Craven Cottage has not been a happy hunting ground for us and most saw this as a potential banana skin - albeit a rather harmless one given that we'd already sealed European qualification for next season. But credit to Moyes and the players for ending that particular hoodoo with a very effective 2-0 win at Fulham. Like his Chelsea counterpart for next week, Moyes decided to play his first team and go for a morale boosting win rather than try to protect players and put out a reserve side.
The morale boosting win is certainly in the bag but there's a slight doubt about whether we'll be able to play that same first 11 next saturday after Phil Neville and our most in-form player at the moment - Steven Pienaar - both limped off before the end. On the face of it though, it seems like both were taken off with knocks and shouldn't be seen as serious doubts for the final. Let's hope they make it anyway.
The game itself was won by two very well taken goals from Leon osman, but once again, the team played very well together, passing the ball effectively with Steven Pienaar at the heart of everything.
And Jack Rodwell once again pushed his claims for a final place with a very composed display, he really does look a class act and looks set to get the nodd over Fellaini to start in the final.
To finish 5th for a second successive season really cements Everton's position as the "best of the rest". In a season where we started so poorly due to injuries, player sales and a lack of stransfer activity, the blues have really kicked on since october, despite injuries to big players like Yakubu and Arteta, and the likes of Vaughan and Anichebe. To a man, the squad have been truly exceptional and deserve the success they're having this season. And the crowning glory could be next week. Chelsea are no mugs and our record against them is not great in recent years. But Everton's renewed resilience against the top 4 this season and the manner in which we've overcome sides like Liverpool, Man United and Aston Villa to even reach the final, offers real hope that we can come out on top at Wembley.
I would agree that Phil Jagielka was Everton's player of the season and it's cruel look he'll take no part at Wembley. Nobody will forget the part he's played this year though, a rock at the heart of the defence week-in-week-out, culminating in his winning penalty over Man U last month.
But there were plenty of other players who fought him close for the accolade of Everton's best player. Before his injury, Mikel Arteta was outstanding in center midfield and looking like one of the league's best and most influential players. Leighton Baines has been brilliant since winning his place in the side and is arguably England's best left back these days. Lescott fought back from a horrible patch of form at the start of the season and is now back to his best. Tim Cahill stepped up to play as a center forward and scored so many important goals. Tim Howard has been a model of consistency and broke Neville Southall's clean sheet record last month. Pienaar has been immense in recent weeks. And Phil Neville's enjoyed his best season at the club and will hopefully cap it off by lifting a trophy next week. I could go on... we've also enjoyed the emergence of Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling and all in all, things are looking very good for the future.
But first, the FA Cup Final. The preparation since the semi final has been brilliant and we go into it as a form team hungry for success. Come on you blues!!!