The ups and downs of Etienne Capoue
19th November 2015

Statistics cannot be disregarded and Etienne Capoue is having a blinder of a season in a yellow shirt, sitting firmly in the top five in-form holding midfielders in the Premier League.

The Hornets’ number 29 made his debut in football for Toulouse in a 2-1 win at the Parc des Princes against Paris Saint-Germain. His career continued to flourish from that moment and he played alongside current Newcastle star Moussa Sissoko, soon becoming nominated for Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year.

Hype surrounded the tall and elegant midfielder and he soon had attention from Cardiff City, who bid £9.5 million, yet Capoue failed to agreed personal terms. Soon after Spurs snapped up the young midfield maestro for a whopping fee of £13.5 million. At the time, in 2013, this was no figure to be sniffed at.

27 September 2015 - Barclays Premier League - Watford v Crystal Palace - Etienne Capoue of Watford - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Capoue in action against Crystal Palace.

Capoue unfortunately became another example of a bright and young promising midfielder who was attracted to the ‘big lights’, destined to make few and far appearances for the first-team. Lo and behold, he appeared in a total of 24 matches in two seasons, somehow putting doubt into the fans; minds of his ability.

But let’s remember, virtually all players will digress with such little playing time. This proved a tough time for the midfielder who, at the age of 25 and 26, would have been itching for first-team football. It breaks me the amount of times clubs buy the stars at a young age and virtually let them rot away. The likes of Capoue should have been loaned out so he could play the 40-50 games a player of his potential calibre needs. Many teams are guilty of this, except Chelsea for example who have loaned most of Europe at least one player!

Once again, the saviours of Watford swooped and bought the 27-year-old in the summer. The £6 million fee did raise a slight eyebrow but, foolishly, I do this at most acquisitions then I remind myself with a slap to the face of the ability this specific Italian family has. It appeared a risk too for the player who once promised so much.

One third of the season through I have some wonderful stats to reinforce my message of the importance of this signing. Firstly, he is number one for both tackles won and interceptions made in the Premier League so far this season – a whopping 31 crunching challenges and 34 interceptions. Now, he is also proving to not only be dogged in defence, but equally apt in the attacking department with the fifth-highest pass completion with 82% accuracy. This accuracy is significant to the type of possession football Flores has put into place at Vicarage Road.

In a season which has had praise, and rightly so, on our attacking duo, we must remember that behind every good attack is a solid midfield. With Capoue and the likes of Ben Watson playing out of their skins, I hope we can keep this consistency up as it will provice pivotal to out league survival.

This weekend will see the Hornets face Manchester United. Reports are that Watford defender Prodl took a knock against Austria and came of after only three minutes. Let’s hope this is not as serious as it sounds, as our centre-backs are possibly our weakest part of the team in terms of depth.

Brad’s Predictions: Watford 2-2 Manchester United

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  1. Fee was just over £6m, not £9m.

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