Maxence Caqueret 2019/20 – scout report
Having joined Olympique Lyonnais at the age of 11, Maxence Caqueret developed his football in one of the best training centres in Europe. This season, the 20-year-old midfielder played his first few minutes in Ligue 1 and demonstrated his full potential. In a very disappointing season for Lyon in Ligue 1 (7th place), Caqueret has shown great maturity and elegance in midfield. Despite playing relatively little (612 minutes in Ligue 1 and none in the UEFA Champions League), Caqueret has performed well and he can clearly claim more playing time next season. He embodies the modern midfielder, being able to bring his quality to several phases of play and in several areas of the pitch. Like Rayan Cherki, Florent Da Silva, Melvin Bard and many others, he represents the future of Olympique Lyonnais. Throughout this tactical analysis, it is important to keep in mind that this is his first season in Ligue 1. In this tactical analysis, in the form of a scout report, we’ll take a close look at Caqueret’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as his role in Rudi Garcia’s tactics.
Role and style of play
Caqueret is a very versatile midfielder and can play in a three-man midfield as well as in a double pivot. As his heatmap shows, whether he is a left or right midfielder, he is very active and is able to bring presence in half-space. He hasn’t been this season, but you can easily imagine him as a defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3 tactics, just in front of the defence. He’s a player with a great work-rate. As a result, he doesn’t hide when his team is in possession of the ball, and constantly tries to make himself available to help the build-up play. His high availability is made possible by an above-average understanding of space. Caqueret is well situated in space and quickly notices areas where he can be useful to his team.
Caqueret is not a player who is extravagant on the pitch. That doesn’t mean he is discreet or shy, quite the contrary. He seeks above all to be efficient and sharp in his actions or decisions. His only concern is to make his team and his partners shine. To achieve this, the 20-year-old is constantly proactive on the pitch. Caqueret is just as capable of participating actively in the build-up play, dictating the tempo from a low position, as he is of being a pass solution between the opposing lines. The movements and positioning of the Lyon midfielder when his team is in possession are always intelligent and useful. He is just as comfortable in a positional play, where you have to patiently pass the ball around to find spaces in the opponent’s block, as in a more direct and vertical game.
In the picture above, we will look at the positioning of Caqueret between the opposing lines. He could very well have stayed behind Nice’s second pressing line and received the ball quietly, trying to organize the offensive action. But he knows that his high position in the Nice block represents a threat to his opponents, and an opportunity to break a pressure line for his partners. His mere presence between the lines can attract pressure on him and free up space for his partners.
In the action above, we find the same idea as in the previous picture. Caqueret quickly notices the spaces where he can be dangerous and cause problems for the opponent’s defence. Bordeaux defender Pablo is attracted by Bertrand Traore’s backward movement and starts his run to follow him. The 20-year-old midfielder immediately noticed that this move created a space in the Bordeaux defender’s back and the possibility of a forward run. Caqueret did not hesitate and immediately set off on a forward run which alerted Houssem Aouar, who instantly passed the ball to him in the depth. The action was unsuccessful, but once again one notices Caqueret’s proactivity, who, when he can, tries to go beyond his function of the midfielder.
Excellent under pressure
When you see Caqueret playing, you sometimes forget how young he is. The 20-year-old Lyon midfielder displays great composure, calm and relaxation on the pitch. That makes him perform well even under pressure. He does not rush into his decisions and often makes the right choices. That’s already proof of great maturity and confidence in his qualities. His understanding of the game, the intelligence of his placements and the correct orientation of his body before the ball is received allow him to save precious time and thus to act quickly with the ball.
Coupled with his mental qualities, Caqueret has interesting physical abilities. With his small frame (174 cm and 63 kg), he is a very dynamic player, agile and has very good balance. This allows him to be lively and to change direction very quickly. The 20-year-old recently said in an interview that his favourite dribbling skill is body feint. The use he makes of his body is excellent and allows him to keep the ball well or even easily eliminate the opponent who comes to press him. Caqueret also uses his pelvis well to keep his opponent at a distance and prevent him from retrieving the ball without making a foul.
In the picture above, the Marseille player comes to press Caqueret who has his back to him. We can see from the orientation of the Lyon midfielder’s head that he is taking information about his opponent’s movement. With great agility and speed, he will make a body feint and turn around to attack a free space. We can see in the last phase of the action that the Marseille player is struggling to keep up with him and that the distance between the two players has increased. This move allows Caqueret to get out of the Marseille pressing and take advantage of the imbalance in the opponent’s block.
The above action takes place during a touch in favour of Lyon. Caqueret will once again free himself from the opposing player’s mark with a body feint and a sudden acceleration. This allows him to keep his opponent at a distance in order to receive the ball in good conditions. Then, it is the work he does with his body, and especially his pelvis, that will prevent the Bordeaux player from being able to retrieve the ball. The use of his body is a key component of the Lyon young player’s game, and one of his main assets.
Pep Guardiola once said that no one is faster than the ball. And that describes rather well the style of player that Caqueret is in possession of the ball. He prefers to advance the ball by passing rather than running. This is perhaps one of the weaknesses that the young Lyon player has shown during his first year in Ligue 1. He didn’t destabilize the opposing defences enough with forward runs. However, the young French player has very good ball control and dynamism with the ball, which is why perhaps more is expected of him in this area.
The graph above shows Caqueret’s stats in progressive passes and progressive runs per 90 minutes. We quickly notice his preference to improve the build-up by passing (8.38 progressive passes per 90) rather than by running (0.74 progressive runs per 90). As a reminder, here is the Wyscout definition for progressive runs and progressive passes :
“A continuous ball control by one player attempting to draw the team significantly closer to the opponent goal. » (progressive pass)
“A forward pass that attempts to advance a team significantly closer to the opponent’s goal. » (progressive run)
And we can see from the graph that it performs well in this area and is well above the average in terms of progressive passing per 90. Caqueret is an excellent passer, very versatile and able to perform well on all types of passes (short, mid-range or long passes). He uses his very good vision perfectly to organize the game and give his partners the opportunity to show off their skills.
The Lyon midfielder makes an average of 54.85 passes per game with an accuracy of 90.08%. Caqueret knows how to dictate the tempo, recycle the ball when necessary or break lines if an opportunity arises. And even in his passing game, the use of his body is very important. His shoulders are wide open to offer himself different passing solutions and leave few clues to the opponent. This allows Caqueret to have more varied passing angles. This makes him unpredictable, and he often makes superb laser passes that break several lines. The young midfielder has the ability to put a lot of power into his passes, which does not allow opponents to anticipate.
The graphs above show Caqueret’s willingness to play forward and move the ball towards the opponent’s goal. He makes 17.94 forward passes per game and 1.76 through passes per 90. According to Wyscout, a through pass is “a pass played into the space behind the defensive line for a teammate to contest. ” Caqueret is a kind of conductor in midfield, a creator who allows his team easy access to dangerous areas of the field for the opposing team. He’s an all-round midfielder, as he can both dictate the game from a low position on the pitch, as well as bring a high presence inside the opponent’s block.
On the action above, Caqueret will show all his vision of the game and his passing quality. Facing a very narrow block and with a high density of Bordeaux players in front of him, the 20-year-old will make a perfect laser pass to his partner in the left half-space. Five Bordeaux players are eliminated by this pass and Caqueret has created a real goal opportunity for his team. The pass is very powerful and sudden, which does not allow the Bordeaux players close to the ball to intercept.
In the picture above, Caqueret takes information on the position of the opponent’s pressure line after positioning himself low on the field to help his team in the build-up. He immediately notices the possibility of a pass between the two Bordeaux players, which could put his midfield partner in perfect conditions to move towards the opposing goal.
Excellent at one-touch pass, Caqueret will pass directly to his partner without control, which will surprise and eliminate the opponent’s pressure line. Everything is done with a lot of calm and fluidity. Note that he receives the ball with his back to the opponent’s goal on the first picture, but that he will very quickly turn his shoulders towards his partner to make the pass. This ability to quickly orient his body towards a direction allows him to be unpredictable and to succeed in this kind of very important pass.
On this above action, Caqueret brings high presence on the field, within the right half-space. He is in the middle of four opposing players but remains a very interesting support solution for Moussa Dembélé. The young midfielder will once again demonstrate his ease in small spaces to combine very well with his attacker. This combination allows to create a space for Dembélé and to disorganize the opponent’s block. Caqueret is able to perform high on the field with his technical quality and understanding of the game. He quickly understands the possibility of combining with his forward and anticipates his movement.
The most striking thing about Caqueret in the defensive phase is his work-rate. Very active without the ball, the young midfielder has quite impressive stats on that side. Thanks to the statistics collected by Statbomb, we will be able to see on the graph above, the pressures made by Caqueret on the pitch. The “pressure” stat calculates the pressure made by a player towards an opponent who possesses the ball or is about to possess it. To analyse his stats, I compared Caqueret with all the other Ligue 1 midfielders who have made at least 100 pressures this season. This gives more reliable stats per 90 minutes.
On the graph above, I compared the different players on two criteria. Their pressure per 90, which shows their efforts without the ball and their ability to harass the opponent. Then, the pressures at 3rd, which shows their ability to press high on the field and help their team in counter-pressing. We can directly notice that Caqueret is by far the one who exerts the most pressures by 90 with 37.6, and is one of the best in the pressures exerted in the final third of the pitch (7.62). But it is obvious that the context must be taken into account in this kind of analysis, and that a team that has more ball possession on average, will be able to exert less pressure. Similarly, teams that press high will be able to exert more pressure in the final third. So I also compared Caqueret with its partners, so that I could highlight its defensive contribution.
The gap between Caqueret and his team-mates in this area is quite huge. He’s an important player for his team in the way he organises well the build-up, but he’s also a key element in the pressing. The 20-year-old exerts even more pressure in the final third than Aouar and Jeff Reine-Adélaide, who are more attacking midfielders than he is. He makes 1.91 recoveries in the final third by 90 and 0.74 dangerous recoveries. These stats are once again well above average compared to the other players in Ligue 1 and show that he is not pressing for nothing and that there is a willingness to recover the ball quickly. Lyon is a team that is looking to press high on the field, and it’s very important to have a player like Caqueret to boost the pressing. The young midfielder wins 58.46% of his defensive duels and plays about 9.56 per game. As a comparison, Marco Verratti (PSG) plays 9.6 defensive duels and wins 56.89%.
The young midfielder is very promising in his defensive work and his faults should be corrected with more playing time in Ligue 1. He tends to lose focus sometimes on his defensive placement, especially when the opponent is playing positional play. The young Frenchman is much more effective in dynamic defence than in static defence. His ability to make a lot of effort to get the ball back may cause him to lose some lucidity. But as said before, this is his first year in Ligue 1 and he is discovering the high level. More playing time will allow him to better manage his efforts and optimize his choices in the defensive phase.
On the above action, the Nice midfielder in possession of the ball is under pressure from Caqueret. He has only passing solutions backwards and passes the ball to one of his defenders. Caqueret is not going to stop his pressure and continue his run towards the ball carrier. The young Lyon player makes a run to cover the Nice player in his back and prevent him from being a passing solution for the ball carrier. This high pressing will result in a recovery for Lyon after a missed pass. Caqueret certainly takes risks by pressing so high, but he makes sure not to leave any possibility of passing behind his back. His agility and acceleration also allow him to leave little space and time for reflection for the player with the ball.
The 20-year-old has already shown a lot of character and personality in his first Ligue 1 matches. He embodies the modern midfielder and has shown a lot of versatility in midfield. As we have seen in this tactical analysis in the form of a scout report, his physical, mental and technical qualities allow him to be very productive on the pitch, both in defence and attack. Caqueret is definitely a player that we will have to follow in his next years. He has everything it takes to become a key element of the Lyon midfield next year.