Watford failed to take advantage of an underwhelming Tottenham performance at Wembley on Monday night. The Lilywhites struggled to replicate the zipping attacking play they’ve become synonymous with under Mauricio Pochettino but eventually won 2-0 as the Hornets missed a succession of opportunities to bounce back just before half time after the scoring was opened by Dele Alli – who capitalised on some chaotic defending inside the Watford box.
Clearly eager to impress against his former club though, Etienne Capoue stood out in midfield as one of the players prepared to defy the odds – Watford entering Monday’s trip to Wembley on the back of losing 12 of their last 14 away games in the Premier League. In fact, it was the Frenchman who slid a perfect pass into Andre Gray for Watford’s best chance of the match, but the former Burnley forward could only fire his shot from just right of the penalty spot straight into the body of Hugo Lloris, arguably Tottenham’s best player in a cagey night for the north London side.
That marked Capoue’s most creative use of possession, but it was part of an incredibly economical performance on the ball from the powerful midfielder. He made the most passes of any Watford player and finished up with their highest pass completion rate of 89%. Defensively too, the 29-year-old proved resolute, making seven tackles and four interceptions to register the most possession gains of any Watford player.
Last month, Football FanCast revealed that the majority of West Ham fans – 58% – believe the club need to sign an upgrade on captain and fan favourite Mark Noble. Although he’s often seen as the heart of this Hammers side, the Englishman has endured a difficult campaign and there’s been a feeling for some time that West Ham need to bring real quality into their midfield to jump up to the next level. It hasn’t been a fantastic season for Cheikhou Kouyate either.
Capoue, albeit not exactly a superstar himself, could prove a shrewd alternative, someone who can replicate Noble’s defensive nous and structured use of the ball but add real power to West Ham’s engine room as well.
The big question with any signing, however, is the price-tag, and Capoue’s may prove a little too large to justify for the Irons. Although Transfermarkt value him at just £7.2million, the former Spurs man signed a contract extension until 2022 in March.
But that was likely to protect Capoue’s value more than anything else; Watford aren’t exactly known for club servants and should they change managers once again this summer – which certainly seems plausible considering Javi Gracia has hardly uprooted trees at Vicarage Road – the 6 foot 2 powerhouse could quickly find himself bumped down the pecking order, or even made available for a transfer.
So the right offer then, could well tempt Watford into selling. But would West Ham fans back a summer swoop for Capoue? Let us know by voting below…