If rumours linking Abdoulaye Doucoure with a switch to Spurs, as per The Mirror, are to be believed, then you would be forgiven for thinking that the Frenchman has been the standout performer for the Hornets this campaign.
The statistics, though, show that someone is close to the former Granada man – right next to him in fact – and his numbers this campaign are far better.
Who is the unsung hero? Doucoure’s partner in crime, Etienne Capoue.
Doucoure has established himself as one of the top enforcers in the league in the past couple of seasons and is certainly of a top-six standard, or at least worthy of a move to a top side in order to prove himself as such.
The midfielder is renowned for his powerful runs from deep and his ability to break up of play at the base of Watford’s midfield quartet, where he and Capoue make the lives of Roberto Pereyra and Will Hughes far less complicated.
The numbers behind the duo’s game, though, prove that the latter number 4 is perhaps more influential than his highly-rated partner. Of course, age plays a factor in all transfers and Capoue is 30, but the fact remains that he is outperforming Doucoure by some way – is he not receiving the credit he deserves?
As previously mentioned, Doucoure’s marauding runs through the middle of the pitch are seen as one of his biggest strengths but, in fact, Capoue is better at them – the former completes 0.9 dribbles per match to the latter’s 1.
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While there isn’t much in that, former Spurs man Capoue’s defensive output blows his teammate’s out of the water – he completes 2.7 tackles and 2.9 interceptions per game to Doucoure’s 2.1 and 0.9 respectively.
Of course 1-cap international Doucoure scores and assists far more frequently but perhaps this is exactly why Capoue’s exploits fly under the radar. If the 6 foot 2 tough-tackler can add either to his game, he may finally get the appreciation he deserves.