Maxime D’Arpino at US Orleans 2019/2020 – scout report
As we saw with the previous analysis made on Amine Bassi, Ligue 2 has talented players who are waiting for the opportunity to play at a higher level, possibly in Ligue 1. After some research and exploring on the players in Ligue 2, another name caught my attention: Maxime D’Arpino.
Maxime D’Arpino is a 24-year-old French midfielder who plays for US Orléans and a product of Lyon’s youth academy. His path through the youth teams seemed a successful one, he has caps for the U19 and U20 national teams, but after being loaned out to US Orléans in the 2017/2018 season, Lyon decided that they didn’t want to keep D’Arpino and ended up letting him leave for free to the Orleans club.
In this scout report we’ll take a look at Maxime D’Arpino’s performances for US Orléans this season, we will also compare him to other players in the same league and in superior divisions, in order to find out if the Frenchman is indeed ready to take the step up from Ligue 2.
Maxime D’Arpino is a right-footed defensive midfielder who can play as a central midfielder as well. This season he mostly played as a part of a midfield duo in a 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 formation, stepping on more advanced or deeper areas of the pitch accordingly. In some games this season US Orléans used a 4-1-4-1 formation and D’Arpino played as a single pivot right in front of the defence. Whatever the formation used D’Aripino’s role in the team was always to be “in charge” of the game, dictate his team’s tempo, and act as a main reference in the build-up process.
In the image below we can see Maxime D’Arpino’s heat map for this season, it shows the areas that he ocuppied the most and gives us a good picture of where he operates on the pitch.
Maxime D’Arpino is not a destructive defensive midfielder, although he plays is part in defending as well, he mostly acts as a deep-lying playmaker or regista. Regista in Italian means ‘director.’ It actually means the one who directs, who dictates the offensive play of the team. The Regista role is one very well known to everyone because of Andrea Pirlo’s magnificent performances in that same role for Juventus, sitting deep in his own half and dictating the tempo of the game, while also making breathtaking long passes no other player would see. It is a stretch to say that Maxime D’Arpino possesses the same level of quality as Pirlo did, but the Frenchman surely as a similar style of play.
In order to have a better profile of the abilities and style of play of Maxime D’Arpino, we took a look at the data. Calculating percentile ranks for his passing and defensive stats allowed for a comparison with midfielders and defensive midfielders from his league. Taking the comparison a step further, we also calculated his percentile ranks on the same metrics but in comparison to all midfielders in the top 5 European leagues. While this is not a completely realistic comparison, due to the difference in quality between Ligue 2 and the top 5 European leagues, it allows us to have a picture of what could potentially be D’Arpino’s ranks if he played in one of those leagues. The stats would probably be lower for him, but there is no way to know for sure, so the comparison should always be seen having that difference in mind.
An analysis of the bar charts and the stats in them only reinforces what was said earlier about Maxime D’Arpino’s role and style of play. The Frenchman scores high on most of the passing percentiles when compared to midfielders in Ligue 2, with forward, progressive, and long passes standing out the most. These stats are explained by his role as a regista; he stays deep in his own half and orchestrates the team’s attacking phase from there. Because of his deeper positions he mostly makes forward and progressive passes, and a lot of those are also long passes. When it comes to the defensive stats, his scores are also quite good, although his passing abilities are the strongest part of his game.
D’Arpino’s scores when compared with midfielders from the top 5 European leagues are also very good, of course this comparison has to be interpreted having in mind that he plays in a lower division, nevertheless, his stats indicate that a move to a higher division, possibly Serie A where the regista role is often used, could have a positive outcome if D’Arpino his able to adapt himself to the new reality well.
Below we can see a visual representation of the distribution between the type of passes made by D’Arpino. The first chart represents back passes per 90 (yellow), lateral passes per 90 (black), and forward passes per 90 (red). The second chart shows the relation between short/medium passes (yellow) and long passes per 90 (red). Both charts also have the success rate for each type of pass.
Having established Maxime D’Arpino’s profile and his role as a deep-lying playmaker/regista, we will now take a look at his actions in the various phases of the game in order to complete this scout report. A tactical analysis of his gameplay will also allow us to identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as make a better assessment in regards to him being ready or not to take the step up to the next level.
Maxime D’Arpino is usually the player that starts the build-up process for US Orléans, he drops deep next to the centre backs, and sometimes positions himself in the middle of them, to receive the ball and lead the build-up from there. This deep position allows him to have more space and time on the ball, he is also facing the whole pitch which enables him to have a clear vision of his teammates and opponents positions. Furthermore, D’Arpino’s positioning allows the other midfielder from his team to occupy more advanced areas in the pitch and be one more passing option available in between the lines.
In the image below we can see D’Arpino starting the build-up process next to the centre-backs forming a line of three, he is able to play a line-breaking pass to his teammate that is positioned in between the opposition’s midfield and defensive lines.
Maxime D’Arpino has a great passing range, in the data overview we saw how he attempts a lot of long passes (8.63 per 90) and probably because of attempting so many his success rate is not the highest at 50.27%. His passing abilities and vision are very good, because of that, whenever there isn’t a viable short passing lane or a well positioned teammate in between the lines, he has the ability to play long passes either into the feet of a player, or into space, in an attempt to get a teammate in behind the opposition’s defensive line. Long passes are not only D’Arpino’s last resource when no other option is available, the Frenchman will play this type of passes if he spots a team-mate making a good run into space, and with is good vision and technique he is able to execute fast and surprise the opposition.
In the image below we can see Maxime D’Arpino playing a long pass in behind the opposition’s defensive line after spotting the run from his teammate. The pass gets the attacker into a 1vs1 situation against the goalkeeper.
When US Orléans get to the final third Maxime D’Arpino usually stays behind the ball line to be a viable back pass option for this teammates. His positioning usually allows him to be away from the opposition’s press, this way when he receives the ball, he has more time to decide and execute. Staying behind the ball line also allows him to be the player that makes a long pass to switch the play from one side to the other, his passing abilities and range make him the perfect player to act as the attacking pivot. If D’Arpino recognises a shooting opportunity he is not afraid of taking a long shot from outside the penalty area, and although his shooting isn’t amazing, he can sometimes pose a threat to the goalkeeper.
In the image below we can see Maxime D’Arpino receiving a back pass from the attacker in the final third. His positioning allows him to be “facing the game” and recognise passing lanes or shooting opportunities.
Sometimes, when the team’s tactics have him playing as a part of a midfield duo, D’Arpino also drifts a bit wide to be that back pass option on the ball side and participate in the play. When this happens, D’Arpino is also seen playing crosses into the box or in behind the opposition’s defensive line for his teammates to attack. The team seems to be aware of D’Arpino passing capabilities and vision, whenever the frenchman has the ball in a good position, the attacker will look to make runs into space so that he can play those long balls in behind the defence.
Below is an example of D’Arpino joining the build-up in wide areas and playing a cross in begin the opposition’s defensive line for his teammate to attack.
US Orléans usually position themselves in a 4-4-2 defensive shape, within this shape, Maxime D’Arpino is tasked with covering the middle of the park and not allowing the opposition to progress from there. The Frenchman has good positioning and spatial awareness and that allows him to recognise the spaces he needs to cover well. His game reading skills are also very helpful in the defensive moment of the game, he is able to read the opposition’s passes and, because of the already mentioned good positioning, intercept them. Maxime D’Arpino averaged 8.41 possession adjusted interceptions per 90 minutes this season.
In the image below is an example of US Orléans 4-4-2 defensive shape as well as Maxime D’Arpino’s positioning. In this particular case, he is stepping out to press the opponent while also covering the passing lane to the player behind him.
Besides cutting off central passing lanes, Maxime D’Arpino also provides cover in wide areas when necessary. D’Arpino’s defensive abilities fall a little below the standard set by his passing, nevertheless, the Frenchman is a hard working player who always battles for the ball. This season he averaged 9.2 defensive duels per 90 with a 59.49% win rate. This numbers rank him in a high percentile when it comes to the amount of duels, however, his win rate is just a bit above average as we can see in the bar charts shown in the data profile. This can be explain by the fact that D’Arpino is not the strongest of players, but also because he can improve on his tackling technique, as he often is able to challenge his opponent fast enough but sometimes is unable to get the ball back.
The image below shows D’Arpino providing cover in wide areas so that US Orléans don’t get overloaded by Le Havre. In this particular case his tackle was successful, but that doesn’t always happen and there is definitely room for improvement in this chapter.
Maxime D’Arpino can be crucial for US Orléans’s counter attacking tactics. When the team recovers possession, D’Arpino looks to get on the ball if possible so that he can make use of his passing range and abilities to launch the counter-attack for his team. As soon as the Frenchman gets on the ball, teammates will make runs forward to take advantage of D’Arpino’s passes and possibly create a goalscoring opportunity. These passes can be long ones but also shorter ones if no run is immediately made by a teammate and D’Arpino is under pressure from an opponent. Ultimately D’Arpino is crucial when it comes to starting the counter-attack for his team and progressing the ball up the pitch successfully.
In the image below is an example of Maxime D’Arpino starting a counter-attack with a pass into a free teammate, the wingers recognise the opportunity and immediately get ready to start making runs forward.
When US Orléans lose the ball during an attack, Maxime D’Arpino is usually positioned behind the ball line like it was already mentioned. This positioning by the Frenchman is not only useful to the attacking moment in the ways we previously saw, but also for the defensive transition, as it allows D’Arpino to be in a good position to react and try to stop the opposition from counter-attacking. In other words, Maxime D’Arpino’s good positioning allows his team to have a good passive defensive shape and, as a consequence, a better chance when counter-pressing to stop the counter attack. D’Arpino’s game reading skills come into play again in this phase of the game, when paired with his quick reactions, they allow him to intercept forward passes by the opposition and counter-press effectively to prevent the counter-attack.
In the image below we can see Maxime D’Arpino reacting to his losing the ball and immediately counter-pressing the opponent to prevent the counter-attack. His positioning behind the ball line is crucial for him to be able to read the plays and react quickly.
This scout report presented a comprehensive analysis on the profile of Maxime D’Arpino and how his playing style resembles a regista a lot. It also allowed for a comparison between D’Arpino and other players in the same position, playing both in Ligue 2 and in the top 5 European leagues, showing that the Frenchman is indeed very good when it comes to passing abilities and also good when it comes to defending. A more in-depth tactical analysis of his gameplay enabled us to identify his strengths and weaknesses and to have more information to answer the big question around Maxime D’Arpino: Is he ready to take the step up from Ligue 2 ?
The answer has to be yes, the Frenchman displays a lot of good qualities especially in the passing department, he also has great vision and game reading skills which are essential attributes to play in any of the top 5 European leagues. He certainly has to improve when it comes to his tackling and defensive duels but, in fairness to him, playing as a regista his responsibilities are a lot more in the playmaking side than in the defensive one.
All in all, Maxime D’Arpino is another talent in Ligue 2 waiting for the opportunity to take the step up, and he very much deserves it. If he is not there already, you should definitely add him to your ones to watch list.