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5 Telling Stats from Everton’s Semi-Final Triumph over Man Utd

The Blues head to the 2009 final, but what did the numbers tell us? 

Soccer - FA Cup - Semi Final - Manchester United v Everton - Wembley Stadium Photo by Nick Potts - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Everton’s long 14-year wait for a trophy could be about to end after beating Manchester United on penalties following a goalless draw at Wembley.

The Toffees will return to Wembley on 30 May 2009 where they will meet Chelsea in the final. But what did the numbers tell us about the semi-final performance?

Let’s take a look…

Blues Capitalise on Much-Changed United… Just

SAF changes 8 players from midweek

United are flying on all front this season as they continue to pursue the Premier League and Champions League titles.

But they won’t be able to replicate the famous treble that they achieved 10 years ago, as Everton punished Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. Indeed, it was a much-changed Manchester United team from the one that beat Porto 1-0 during their Champions League quarter-final in midweek, with Ferguson making eight changes to the starting eleven.

Thankfully for Everton, Ferguson didn’t include boo boy Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo – who scored a spectacular 40-yard winner just days earlier – in the matchday squad.

A Rare Penalty Win

Blues win on penalties for 4th time

With Everton’s painful penalty defeat to Fiorentina just over a year ago still fresh in the memories, hopes quickly dissipated when Tim Cahill blazed over the first penalty in the shootout.

Fortunately, Dimitar Berbatov’s tame penalty kept Everton level, while Leighton Baines emphatically put Everton in front – where they stayed. Fittingly, it was Phil Jagielka who scored the winner, having missed the crucial penalty at Goodison last season.

Of course, Everton fans don’t need much reminding about the Blues’ shootout record. The shoot out at Wembley was Everton’s 10th ever competitive shootout, having won just three of the previous nine.

Prime

Key players entering their prime years

It’s been just over seven years since a spritely young David Moyes took over at Everton, but this has been the first season where every player in the squad has been “his” – i.e. they weren’t signed by a previous manager.

And, after consecutive top six finishes, it seems as though Everton are about to really kick-on, as players like Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott, Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar enter their prime, while they’re surrounding by more budding talent in the form of Marouane Fellaini and Jack Rodwell.

Vaughan Drought Continues

No goals in over a year for 20-year-old

After becoming the Premier League’s youngest ever scorer in 2005, its sad to see that James Vaughan hasn’t really kicked on for Everton since.

And having failed to score in over a year for Everton, Vaughan was presented with an opportunity to write himself into Everton folklore in extra-time, but unfortunately – and worrying typically – fluffed his big chance.

Fortunately, though, the youngster showed plenty of bravery and composure to confidently slot home his penalty in the shootout.

He needs game time and maybe a loan next season will be his best chance at progression. But Everton need a more dangerous striker to push Yakubu.

Slow Starts

Losing 4 out of first 8 games is costly to Top 4 aspirations

One slightly worrying pattern that seems to be emerging in the David Moyes’ era is that Everton are slow starters in the season.

The Blues lost four of their opening eight game in 2008/09 – the same number they lost in the subsequent 24 games. It was a similar story in 2007/08 – and it’s ultimately what has cost us challenging for the top four.

But if we can end the wait for a trophy in May and get off to a good start next season and keep this team in place, the Blues could finally breach that gap.