Football scouting blog

UNDERRATED: Etienne Capoue

In the world of football, when it comes to accolades and fan adulation, the attacking players always seem to get the most of the spotlight. However, its  the guys behind the superstars who often do the most important jobs. Defensive players are constantly involved and expected to produce every minute of every game and rarely get the same recognition or praise. Etienne Capoue is a twenty seven year old, French midfielder who currently plays for Watford football club and he is good example of this.

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Etienne Capoue

He arrived in the Premier League with a big reputation as one of the emerging talents of Ligue 1 but after a tough two seasons at Tottenham Hotspurs, he was sold to Watford football club.

“In two years we changed the coach three times. I wasn’t in the plans of two of those coaches, it felt like a very long time for me [without playing regularly]. Maybe they felt I am not a good enough player for Tottenham. I hopefully will show them it was the wrong choice.”

With his time at Tottenham behind him and new burning desire to prove his previous employers wrong, at Watford football club, he has started to show the consistency and quality which was only seen in glimpses at his previous club. Etienne Capoue has been an ever present in Watford’s midfield which have had a very impressive start to their life in the premier league and find themselves currently midtable. This has been due to their solid defensive set-up in which Etienne Capoue has played a key role and they currently have the joint least goals conceded in the league.

Key defensive statistics

*(compared against players playing in the same position in the league with over 5 games played)

Etienne Capoue has played three games at defensive midfielder and five games at central midfielder; In which he has had midfield partner Valom Behrami for five games and more recently Ben Watson for the last three games – as Behrami had been serving a suspension for his red card dismissal. He has made an incredible 26 interceptions in his first eight games and is only second to Yohan Cabaye in the league who has made 30 so far. He has also made 27 successful tackles from an attempted 43 with a success rate of 63% which is only seven less than league’s best Lucas Leiva’s 34 successful tackles. Also, he has been fouled 14 times by opposing players which is third most in the league. With Etienne Capoue in the team, Watford have only conceded 1 goal at home so far in the league which came as a result of Crystal Palace penalty from Yohan Cabaye. If he can keep up his impressive defensive displays protecting the back four, he could be the difference in their fight for survival. At £6.3 mil, Etienne Capoue could prove to be the buy of the season for Watford football club and he is already outperforming players in the bigger teams in the same position.

Areas needing of improvement.

However, he does hold the unwanted record of having committed most fouls with 23 fouls. And he has also mis-controlled the ball 13 times which is the third worst in the league. This brings unwanted pressure on the back four and he has also been wayward with some of his long passes as well, he has made 29 inaccurate long balls and this total is only one less than the league’s worst. For a defensive midfielder, he does produce great defensive cover for his team however he still lacks the same contribution in offensive areas.

Etienne Capoue at 27 years old is playing some of his best football since leaving France and if he can add more goals or assists to his game, he could be a surprise contender for a place in the France “Euro 2016” squad.


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