Player: Arouna Kone #9
Games Played: 16; Games Started: 8; Goals: 1; Assists: 1; Shots: 22; Fouls: 13; Fouls Suffered: 10; Yellow Cards: 3; Red Cards: 0
Arouna Kone joined Everton in 2013 for a fee reported to be around 5 million. This was pre-Lukaku joining on loan and with Nikica Jelavic on his way to Hull, he was looked at as the primary striker for Everton that season. However, Kone would only play in a handful of substitute appearances before suffering a knee injury that would leave him out of the squad for the remainder of the season and the start of the 2014-15 campaign. There were hopes that Kone would be able to contribute in a meaningful way upon his return from injury. But the former Ivory Coast international was unable to showcase the scoring prowess that he did at Roberto Martinez's old club, Wigan Athletic.
What He Did Well
In his first Premier League start since joining Everton, Kone scored a goal in what would turn out to be a 3-2 loss to Newcastle United. Though his goal tally would not increase from this mark for the remainder of the season, Kone was often dangerous in the offensive third. His dribbling skills often put him in position to score, though his final touch usually failed him. Kone was also able to form and brief but often fruitful partnership with Romelu Lukaku. Kone's presence allowed Lukaku more space to run in behind the defense and get himself in dangerous positions. But due to Roberto Martinez's penchant for a lone-striker formation, the partnership was soon dissolved.
What He Could Have Done Better
The obvious answer to this would be scoring goals. While it is understandable that coming back from a major knee injury can often mean that extra time is needed to re-adjust to the physical nature of the Premier League, but Kone appeared to get worse as the season went on. Outside of Romelu Lukaku, only Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas scored more than five goals this season. And while this may be a team-wide issue, it is reasonable to expect the team's number two striker to contribute more than one goal and one assist over the course of a season. But looking deeper than just goals and assists, Kone was rarely effective when on the pitch and often times stifled the offense. Given his size and strength, Kone was ineffective at holding up the ball and was rarely able to convert when he did receive the ball in a dangerous position. Now this can be partially chalked up to having a midfield that seriously lacks a true playmaker, but one cannot ignore Kone's poor play for much of the season.
What do you think of Arouna Kone's season?
In the poll below, give the experienced Englishman a grade from A+ to F, with 'A+' being absolutely remarkable, 'C' being average, and 'F' being completely unacceptable.
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