Gracia: “Capoue & Doucouré Are The Best Midfielders”
By Kevin Affleck
Étienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucouré are playing at the peak of their powers and are a match for any midfielders in the country, according to Javi Gracia.
Gracia, a none too shabby midfielder himself during his playing days, has stood and watched the French pair dominate the key midfield in nearly every game this season, the duo playing with grace, guile and plenty of industry.
Capoue is the joint leading interceptor in the league, making as many as Cardiff’s Sol Bamba who is a defender in a side on the back foot. They are 12 interceptions clear of anyone else in the league.
Doucouré has made the 21st most passes of anyone in the Premier League and has two goals in his last two matches and five for the season. The pair are in red-hot form ahead of the mouthwatering showdown against Rúben Neves and João Moutinho, Wolves’ dynamic Portuguese duo, at Wembley on Sunday.
“I said it a long time ago,” said Gracia. “For me Capoue and Doucouré are the best midfielders in this league. They have a good balance, score goals, they cover a lot of space, they help defending, they help attacking, are very organised and are clever. I think both are playing at a very high level.”
The midfield pivots were particularly impressive at Molineux in October. Capoue scored the first with a tracer bullet from distance and then Doucouré laid on the second for Roberto Pereyra to stroke in with the outside of his left foot. They dominated the midfield exchanges to such an extent that Nuno Espirito Santo has since introduced Leander Dendoncker and played with a midfield three.
“Doucouré and Capoue played very, very well that day,” said Gracia. “They helped the team to defend, to counterattack and to score good goals. But it’s nothing different to other games – they have played at a high level all season. I know we can look at how we played against Wolves last time and how well Capoue and Doucouré played.”