Arouna Koné: Key to Wigan FA Cup final win over Manchester City is to 'suffocate my old friend Yaya Touré'

City midfielder and Wigan's top scorer have been close friends since playing for the Ivory Coast Under-19 side

Wigan must “suffocate” the performance of Yaya Touré, Manchester City's “lung”, if they are to stand a chance of claiming their first FA Cup, claims Arouna Koné.

The City midfielder and Wigan's top scorer have been close friends since playing for the Ivory Coast Under-19 side – Koné was a guest at a birthday party for one of Touré's children last Sunday – and Koné is all too aware of Touré's powerful ability.

"He is a really tough opponent, someone who thrives on possession, but if he doesn't have possession that frustrates him and that's something we will try and prevent," said Koné. "Yaya is like the lungs of the team – the vital organ. City are a great team but when he's there, there is something even more special. If we try and suffocate that lung then they are not the same team.

"When we played them [last month] we managed to do that. The service from the back seems to come through him and we had a system in which we were able to do that. If it hadn't been for one moment of individual brilliance we would have got something from the game."

A goal from Carlos Tevez settled the teams' April meeting in Manchester. But it was a fixture that gives some succour to Wigan, who enter today's game with their Premier League status hanging by a thread, as they enjoyed parity with their expensively assembled opponents for much of the contest.

Koné has admired Touré's qualities since being the end receiver of his service for the national youth teams. They are the only two from that side to have progressed to the senior ranks and now Koné, who is enjoying a fine debut season in the Premier League with 13 goals, will follow Touré in becoming the latest Ivorian to feature in the FA Cup final.

Since the final returned to Wembley in 2007 only the following year's fixture has not featured a goal from an Ivory Coast player. One came from Touré himself, the others from Didier Drogba. It was Drogba who first made Koné aware of the FA Cup, showing pictures of him celebrating one of his winning goals around the players at a national training camp.

"I'm aware of the Ivory Coast tradition in the FA Cup and I would love to maintain it," said Koné, who arrived on a free transfer from Levante in the summer.

The Wigan manager, Roberto Martinez, believes winning the trophy would mark a key staging post in the club's history, as well as a timely fillip for their relegation struggle. "You have to dream and the bigger the dream the bigger the achievement," he said. "Just arriving in the final is a photographic moment in the history of our football club. Winning a major trophy would take our club to a different level. We are all well aware what this could mean. There are a billion people watching this game.

"When I came here in 1995 there were around 1,500 people watching us in what is now League Two. We will be taking 21,000 to Wembley. It is a great example of how football can develop in a town and what you can achieve with it."

Koné will be given a lone striking role as Wigan chase a first goal against City in four years – they have not beaten today's opponents since 2008.

The make-up of the remainder of the side is less certain. James McCarthy and James McArthur are likely to have the job of suffocating Touré. McCarthy adroitly handled the threat of Gareth Bale in the recent draw against Tottenham.

Martinez's major issues have been in defence, although injury means he may have little choice but to field the same line-up that conceded three goals against Swansea in Tuesday's calamitous defeat.

"The defensive problems are something we need to accept and find solutions to," said Martinez. "I have never seen anything like the injury situation we have. But we won't use it as an excuse. We need to find the answers."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
Sport
Manny Pacquiao lands a blow on Chris Algieri
Pacquiao retains WBO welterweight title – and says he wants Mayweather next
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
News
i100
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin