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Talking Tactics

Stats stars: De Bruyne the league's most creative player

Adrian Clarke 31 May 2020

Adrian Clarke assesses the impact of Man City's brilliant Belgian and other attacking midfielders lighting up the Premier League

Adrian Clarke looks at the standout individual statistics by position over the course the 2019/20 season so far.  

Attacking midfielders and wingers 

It will come as no surprise to see Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne leading the way as the Premier League's most creative player.

With 16 assists from 26 appearances, and 14 of those coming from open play, the brilliant Belgian is back to his very best this season.

Effective anywhere in the Man City midfield, De Bruyne's remarkable ability to pick out his team-mates with probing passes is a familiar sight.

Top creators in 2019/20
Key passes open play Passes into box* Big chances created
De Bruyne 72 De Bruyne 309 De Bruyne 23
Grealish 57 Maddison  252 Mahrez 14
Buendia 50 Buendia 202 McNeil 11
Mahrez 39 Fraser 202 Gross/Son 10

*Including crosses

Three of the most impressive attacking midfielders in the Premier League are English.

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has been the promoted club's standout player, with his 57 chances created being second only to De Bruyne.

James Maddison's influence has grown for Leicester City, while Dwight McNeil has given Burnley a new dimension in his first full top-flight campaign.

McNeil currently ranks third behind Man City pair De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez for big chances created.

Cutting inside on to his favoured left foot, Mahrez has been the most productive attacking midfielder or winger in front of goal.

He has the best minutes-per-goal ratio out of the players in those positions, scoring seven times at a rate of once every 198 minutes.

Best mins/goal ratio 2019/20*
Player Mins/goal Goals Player Shots on target Goals
Mahrez 197.7 7 Mount 26 6
H Wilson  206.6 7 Mahrez 23 7
Pulisic 215.2 5 De Bruyne 23 8
Alli 220.3 8 H Barnes 22 6

*Minimum three goals

Chelsea academy graduate Mason Mount is the attacking midfielder to have had the most shots on goal, netting six times from 26 efforts on target.

Much like his head coach Frank Lampard once did, the 21-year-old operates as a box-to-box player making smart, late runs into the area.

Best crossers in 2019/20
Player Succ. open-play crosses
Traore 31
McNeil 26
De Bruyne 22
Willian 15
Zaha 14

When it comes to wingers delivering whipped crosses from outside the box, Adama Traore has been the Premier League's very best.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers star has added plenty of end product to his game this season and is key to his side's attack.

Like McNeil, Traore's progress has been impressive, and you can expect to see these two at the top end of the assist charts in the near future.

Also in this series

Part 1: Stats stars: Dubravka among league's best goalkeepers
Part 2: Stats stars: Pereira edges Wan-Bissaka as top tackler
Part 3: Stats stars: Rodri and Gundogan offer central control 
Part 5: Stats stars: Why Salah offers much more than goals

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