried up for Ossie as he only bagged three in all competitions, his lowest output since the 2006-07 season. In his defence though, all three were worthy goals - the third in a 3-0 rout against Newcastle, the opener in a 4-1 spanking of Fulham and the dagger at Aston Villa for a 2-0 win. He did have eight assists, which was a career high for him and reflected his elder statesman position in the side. The Wigan-born player has mostly played in the middle of the park as Martinez was judicious in his use of the prodigy Ross Barkley. After Steven Pienaar was shut down for the season, Osman saw time out on the left wing as well. Martinez's tactical flexibility has bode well for Ossie as pace was never his forte and instead the Spaniard has been able to put Osman in positions where he can succeed.
Osman did have a couple of howlers this year too, and weakness in possession remains a major chink in his armor. The worst of the lot would be the backpass to Tim Howard that led to the penalty and winning goal for Sunderland at Goodison Park. That ended a year long unbeaten run at home for Everton, on Boxing Day. His misplaced passes and knack for getting his legs tangled up when dribbling have been big sources of frustration for fans this year.
He signed a new two-year contract days before the signing of Martinez, so he is going to be at Finch Farm through to the end of the coming season. Depending on how Everton do on the summer transfer window, Osman could find himself in the thick of things again next year. With the increased number of fixtures on the calendar, players like Osman and Pienaar could find themselves being utilized mostly for the Cups and Europe.
What are your thoughts on Osman's season for the Blues?