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Moyes and Everton can defy odds

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Phil McNulty | 07:55 UK time, Friday, 29 May 2009

The late American tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis reacted to ending his personal nightmare against Jimmy Connors by delivering one of sport's classic quotes.

Gerulaitis - a flamboyant New York disco dweller with a flair for publicity - declared: "And let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody, and I mean nobody, beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row and gets away with it."

Chelsea have had the same hypnotic effect on Everton, who have not tasted victory against the Londoners in 22 meetings since a 2-1 victory at Goodison Park in November 2000.

Everton manager David Moyes has tried and failed to beat Chelsea on 20 occasions, a compelling statistic which suggests that Guus Hiddink will end his short Stamford Bridge reign by lifting the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.

Moyes may not deliver a victory speech with the colour of Gerulaitis if he gets the opportunity but anyone daring to dismiss Everton's chances of defying the odds is indulging in a dangerous occupation.

David Moyes (right) with skipper Phil Neville

They have simply rolled through the setbacks of losing their most reliable goalscorer Yakubu and most creative force Mikel Arteta through injury to arrive at Wembley, as well as clinching a Europa League place with a second successive fifth-place finish in the Premier League.

And even though they suffered another devastating injury by losing their outstanding defender Phil Jagielka for the final, after his shoot-out penalty sank Manchester United in the semi-final at Wembley, they concluded the season with a flourish.

The "band of brothers" mentality of a small, but tightly-knit, squad has been central to their success, but it is the driving force and shrewd leadership of Moyes, recognised by his League Managers' Association peers with their top award for the the third time this week, that has been the inspiration.

It comes as no surprise to former Wales captain Barry Horne, a member of Everton's last FA Cup-winning side in 1995 and a regular observer of Moyes as a respected media pundit in recent years.

He told me: "I recall hosting a phone-in on local radio three years ago and there was a vociferous band of Everton fans calling for David's head. I thought it was preposterous that he was being questioned.

"I could see then what he was trying to do. You could see the improvements in the squad despite the fact that he was operating under restrictions that did not apply at other clubs.

"People have jumped on the bandwagon a bit this season and others have talked about the occasional blip, but you can ignore that now because if you drew a graph in a science lesson, the trajectory would show pretty much continuous improvement.

"All that David wanted to achieve has started to come together this season. The age of the squad has come down, the quality has gone up and the value of the squad has increased.

"And the successes they have had have come despite crippling injuries right down the spine of the team - long-term injuries to Yakubu, Arteta and latterly Jagielka, who has been a fantastic player for Everton.

"At times David has barely been able to put a bench together, but against this backdrop they have once again qualified for Europe, reached the FA Cup final and, for those who are willing to either look or care, played some very attractive football. It has been a fantastic season when examined in that context."

Everton celebrate after the 1995 FA Cup final

Horne also believes Everton have made their way to Wembley and into Europe once more on the back of a dignified and classy approach on and off the field - with the relationship between Moyes and chairman Bill Kenwright a crucial element.

He explained: "Something that really resonates with me, as an Evertonian as much as anything else, is that they are a team to be proud of.

"If you look at the behaviour of the stars at some other teams, Everton are a class apart. They get on with the job, don't moan and don't cheat - they are built in the image and likeness of their manager.

"David has so many qualities as a manager, with some of these attributes possibly seen as his deficiencies in the past. He has got great self-belief and what some might see as stubborness.

"There was talk some while ago about player unrest, which I always felt was exaggerated, but one thing is clear - Everton's players know if they want to be in an Everton team, improve and play for their country, then it will be done David Moyes' way and they have fallen into line.

"There is also a very close relationship, and real trust, between David and the chairman Bill Kenwright. This is a key to what they have achieved. It hasn't been a case of Bill being patient with David over these seven years because he has not been given a reason to be impatient.

"And the other side of that is that David doesn't bleat or moan about not having £50m to spend every summer."

Moyes' feats - talk of a "boom and bust" record of up and down league finishes have been dispelled by three successive top six finishes - have inevitably been the catalyst for speculation that he may be tempted away from Everton.

He is constantly linked with Manchester United as a possible successor to Sir Alex Ferguson, while he was instantly associated with the Celtic vacancy.

But Horne believes the level of control Moyes is afforded at Everton, and his bond with players, chairman and supporters, does not make his departure a formality as they also found a club record £15m for giant cult hero Marouane Fellaini last summer.

"Of course there is talk of whether David will go somewhere else, and all that will take care of itself," said Horne. "But where will he get the same support and control that he gets at Everton? Not at too many places I would suggest."

So can Moyes crown another season of masterclass management with the silverware that has so far eluded him?

Horne draws parallels with that unlikely 1995 triumph over favourites Manchester United as he says: "Everton will be underdogs against Chelsea, but they must be full of confidence and they have fostered a bunker mentality because have lost that spine and they have relied on in each other in these reduced numbers for so long.

"If you are to draw similiarities between this Everton and the 1995 FA Cup-winning side I played in, we were in fantastic form, we were full on confidence and had nothing to lose against opponents who were expected to beat us.

"We had only ensured we stayed in the Premier League 10 or 11 days earlier, but we were actually in fantastic form and Everton have ended the season very impressively, keeping their eye on the ball despite the potential distractions of Wembley."

The odds and statistics may favour Chelsea - but if this season is anything to go by, this is exactly how Moyes and Everton like it.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    As good as everton have been playing this season, I think chelsea will be too determined, and too good for everton. They will want to make sure Hiddink signs off with a win.
    As a neutral, I just hope there plenty of goals!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Everton has the players but they need just that little bit of inspiration to beat a team like Chelsea.

  • Comment number 3.

    Given that Everton have beaten Man U, Liverpool and Aston Villa to get there, they surely deserve it!

  • Comment number 4.

    everton have got lucky, beating liverpool in the last minute, and MAN U on penalties, but i think there luck will go on and they will lift this cup, because they really deserve it seeing the way they played this season, it wold also be nice to see hiddink sign off with a trophy, but, may the best team win .

  • Comment number 5.

    From a neutral perspective, as much as I'd like the underdog to win I think Evertons injured players will be missed more keenly in this game and fatigue may well set in if Chelsea get an early goal.

  • Comment number 6.

    As davehickson said, if Everton win the FA Cup they will have done it by beating four of the other top teams in the country.
    Mikel Arteta is the main creator in midfield, Jagielka is the best player in an excellent defence and Yakubu is the main goal threat. So to finish fifth without them for large portions of the season is a testament to David Moyes.
    I think Chelsea will win, but Everton will push them all the way and could take it into extra time or penalties. And if, when Sir Alex retires, Moyes is not at least considered for the position, it will be a sad indictment of the inability to give managers outside the 'Big Four' a chance to lead one of the top teams.

  • Comment number 7.

    i think everton are are great team and with loads of history they deserve to lift the fa cup even though chelsea is a good team.

  • Comment number 8.

    Respect for Everton and Moyes. I feel that Chelsea will be extremely determined to not blow their single chance of silverware this season though and will get the win. We'll see!

  • Comment number 9.

    Both Liverpool and Man Utd were lucky to hold on as long as they did against Everton. Both teams were well aware that they were the weaker team at the end of those games, and I dont see why the Final will be any different. Everton have got to the Final the very hard way, beating 3 of the top 5 rivals on the way, and they will not be scared by Chelsea.

  • Comment number 10.

    Most people expected Everton to ease up when they had secured a Europa Cup slot 4 weeks ago, but they have done nothing of the sort. So fatigue wont be a problem for Everton.

  • Comment number 11.

    As a Chelsea fan it would be incredibly stupid to suggest that the game tomorrow will be an easy game; of course it won't be, two 0-0 draws shows that. But Huddink has restored hope and faith to both the players and the fans, and I think Chelsea will be just too strong. As others have suggested, I could see it going to extra time. Expect plenty of goals though; Chelsea aren't exactly defending well at the moment, but the attack is playing better than any other front three in the country at the moment.

  • Comment number 12.

    Its a cup game. Everton have as much chance as Chelsea. The only factor that can skew the odds is supervision. I hope a clean man like we had in the CL final in Rome, overseas it. Whoever wins it ought to be on footballing merit. Let it not be that a controversial chapter closes the season.

  • Comment number 13.

    Who is refereeing tomorrow?

  • Comment number 14.

    As a Liverpool fan I want to wish the toffee blue noses all the best for tomorrows game. They deserve to be there the way they have played this season. I think they have a great manager in David Moyes who has built a great squad with great team spirit on limited resources. I'm just glad Moyes hasn't got a shed load of money to spend, we dont want you blues getting too uppity do we? :-) Anyway - good luck for tomorrow!

  • Comment number 15.

    Mightmuk - I don't see how taking the lead at Anfield then winning on a replay plus beating Man Utd for the first time in a cup semi under Fergie counts as lucky, not drawing 4 of the top 5 would also suggest lady luck was missing in action.

    We are massive underdogs for the final and odds of 4/1 to win the game with some bookies goes to show everyone expects a CFC win...if only Mick Madar was still there to knock in the winner!

  • Comment number 16.

    It's a cup final and anything can happen. One certainty is that the managers' benches will be occupied by two of the most courteous and professional examples of the species. No histrionics, no petulant tantrums, no mind games, no conspiracy theories - and both men so much respected by both players and fans.

    How very refreshing.

  • Comment number 17.

    To be fair, Chelsea beat the best team in the competition. Anyone who manages to take Southend to a replay must be a class act so don't discount them too easily

  • Comment number 18.

    Everton will loose ofcourse......
    The minimum Chelsea is going to score is 4 and 1 comes from Lampard.

  • Comment number 19.

    EVERTON UP FOR THE CUP!

  • Comment number 20.

    Everton for a fantastic win. Can we not have Tom Henning Ovrebo referee it???

  • Comment number 21.

    This blog may as well have been written by Barry Horne.

  • Comment number 22.

    It's a cup final and anything can happen. One certainty is that the managers' benches will be occupied by two of the most courteous and professional examples of the species. No histrionics, no petulant tantrums, no mind games, no conspiracy theories - and both men so much respected by both players and fans.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Really!??!?!!? Hiddink il agree with, but Moyes....really????

  • Comment number 23.

    its the beauty of the cup.

  • Comment number 24.

    No doubt Rafa will be at Wembley to collect the cup. Liverpool beat both Everton and Chelsea this season, so by his own logic he will have won the cup along with the league title this season! Fact.

  • Comment number 25.

    Moyes is a loser - never won anything in his career because he is too negative. I hope Everton win tomorrow because I dislike Chelsea marginally more!
    As for a great season - 5th they may be but Everton are virtually the same distance from relegation as they are from the top of the Premiership points-wise. Says it all really but to hear Moyes claiming now to be "one of the big 4" is laughable.
    Anyway good luck tomorrow - unfortunately I suspect that Chelsea will kick you off the park together with a few amateur dramatics from "Diving Drogba"

  • Comment number 26.

    For a long time i have liked this Everton team, at first i thought it was natural due to my dislike for liverpool... They really are quite objectional. But Moyes has proven himself a shrewd tactician, an astute buyer (Cahill is truly one of the highlights [and bargains] of what i consider the greatest leagues in the world) and a decent man and manager. Were it the pre-Hiddink Chelsea i would have had no doubt that Everton would go on to win... But given the surpising ammount of love and respect the chelsea players have shown to Guus, and knowing how good Chelsea can be if they want to play... It is going to take this weakened Everton team to pull out the performance of a life time!

    Either way i hope for a great finale to what is the greatest cup competition in the world! (not that Mickey Mouse cup they contested on wednesday)

    Up the Shots! (Wembeley next year!!!)

  • Comment number 27.

    Cheers neebols, good on ye lad. mickmadar-you've got some memory! Someone said they hope the ref doesn't spoil it; excellent point. I hope I find a boozer selling real ale by the ground, if I don't manage to bunk in, as loads of blues did for the semi, by all accounts! Hope it's a great day and there's no nonsense from the fans-let's enjoy the occasion, whatever the result. COYB! (Everton, that is!)

  • Comment number 28.

    5andcounting - what a ridiculous post ! In assessing achievements you have to factor in resources, and Moyes/Everton's are much less than many others, before you consider the players who have been injured for most of the season !
    By your reckoning Stoke have had an awful season !
    I am a Man City fan but have absolute respect for Moyes and what he has done for Everton.
    A win tomorrow would be well deserved.

  • Comment number 29.

    A 'bigging-up' of the prospects of Everton against Chelsea tomorrow is mostly wishful thinking by the author of this blog. Nevertheless, I hope too that Everton can win.

  • Comment number 30.

    Easy to tell which comments emanate from Liverpool fans. They never have had much originality. As for the result, who can tell. If one goes by statistics, it should be Chelsea but the beauty of the FA Cup is it is a great leveller. As a 'true blue' I go of course for the team I have supported for nearly 80 years now, the team that plays in Royal Blue and can boast the record goal scorer of all time. Just wish that Dixie was playing tomorrow!

  • Comment number 31.

    @Phil McNulty

    "But Horne believes the level of control Moyes is afforded at Everton, and his bond with players, chairman and supporters, does not make his departure a formality as they also found a club record £15m for giant cult hero Marouane Fellaini last summer."

    This implies that we pulled £15m out of the bag to buy Fellaini. In fact, we sold Andy Johnson (~£10m) and James McFadden (~£5m) and bought only one other player (Gosling, ~£1m). Castillo was a loan, Jacobsen a free and Saha we have paid out very little for. We have to sell to buy and to suggest otherwise is incorrect.

    When you consider we didn't even pay £15m up front for Fellaini (it's £3m a year for 5 years) we've in fact spent roughly -£11m this season.

    The sight of Portsmouth and Sunderland being bought out makes me sick.

  • Comment number 32.

    As a neutral I hope Everton win. But I also fear that they have 'had their final' so to speak. They have beaten the best team in the land in a dramatic finish at Wembley, (whilst huge underdogs) The feeling of that game would have felt as good as any cup final win. The players are all professionals these days, and I hope they don't think that just reaching the final (by beating the teams they have done)is enough, and that they have achieved. We see this so many times with underdogs who come through a semi final of epic proportions. After listening to David Moyes in a recent inside sport interview, I know he doesn't think this way. Hopefully Everton can rise one more time and do themselves, their fans and their manager proud.

    Sorry to Chelsea fans here, but it is good to see teams whose main cup ambition is not winning the Champions League as it helps us all believe that the FA Cup is a big competition once again.

  • Comment number 33.

    Good luck Everton.

    I hope they win and put the final nail in the coffin of this season's most arrogant, petulant losers - and bearing in mind that qualifies them ahead of Benitez an extra special feat not to be proud of.

    I hope all self respecting football neutrals wish them all the best.

  • Comment number 34.

    No 25 - Try a pint of Lager, the bitter seems to have upset you!
    Looking forward to a great game, 2-1 to Everton.

    COYB's

  • Comment number 35.

    Surely not two times in a week. You cannot back a losing team again. Maybe being a Liverpool fan I cannot see EFC beating CFC. Maybe I will eat humble pie tomorrow evening. Be that as it may I just cannot imagine a win for our mersy side rivals. I wish I did not have to write this but much as I dont like it I wish Gus a happy conclusion to his short stay in London.

  • Comment number 36.

    post no.4, by your logic does that mean liverpool were lucky to still be in the title race in march cos they scored how many last minute goals?football is for the whole 90(120) minutes, we have beaten 3 out of the top 6 so far,we are another, arsenal we couldnt play and meet the other 1 in the final. how can any1 in a sane mind say we have been lucky?

    and post 25 i hope u will be able to shut up after saturday. the waiter moans cos he hasnt had torres or gerrard all season.they missed a few games, try being without all your strikers, best midfielder and defender for long periods and see how you would do.moyes has worked miracles and the club is on an upwards curve.
    also where is this claim that moyes said we are 1 of the big 4? he might have said he wants to get there, or if we win shows we can compete with the big 4 but show me where he said that "we are in the big 4?"
    more deluded tripe from a red,go back to ireland norway or get some1 who is actually going to a final on saturday to take u back down to london were u could very well come from.

    COYB

  • Comment number 37.

    As a Liverpool fan i'm actually hoping Everton win - I have friends (including my best friend) who are Everton fans, and would like to see them happy.

    Plus the non WUM Everton fans won't brag stuff like "WE WON MORE THAN LIVERPOOL THIS YEAR!!"

    Even when the WUMs say it it actually doesn't bother me in the slightest, so good luck Everton!

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm not normally a believer in fate but when Jagielka was injured against Man City the other week I just knew we'd win the cup.

    To lose our best attacker, midfielder and defender to season ending injuries, to be drawn against 1st, 2nd, 4th(at the time) and now face the 3rd placed team in the league in the final.

    Added to that, we beat Fulham for the first time since 1966 last week. Who won the cup in 1966? Yes, that's right, Everton. There are plenty of other omens also.

    It's not just blind optimism either. When Everton travelled to Stamford Bridge this season, only days after the Semi Final, they should have won. Chelsea had a lot of posession but we created the better chances. In that match we even rested Jagielka and a couple of other players.

    My prediction - A 1-0 win for the indefatigueable Walton White Socks.

    COYB!

  • Comment number 40.

    As a Cardiff fan who went to the fa cup semi last year but not the final due to lack of money, i hope everton wins.

    Everton are the underdogs, Cardiff were the underdogs last year but i was proud of the team even though we lost the final. I believe everton will relish the tag of underdogs and try to catch chelsea by surprise.

    Everton deserve to win, and hey, 2 unexpected fa cup finalists in a row, not very good for the bookies is it!

  • Comment number 41.

    I have no particular axe to grind with either team but Chelsea are by far the better footballing team and should win. Moyes is a dour man and his teams play dour football, I can see Everton playing there usual 10 men behind the ball negative nonsense and killing any chance of a decent game. I understand why Everton fans like him because they're not fighting relegation every year but his teams are just too boring for me.

  • Comment number 42.

    Even if Everton luck into a scrappy win what will it really mean? A new dawn? Hardly. A renaissance in fortune for the blue 'quarter' of Merseyside. Doubt it.
    Everton's real problem will continue to be image. Unheralded, unglamourous and largely unloved. As in 1995 an FA Cup victory will merely represent a single shaft of light in an otherwise unremittingly bleak outlook.
    Interesting how Portsmouth have just attracted an Arab billionaire. Portsmouth! Where is Everton's saviour. There must be something deeply unappealing about the Goodison club, struggling to breath underneath the Big Red Machine.
    Cue the cries - 'Fourth most successful....'blah blah 'Founder members......'blah blah blah ad nauseum blah blah.
    The truth is Everton will always be unfashionable.
    Anyway Chelsea are too good, too strong and too motivated. Fact.

  • Comment number 43.

    Fantastic post Mogba1 couldn't have put it better myself..

    Spot on!!

    COYB!!! CHELSEA 0 EVERTON 1

  • Comment number 44.

    42. Why do Everton need a saviour? They are a well run, sucessful club that is at the heart of its community.

    How many times have you seen them play live to make a statement about the quality of the football?

    Good luck to all Everton fans going to the game, the Toffees have had an amazing season, if only Jags & Arteta were there - they deserve to be!

  • Comment number 45.

    *21* What sort of comment is that? Your point is weak, badly made and without thought.

    A good piece of journalism is where you draw from a number of acknowledged sources. Personally I was very interested in hearing from a member of a winning, underdog team from the same club who are underdogs tomorrow. By Phil M, including Barry's thoughts in full we obtained a true flavour what he was trying to say along with Phil's scribblings.

    I would suggest you engage upstairs before throwing your fingers in a random fashion at the keyboard.

  • Comment number 46.

    Coventry man (41) - Your point smacks of ignorance.

    E-type (42) - You sound like a horrible kopite. There are 2 types and you're the worst kind. Do you even live on Merseyside?

  • Comment number 47.

    "Moyes is a loser - never won anything in his career because he is too negative. I hope Everton win tomorrow because I dislike Chelsea marginally more!"

    I think the fact that he's never managed any of the 'big four' is the main reason he hasn't won anything.

    They hoover up the bulk of the FA cups, and one of them always wins the league. That leaves the rest of the managers & teams to fight it out for 5th place and the Carling Cup (that no-one really wants that much anyway).

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    It would be nice to think that a well organised, well managed unit like Everton could beat Chelsea, who are disorganised, full of Egos, have had no continuity of management and are awash with money they may not have used to best effect. The big question is can Everton's defence stand up to a barrage of attacks that Chelsea should be putting forward and can Everton get their questionably limited strike force in position to get a goal.

    The odds for Everton as an outsider for this event are relatively short at six to one, giving me the feeling that the bookies think, they will have chances, but they will be limited, if the Toffees let the Pensioners get an early advantage it will be very hard for them to get back into the game.

    The stats for Everton dont make good reading either, you have to go back 20 games to 2000/1 season to find an Everton victory against Chelsea, however only the last 5 or 10 games are probably relevant as they still hold the majority of current team players (i.e making previous stats irrelevant to tommorrows game!. In the last 8 games Chelsea have beaten Everton by 1 goal!.

    I am a neutral, but would prefer a real footballing side like Everton to win as it would make a much more exciting game, sadly I predict a 2-1 win to Chelsea not a boring slogged out 0-0 draw like the last encounters.

  • Comment number 50.

    Re: E-Type's comment "The truth is Everton will always be unfashionable" that is an entirely irrelevant comment, in truth it's just a pathetic dig at an honest, hardworking club. I am a die hard Everton fan and I do not want my club to become a 'fashion', nor do I know of any other fans who desire it. Supporting a football club should be something which is in the heart and soul, win or lose your club is your club, regardless of whether or not how 'fashionable' it is to do so. People who support a club based solely on the fact that it is the 'in' thing to do have no right to call themselves true supporters. To bring it down to a whim or a 'fashion' undermines the very essence of the sport; the true, raw faith and passion the fans have no matter what. That's part of the magic of the game. Of course I want my team to do well but the whole notion of 'fashion' in football is ridiculous. If you're going to criticise a team, do it on merit or performance, or something worthy of a legitimate comment. Do not bring it down to whether or not the club possess a shiny, sparkly 'fashionable' striker/manager. There are bigger issues than that. I for one do not feel that Everton need a 'saviour'. We'll continue to play our 'unfashionable' football in our half of merseyside. I hope your immensely fashionable and trendy self enjoys your prawn sandwich at half term E-type. Congratulations on being in with the in crowd.

  • Comment number 51.

    Ok, it's the FA cup so no one knows what will happen on the day - but if both teams turn up motivated and every player gives 100% then Chelsea will surely walk away with the cup. The problem with Chelsea is that it's plainly obvious that only a small number of players put in 100% - this has been my major frustration with chelsea on the pitch over the last 2 years, sometimes I want to run on to the pitch to give certain people a kick up the backside - and if they don't all put in the effort tomorrow and expect to beat Everton just because we've got better players on the pitch then Gus will be going back to Moscow empty handed. I hope they turn up to wembley to really prove a point because as long as they're up for it the cup is ours for the taking. Come on the blues !!!!(the ones from London!) Afterwards perhaps Roman might have a drink and a quiet chat with Moyes and B.K.

  • Comment number 52.

    comment 42

    You are hilarious, i would rather support no team than have them owned by a couple of americans who really saw it as a business prospect rather than a football club. And what does this fashion give you? What has your team won this year?
    Moyes is a legend a trueky great manager, sadly for us so is Gus. Win or lose tomorrow Everton have done me proud yet again this season.
    Finally Phil i keep hearing Moyes linked with United but i can guarantee you one thing Moyes will not go to Utd as long as Rooney is there. Neither of them would have it, and Rooney is such a merchandise and sponsor pull that i cant see Utd letting him go, therefore i think these rumours are very badly thought through

  • Comment number 53.

    4. At 08:42am on 29 May 2009, mightymuk wrote:
    everton have got lucky, beating liverpool in the last minute, and MAN U on penalties, but i think there luck will go on and they will lift this cup, because they really deserve it seeing the way they played this season, it wold also be nice to see hiddink sign off with a trophy, but, may the best team win .
    -----------

    u have contradicted yourself multiple times in the same comment...Everton have been lucky...then they deserve to win...then it would be nice for Hiddink to sign off with a win...and finally may the best team win

    What an idiot

  • Comment number 54.

    Everton may not have beaten Chelsea since 2000, but that statistic doesn't tell you how hard-fought many of those games have been. In particular, the game at Goodison in 2006 took three absolute wonder-strikes from out of the blue for Chelsea to beat an Everton side who had dominated a lot of the game. Chelsea will surely be confident of continuing their winning run against a depleted Everton, but you'd have to be blind to their season up to this point to write Moyes' lot out of any game.

    In a cup final, form goes out of the window, history doesn't mean a jot, it's just about 22 players going hell-for-leather and leaving all the energy they have left after a long season out on the pitch. If Everton can make it a hard scrap, take Chelsea into the trenches and make them fight for it, then they have a decent chance of an upset. Chelsea are clearly the technically superior team, and if they can play their way through Everton and assert themselves early then they will probably be capable of staying on top. Either team would be a deserved winner this year, so let's just hope for a good contest and some great football from all involved.

  • Comment number 55.

    Fascinating listening to you all being so far away it is the only thing really i miss is my visits to Goodison each week
    So I will be gunning for the Blue side of merseyside at 9.30am tomorrow in the hot Caribbean taking a rest from the beach
    What a pleasure to see Everton lift the Cup
    It all boils down to who really wants it
    and Moyes'Everton do
    My heart says Everton win 3-1 Chelsea score first my head does not agree
    Hey we would not be there if it was not for my optimism and encouragement given by watching what Moyes has produced over the last 7 years.
    I feel confident in a confident team even with our injuries and financial constraints
    COYB Boys you deserve it.

  • Comment number 56.

    The FA Cup final is a great equalizer and I see no reason for this final to be different.
    One stat Chelsea would like to have is to have won more finals than they have lost. For the first time this could happen. However I think the first team to score will win and because Chelsea will settle quicker it is likely to be them. My hope is that they not only win the cup but win Moyes as well. Good luck to both teams in a match that I believe is the most important single game, to an Englishman, on the calendar.

  • Comment number 57.

    It's going to be a good one, I can imagine a single goal deciding it.
    No such thing as either side "deserving it" the best team on the day will emerge victorious. The Londoners have quality throughout, but, just as Manchester United played well below expectations last Wednesday, a bad day at the office can happen to anyone.
    Very best of luck to both teams, their fans wherever you are, and all the travelling support fortunate enough to be there.
    Garry Nelson, if you're reading this and going to the game, have your best day out in ages!!

  • Comment number 58.

    ** Moyes is a dour man and his teams play dour football **

    What is this guy on? He obviously hasn't seen any of the games I have watched. He probably reverts back to the stock comment about Everton that even this season has cropped up in commentaries "the dogs of war" another reason I wont be listening Jim (I'm in no way biased) Beglin.

    Read the comment in the article .... for those who are willing to either look or care, played some very attractive football .... which obviously you havent.

    If Arteta, Pienaar, Osman were in any other team they would be classified as world beaters and as the latter's excellent goal last week proves can move their feet and dribble a bit without falling down in the box.

    The article is about the achievements of the man and his team this season and mentions the 3 main end of season casualties but please remember we started the season without Baines and Pienaar, Hibbo has been injured for a large portion of the season, Anichebe is ruled out until next season, Cahill has missed probably as many games, if not more, as Torres, Vaughan is just back, Yobo missed a portion of the season after being injured on international duty.

    Now I've had my rant about tomorrows game ... I think everyone who has made comments about the possible results is right we just wont know until 5 tomorrow night. It could be 0-4, 0-0, 1-0, 2-1 or even penalties (I believe Everton won the toss so are technically the home team, well they are the ones playing in blue).

  • Comment number 59.

    Moyes needs some special tactics to beat Chelsea tomorrow, and you have to hope Hiddink doesn't give you the in depth analysis he gave Lottopool and Barca.

    3-1 Chelsea win

  • Comment number 60.

    I would really like Everton and Moyes win a trophy, I really would. Buuuuuut I'm a Chelsea supporter, so hopefully they don't win it this year!

    But seriously, Everton have become a solid side, and have got to have silverware coming their way soon. I hope they make today's game interesting and the best of luck to them, but as I said earlier, I'll only be rooting for one team today.

  • Comment number 61.

    I wouldn't care to admit I believe in superstition, but I am still affected by omens. Barca never did enough to progress against a superlative Chelsea, but they did. Many believed Chelsea were thwarted by some obtuse supervision and believed ManU would easily undo the injustice, on behalf of the EPL. Not so. Barca turned out to be unbeatable on the night, beyond the pale of anything United could do. My feeling was, the fates so conspired. We had no reason to blame the supervision either.

    Now Everton, having seen off ManU against the odds, may be on to some unexpected silverware, even if they are not the favorites.

    Chelsea, indeed well-managed, are not on the cusp of a very distinguished finishing eclat. I do not know why fans keep reverting to the much over-used and by now hackneyed cliche, 'in order to make it a memorable farewell for Hiddink'. Isn't this intrinsic to the win? Don't they want to win it for themselves, no matter if the manager was some x y z, or a nobody.

    That it is a last Chelsea effort for Guus should not matter at all. Trying to win every game is honorable enough in itself. Are Chelsea not integrity bound to always give of their best? And that is important, and will remain so even when Guus is in distant Moscow.

  • Comment number 62.

    Obviously Chelsea are the stronger side, and still feel hard done by their champions league exit (which is stupid, because although they were hard done by in the second leg, barca were harder done by in the first).
    They will probably win. I'd like to see Drogba playing well for at least one more game this season, taking his tally to about 4 good games (and after each one, he is apparently the best striker in europe). I'd also like to see Fellaini play well, although I feel he'll be out of his depth against essien and lampard. Shame, because he is one of the few good all round centre midfielders outside the top 4.

  • Comment number 63.

    toffeegirl87- everything you said is spot on

    i think alot of fans now only follow teams because the way sky has glamorised the premier league. Its full of glory hunters following a team because its "cool" Do you remember the famous spice boys Liverpool team turning up for a FA Cup final in cream suits lol

    I love my Everton and always will the way we are just like the many REAL supporters who support a team because they are born into it i dont want no billionaire turning us into a chelsea or city buying glory /new fans/ being the laughing stock (good players should pick good clubs and not follow the money) but still being small time. Villa are doing it the right way because they are a real club with real fans, just hope sky dont turn Villa or Everton into a circus like newcastle - the biggest club and best fans ever(if you believe sky sports) who have won nothing in well over 50 years

    anyway hopfully the game will be won fair no chelsea moan at the ref enough about drogbas dives you get decisions tactics. (how could you support a team who tries to cheat the ref all time i dont know)

    May the best team win. COYB

  • Comment number 64.

    Cheers #50 toffeegirl87
    I am with you. Where does fashion come in with hard-nosed quality football. Toffees are doing just that at the moment. That Fellaini fellow, the one with the squirrel's nest hair-do, does he carry more than just a couple of squirrels in it. He is on target quite oftener than Chelsea would prefer.

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.


    David Moyes and Guus Hiddink have been outstanding managers at their respective clubs. Hope their footballers continue to play attractive and attacking football this afternoon.



    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 67.

    I'd love to see Everton win this afternoon. They have played very well this season and definitely deserved to be in the finals. It is anybody's game from here. The arrogant strikers of Chelsea would sag if they fail to score before the first half.

    I'll be cheering for the Toffees from New Delhi.

  • Comment number 68.

    Everybody keep saying...Everton deserve to win, Everton deserve to win, who does not deserve to win? As a Chelsea fan, i will certainly support my club to lift the CUP and i know most people putting blogs on here are NON Everton fan, just been arround trying to say nonsense and been of enemy of progress to Chelsea.

    All the same i have not much saying here, the game start soon and we see who WIN.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    The sheer versatility of Fellaini will win the game for Everton. Who else do you know who can stand to attention and clean your chimney at the same time?

    Toffee Trophy Day.

  • Comment number 71.

    @46 - Do you even live on Merseyside?
    ...................................................................

    No. And your point is.

    Do all Catholics live in Rome?

    The Kop stretches all over the world.

    Everton - local.

    Liverpool - local, national and international. Fact.

  • Comment number 72.

    @50 - toffeegirl87

    You sound like a credit to your club and I have the utmost respect for you however my point is that fashionability or appeal call it what you will leads to bigger profile leads to large international fanbase leads to greater revenue leads to better players leads to more trophies and so on.

    It feeds on itself and self perpetuates.

    So to deride fashionability read popularity is really to accept being unsuccessful IMHO.

    And yes I do think you need a saviour read huge new investment and Bill Kenwright has said as much.

    And sorry prawns disagree with me.

  • Comment number 73.

    As a Liverpool fan, I have to say I'm supporting Everton in todays game for a couple of reasons.

    Part of the reason I'm on Everton's side is because I just don't like Chelsea and the way they play football these days. They have a 'win at all costs' mentality, which is the reason their players cheat as much as they do.

    Especially Drogba, Malouda, and Ashley Cole. As for John Terry, he is one of the dirtiest defenders around, constantly committing niggling little fouls, which are usually ignored by the referee.

    So, as much as being a Liverpool fan instills an instinctive dislike for Everton, my dislike of Chelsea is much higher.

    However, the main reason I am supporting Everton today is something else, something that has not been mentioned by anyone else.

    20 years ago 96 Liverpool fans died at an FA Cup semi-final. I was at the final that year, and the togetherness between the two sets of fans was something that was truly awe-inspiring.

    Hillsborough was a disaster for the city of Liverpool as a whole, not just one club, and personally I think it would be a fitting tribute this year if the cup could be brought back to the city that has suffered so much sadness.

    Come on Everton, teach those southern softy cheats a lesson!

    Spawny

  • Comment number 74.

    David Moyes is a fantastic manager and really knows how to get the best out of his players, I just can't see them beating Chelsea today, they will be determined to end the season on a high, not only for themselves and the fans, but for the manager as well, and the overall quality of the Chelsea team will be too much for them. My money is on the Lay against Everton winning the FA Cup outright. Not sure if Chelsea will end this in the normal 90 minutes or not, but think they will one way or another.



  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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