(Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
The Ivorian striker was Martinez's first signing as the Toffees' manager when he drafted him on from his former club Wigan for Ł6m but following a disappointing pre-season, he was struck down with a serious knee injury that almost ended his career.
Kone battled back to fitness after well over a year on the sidelines but while he managed to register his only other goal in a Blue jersey in a 3-2 defeat at Newcastle in the final match of 2014, he failed to show that he was a capable deputy for Romelu Lukaku.
Despite giving him this summer to again stake his claim for more regular first-team action, Martinez appeared to come to the same conclusion as many Everton fans when he announced that he had added a striker to his list of transfer priorities before the 1st September transfer deadline.
Nevertheless, he turned to the 31-year-old on Saturday when the Blues were trailing Watford 2-1 and his striking duo combined for Kone to score his first goal in front of the home fans to earn a 2-2 draw.
“It’s great to see Arouna grabbing the responsibility of wanting to impress at Everton and I know what he can do," the manager said in the Liverpool Echo. He clearly changed the game for us and it could be a turning point for his career at Everton.
“Since the day he arrived it’s been one thing after another for him and it’s been a big mountain for him to climb.
“I must admit I haven’t seen the real Arouna Kone that I know he can be until Saturday.
“First he misses a header and you think nine times out of 10 it’s in the back of the net but then he took his chance and he was clinical.
“Sometimes as a player you need to accept what’s around you and I think he’s done that.
"I think he’s been a great example to every youngster at the football club because nothing was going his way but he kept showing himself and believing in himself and the other players and staff tried to help him along."
Reader Comments (50)
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2 Posted 10/08/2015 at 07:46:26
One thing I've never done though is boo him and I thought it was disgraceful the way he was booed as he came on to the pitch against Watford.
Do fans think that's gonna help matters?
3 Posted 10/08/2015 at 07:52:53
As it turned out he came on and at least looked like the more valuable striker than Lukaku, who again was frustrating to put it kindly.
I was very pleased for Kone of course and I want to see him do well but it's still massively important that we sign a top quality striker, it's imperative because if Martinez is going to persist with this 4-5-1 formation, and it looks like he will, then for me Lukaku really isn't your man.
He just can't play the lone striker role well and the sooner our manager see's this the better.
4 Posted 10/08/2015 at 08:02:48
5 Posted 10/08/2015 at 08:08:01
6 Posted 10/08/2015 at 08:13:51
7 Posted 10/08/2015 at 08:27:17
8 Posted 10/08/2015 at 08:28:57
9 Posted 10/08/2015 at 08:29:25
I have nothing against him, but to date he is evidently not good enough.
10 Posted 10/08/2015 at 08:33:56
Pleased Kone scored a goal but I still think we desperately need another option upfront! Lukaku will score goals but I hate to say I get the impression he thinks he's doing us a big favour playing for us!!
11 Posted 10/08/2015 at 08:38:27
12 Posted 10/08/2015 at 08:41:25
13 Posted 10/08/2015 at 08:56:18
Even then he's heading ability is poor and he lacks strength and pace. Pleased for the lad scoring his first goal though, because he's had a wretched time since we bought him.
Overall he's just not good enough, despite what Roberto said in his usual OT optimistic manner, which smacked of desperation.
14 Posted 10/08/2015 at 09:06:18
I wrote last week that I thought Kone wasn't fit and didn't think he would ever regain full fitness again. There was no doubt in my mind that Kone when properly fit is a good player, I still don't think he will ever be 100 per cent fit but credit the lad he came on and played well, he even livened Lukaku up and maybe gave life to the fact Lukaku plays better with another striker alongside him.
15 Posted 10/08/2015 at 09:07:39
16 Posted 10/08/2015 at 09:08:54
You can argue that Lukaku only operates well in a 4-4-2 formation also, I personally have no idea what Martinez see's when he plays Lukaku as the lone striker but it must be very different to what I have witnessed and those who watch him every week.
To put it simple, 4-5-1 hasn't been a real roaring success since the day's of Marcus Bent or Andy Johnson playing up top with Tim Cahill running in behind late.
It worked briefly in the first season under Martinez but we lost our way at times that season because of no plan B and two seasons on, well nearly every other side in the league now knows how to stop Everton's plan A and still despite last season's struggles Martinez persists at home to Watford with the same tried and failed Plan A of the 4-5-1..
I'm asking myself is this now part of the Everton Football Club DNA??
What's Latin for "they must play 4-5-1 at all costs".
It only improved when he went two up front but will he be bold enough or even intelligent enough to actually try starting a game on the front foot with that two forwards?
I very much doubt it!
17 Posted 10/08/2015 at 09:19:57
As for Kone, okay, he is a smaller more limited version of Big Rom but he knows where the net is when he is fit and looked better in a front 2 on Saturday.
Also it surely forces the opponents back when you have 2 strikers on the pitch, which therefore means that the midfielders can harry faster andkeep the pressure in the opponents half. We actually looked dangerous for a good period there. Learn the lesson, Roberto.
18 Posted 10/08/2015 at 09:23:08
19 Posted 10/08/2015 at 09:25:54
The present system, exposes too many players defensively, it's plain to see. It actually doesn't do a lot for us offensively either, because we never get many players into the oppositions box.
20 Posted 10/08/2015 at 09:56:26
21 Posted 10/08/2015 at 10:00:02
Kone's first touch for Barkley's goal shouldn't be anything more than is expected from a player at his level but it becomes relevant relative to Lukaku's.
22 Posted 10/08/2015 at 10:00:58
23 Posted 10/08/2015 at 10:12:36
24 Posted 10/08/2015 at 10:14:12
I just can't see Kone getting 10-15 goals mate, I love your positivity but it's not going to happen.
He's scored a good goal there Saturday but it's the first time he's looked like hitting the net all year plus he's not going to be on the pitch enough.
I don't even see how Lukaku is going to get 15 this season playing the way we do.
People harp on about his 20 tally of last season but he got 10 in the league and that was a real struggle for him.
I think a more realistic expectation would be 11 or 12 at the very best from Lukaku and maybe 5 or 6 from Kone.
Is that good enough? No it's not but it's about realistic.
25 Posted 10/08/2015 at 11:11:18
Wow, that was bleak. Apologies for that.
26 Posted 10/08/2015 at 11:11:44
27 Posted 10/08/2015 at 11:29:29
Why sign him to play like this?
Will never happen but swap him for Bony at City. In fact when Bony fet fed up of playing no football there, flog Rom & get Bony in. His back to goal play is fantastic.
28 Posted 10/08/2015 at 11:53:39
I'd love Bony at Everton, I don't think he's outstanding enough for clubs wanting to win the Champions League but for a team like ourselves and Swansea he'd offer a more all-round complete striker than Lukaku.
There's no way it's going to be a swap deal though.
29 Posted 10/08/2015 at 11:59:15
Worse part about it, often it's middle aged men shouting stuff you'd expect to hear in a primary school playground.
Funniest thing from last season was a bloke in his thirties literally frothing at the mouth shouting and swearing at Sergio Aguero because when he was warming up, his feet went onto the pitch ha ha!!
With regards to Lukaku, I've been a critic but Saturday showed me that with help up top, he can link well. Same with Barkley, he can to life with Kone to look to.
The sooner we play two strikers, the better.
30 Posted 10/08/2015 at 12:06:27
It seems perfectly clear to me that the Barry / McCarthy partnership is offering nothing to us defensively as we still keep shipping goals, it definitely adds nothing offensively. For me this is the area that is killing the team.
We should have McCarthy playing the defensive role, 2 wingers and 2 advanced central midfield players. Then I think the forwards would show us a bit more.
Does anybody remember when a midfield player could do it all, rather than being boxed into defensive / box to box / playmaker?
32 Posted 10/08/2015 at 12:24:54
The problem for Lukaku, and any other striker up top, is the nature of our service. As I've argued plenty of times before, anyone who knows this team knows we need a different kind of attacking midfield player. Mirallas, Barkley, Deulofeu and McGeady all play with their head down too often. They take too many touches, and they mess with the speed of play. Watch Swansea play the passing game Martinez should play - their players move it on quickly and efficiency, and play forward. They play with one touch. Our attacking midfielders take an age on the ball, and we are forced to play back and sideways as a consequence. Our defensive midfielders are ball winners and not playmakers. Any striker playing in front of our midfield will suffer because the inconsistent and speed of service. Lukaku needs the ball played to him quickly - whether that be pull backs (which he thrives on), crosses, or opportunities to get him one on one with players. But we play at a snail's pace, unless teams come onto to us with cavalier tactics (Wolfsburg) and Martinez decides they warrant a counter attacking strategy.
Lukaku will score the goals he can score when we play a better system. In my opinion, that system should see Cleverley installed in place of Barry next to McCarthy, and an attacking creative midfielder who can play centrally and out wide brought in. Let Deulofeu, Mirallas and Barkley and whoever else compete for the place next to a genuinely creative presence who can control our tempo and get us in behind. Glimpses of Gibson and Osman's performances demonstrated just how much better we'd be with more creativity/passing ability, and neither are exactly fantastic players.
The sooner Martinez sorts out the creative issue, the better for the team as a whole. We need a backup senior CB, but we desperately need a creative midfielder and for Martinez to see that it's not the DM issues which are leaving us weak at the back. It's the absurd positioning and freedom given to the CBs, and work done by the attacking players. With a little more restraint and discipline, with the installation of a talented creative player, and with a quicker approach our first 11 would once more be legitimate top 6 contenders. Where Martinez can see beyond his bizzare and stubborn approach to team formation is another question.
Good news on Kone for a the goal. He should not be booed - it's counterproductive and unfair. An injury has derailed him, and it's doubtful that he will ever get back to his best Levante and Wigan form at the age of 31. But a fit and more confident Kone will be better than the shadow of a former player we've seen. If he can get half a dozen league goals from subs and occasional starts, and perform in easier cup games, then he will be a benefit to the squad. I'd like to see another young striker come in though, along with the priority playmaker and CB.
33 Posted 10/08/2015 at 12:25:33
Tell that to Martinez who seems to have a pathological fear of losing that makes David Moyes look like an attack minded genius.
Martinez came with this label of being an attack minded manager but as you say, two defensive midfielders,? At home to Watford?
What's that all about really?
I agree with your point, McCarthy and Barry clearly offer nothing in the way of defensive protection, we are hardly clean sheet experts.
34 Posted 10/08/2015 at 12:40:30
Watching the game on Saturday, it seemed that he and Cleverley were the only people trying to do things in a different manner to the usual predictable stuff.
As I have mentioned on another thread, we paid a fortune for a very left-sided striker and carefully set things so 80% of his service comes from the right. We now need to alter things or sign a top right-sided striker.
35 Posted 10/08/2015 at 13:03:44
How about Player Without Portfolio? I'm sure Roberto would be chuffed with this new name and further add to his reputation as a soccer visionary.
All nonsense of course he's a striker and is expected to score lots of goals, so far he hasn't.
36 Posted 10/08/2015 at 13:13:04
37 Posted 10/08/2015 at 13:14:12
Agree with you on Lukaku, but if we speed up the crosses, I'm not sure the big fella would get there. He just doesn't attack the goal enough for me.
38 Posted 10/08/2015 at 13:47:01
4-4-2 was once pretty much the default formation for English teams, but it fell out of favour as more foreign managers started coming in, and teams had to adapt their tactics.
However, in recent years it seems to have been making a return to the Premier League as teams learn to cope with the lone striker and attacking midfielder systems. Clearly the lone striker system can work with someone like Drogba, Costa or Benteke leading the line, but it doesn't suit every player or every team.
Lukaku IS a very good striker but lacks the first touch and holdup play to pull it off every week. He needs a partner who is willing to make run and open up space for him. Get the ball to him in the box and he is a deadly finisher.
I would like to see Lukaku and Austin (or whoever) up front, two wingers, McCarthy and Cleverly in midfield and Everton playing a bit more directly at suitable times of the game.
If we can find this illusive number 10 who can split defences with a pinpoint pass then by all means use the 4-2-3-1, but until that happens we need to adapt our tactics to suit the personnel at our disposal.
39 Posted 10/08/2015 at 13:53:49
40 Posted 10/08/2015 at 13:56:40
I'm not saying he is the answer to our goal drought but Martinez knew he would make a difference and he did.
Of course, we would prefer a younger, fitter, faster player with the same ability to read team-mates movements whilst scoring 15 goals a season but these lads don't come cheap. They are also difficult to find. If they do become available the money clubs sweep them up in an instant.
41 Posted 10/08/2015 at 14:00:03
We certainly need players who were a disappointment last season to step it up this season if they can.
Kone took his goal well at a vital time and coming off the bench could be the key.
42 Posted 10/08/2015 at 17:52:19
43 Posted 10/08/2015 at 18:13:17
Let's hope for a deadline day bargain to add to our strike force.
44 Posted 10/08/2015 at 18:14:54
45 Posted 10/08/2015 at 21:17:18
46 Posted 10/08/2015 at 21:26:41
47 Posted 10/08/2015 at 22:27:28
48 Posted 11/08/2015 at 09:25:32
He is not a good striker and he can not play up front on his own, but he can take defenders away from Lukaku and Barkley and make space with his selfless runs.
Lukaku needs Kone to start with him as he did not get one single chance during the 90 minutes played v Watford.
Something has to change.
49 Posted 11/08/2015 at 10:23:53
50 Posted 11/08/2015 at 12:16:30
I am surprised the top ten teams aren't queuing up to sign him.
51 Posted 11/08/2015 at 12:19:33
52 Posted 11/08/2015 at 12:54:19
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