Arsenal Transfer News: Comparing Etienne Capoue to Yann M'Vila

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentMay 26, 2012

Arsenal Transfer News: Comparing Etienne Capoue to Yann M'Vila

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    If Arsenal signs Étienne Capoue, he's not a significant downgrade from Yann M'Vila; instead Capoue could be the enforcer Arsenal need.

    Capoue is Arsenal's backup if the Yann M'Vila deal collapses, according to the Daily Mail.

    It's ludicrous that Arsenal supporters would even question Arsène Wenger's expertise when it comes to French football.

    It's even more comical when some Gunners supporters downplay Capoue's ability, even though they haven't watched a single minute of Toulouse this season.

    Here's an in-depth comparison of 23-year-old Capoue and 21-year-old M'Vila for Arsenal supporters. 

5. Comparing the Playing Styles of Étienne Capoue and Yann M'Vila

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    • Étienne Capoue, 6'2" (1.89 m), 176 lbs (80 kg)
    • Yann M'Vila, 6'0" (1.83 m), 176 lbs (80 kg)

    Étienne Capoue is arguably the most intimidating player in French football. His reckless tackling is the reason why he conceded two free kicks per game. Surprisingly, he only accumulated seven yellow cards and one red card. 

    Yann M'Vila is an opportunistic tackler. He tackles for the sake of winning the ball, whilst Capoue aims to strike fear. M'Vila was the only midfielder in Ligue 1 to complete 100 tackles, yet concede 0.9 fouls or lower per game. 

    Like Arturo Vidal and Javi Fuego, Capoue has an insatiable need to win the ball, which is why he's at his best if given a free role in midfield. M'Vila patrols his area and tackles anyone that dares to enter. 

4. Statistically Comparing Étienne Capoue to Yann M'Vila

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    The statistics don't fully reveal Étienne Capoue's ability to dominate opposing players.

    Ask Montpellier's Younés Belhanda, who was shut down by Capoue in a 1-1 draw. 

    Marseille youngster Jordan Ayew was another victim as he was pushed around by Capoue, when Toulouse won 1-0. 

    Yann M'Vila's statistics are impeccable. He has no weaknesses as a defensive midfielder. Ideally, he needs to get his pass percentage into the high 80s, preferably into the 90s like Leon Britton and Sergio Busquets.

    That being said, M'Vila does a great job orchestrating play from a deep-lying position and has sent in some wonderful diagonal passes. 

    Capoue is a good passer but he needs to be more efficient. What lets him down is his long ball passing, which he only completes 52.7 percent of the time. 

    Even though Capoue's discipline may be an issue, Patrick Vieira, Arsenal's greatest defensive midfielder, is tied with Duncan Ferguson and Richard Dunne for the most red cards in Premier League history. 

    Arsène Wenger once said Paul Scholes had a dark side to his game—well, Vieira had the same trait, and so does Capoue. 

    League Only Capoue  M'Vila
    Tackles Per Game 2.8 3.1
    Interceptions Per Game 3.5 2.5
    Fouls Per Game 2 0.8
    Yellow Cards  7  2
    Red Cards 1  0
    Passes Per Game 60.5 71.8
    Pass Percentage 76.5% 83.2%

3. Season Summaries of Étienne Capoue and Yann M'Vila

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    There's no doubt that Étienne Capoue played better than Yann M'Vila this season.

    One problem with M'Vila is he hasn't progressed a whole lot since making his debut. 

    French football aficionados were taken aback by how great he was as a rookie. Naturally, many assumed he would develop into a transcendent midfielder but he hasn't.

    Capoue plays the game in such a full-throttled manner that it's almost impossible not to notice him. This combined with M'Vila leaving people wanting more are the reasons why Capoue beat him to a spot in the Ligue 1 team of the year

    It isn't a contrarian selection because throughout the season, L'Équipe consistently gave Capoue a higher player rating than M'Vila

    When French Football Weekly asked 10 Ligue 1 experts to pick their team of the year, Capoue was selected four times whilst M'Vila was selected once. 

2. What About Francis Coquelin?

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    In case you didn't know, Francis Coquelin won back possession 51 times whilst conceding five fouls. So he won the ball 10.2 times per foul compared to Yann M'Vila's 6.6 times per foul.

    Take the stat with a grain of salt because M'Vila played 2,766 more minutes than Coquelin. The point I'm making is Coquelin isn't just a good tackler but a world-class tackler. 

    Coquelin was composed in possession as he completed 84.7 percent of his passes whilst M'Vila completed 83.2 percent of his passes. 

    Do you know who Coquelin reminds me of? M'Vila. So why does Arsenal need to buy M'Vila when they already have a clone of M'Vila? 

1. Final Comment

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    The two advantages Étienne Capoue has over Yann M'Vila are aerial prowess (he wins 75.2 percent of headers compared to M'Vila's 59.2 percent) and intimidation factor. 

    M'Vila is a clean tackler but Capoue is a hard tackler. M'Vila is a more complete defensive midfielder; however, Capoue had the better season. 

    Capoue or M'Vila? Please comment below. 

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    Statistics courtesy of