Watford’s ruthless decision to get rid of Javi Gracia and replace him with Quique Sanchez Flores is looking a smart move after a 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
The contrast between the first half and second half for Watford may have been enough to convince fans doubting the board’s decision that it was the right one, as Watford notched up their record tally for the number of shots in a Premier League game with 31, according to the BBC. Time will tell if it’s the right call, but it was a different side that came out after half-time – and Arsenal couldn’t handle them.
Defensive problems remain, but Watford’s midfield dominated the game which gave them a strong ascendancy over Arsenal, earning them 53 per cent of the ball versus Arsenal.
Standout performances from Watford came from Tom Cleverley in attacking midfield – scoring the important goal to get them back in the game – as well as Gerard Deulofeu, who was a nuisance for Arsenal the whole game, getting on the ball and attacking the box constantly, as well as of course Roberto Pereyra, who won and scored the penalty.
However, there was a performance in the middle of the park that may have gone under the radar which could have been just as important for Watford, coming from former Tottenham midfielder Etienne Capoue.
The 31-year-old put in an all-round performance of the highest calibre to help Watford dominate the game; being superb in defence as well as when he was in possession of the ball.
At WhoScored, the algorithm gave the French midfielder an impressive 7.4 – the fourth highest out of everyone on the pitch, behind Gerard Deulofeu (9.1), Tom Cleverley (8) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (8.1).
Firstly, he was crucial in Watford being able to retain possession throughout the game, which was huge in them building pressure throughout the match. He had a 94 pass success rate – as good as anyone on the pitch. He made 64 passes – the joint second-most in the Watford side and also more than anyone in the whole Arsenal squad. Additionally, he used his dribbling skills exceptionally well to retain the ball. He made two successful dribbles at a 100 per cent success rate and managed to beat three players – not bad for a 31-year-old.
On the whole, Capoue’s stats show that he was vital in winning and retaining possession for the Hornets in a game which saw them statistically dominate Arsenal in both possession and shots. Capoue was massively important to this, laying the foundations for the more attacking and creative players to hurt Arsenal, which they duly did.
Watford fans, how good was Capoue on Sunday? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below!
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