Premier League’s top creators, finishers, dribblers and more after five games

Quick Reads

Tottenham, Liverpool, Southampton and Crystal Palace players lead the way in six statistical rankings after five games of the 2017-18 Premier League season.

It is still too early into the new season to be paying much attention to the table – it will take 10 games or more before we get an idea of where each team is likely to end up come May – but on an individual basis, players are already standing out.

Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku, for example, are the Premier League’s top scorers with five goals apiece, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan leads the way in the assists charts with five. With the two Manchester clubs justifying their status as the two pre-season favourites, it is little surprise to see these names among the early stat leaders.

But what about the less obvious statistics? Five games in, we’ve looked at the players leading the way in terms of chances created, successful dribbles, shots converted, passes completed, aerials won, tackles won and recoveries made…

Most open-play chances created per 90 mins

Cesc Fabregas, Ben Davies, Kevin De Bruyne, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Christian Eriksen would all be on this list were we to include chances created from set pieces, but it’s Tottenham’s Son Heung-min that leads the way when considering only open-play chances created by players to have played for at least 180 minutes so far this season.

Clearly, the fact Son is yet to register an assist is down more to his team-mates’ profligacy than his own lack of productivity…

1. Son Heung-min – 3.1
2. David Silva – 3.1
3. Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 3
4. Mesut Ozil – 3
5. Sergio Aguero – 2.9
6. James Milner – 2.8
7. Moussa Sissoko – 2.8
8. Willian – 2.5
9. Joe Gomez – 2.5
10. Nathan Redmond – 2.4

Most successful dribbles per 90 mins

Eden Hazard, Anthony Martial, Philippe Coutinho and Renato Sanches are among the players to have impressed in this regard, but setting 180 minutes played as a minimum requirement, it’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that leads the way with 5.1 successful dribbles per 90 minutes so far.

That may change as the season goes on if he is used more in central midfield than in a wide position for Liverpool, but several other central players are among the top 10 as things stand. The name of Tiemoué Bakayoko in particular stands out and hints at a change in approach from Chelsea following the sale of the more combative midfielder Nemanja Matic to Manchester United.

1. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5.1
2. Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 4.9
3. André Carrillo – 4.4
4. Raheem Sterling – 4.2
5. Andros Townsend – 3.8
6. Tiemoué Bakayoko – 3.4
7. Paul Pogba – 3.3
8. Mousa Dembelé – 3.1
9. Marcus Rashford – 2.9
10. Aaron Ramsey – 2.9

• • • •

QUIZ: Can you name the 20 youngest goalscorers in Premier League history?

• • • •

Best pass completion

Pass completion ratios can be misleading given they cannot tell us the difficulty of each pass made. It is certainly unlikely the central defenders on this list have been attempting too many killer balls this season.

That makes Mousa Dembelé’s place at the top of this list even more impressive, given he is generally tasked with moving the ball forward from the Spurs midfield. As an out-and-out attacking midfielder, David Silva’s near-91% pass completion ratio is equally as impressive, if not even more so.

Once again, we have only considered players to have played at least 180 minutes. The amount of passes each player has made per game on average is in brackets.

1. Mousa Dembelé – 96.4% (48.8 PPG)
2. John Stones – 96.4% (61.2)
3. Phil Jones – 94% (53.6)
4. Davinson Sánchez – 91.7% (40)
5. Bruno Martins Indi – 91.6% (23.8)
6. David Silva – 90.9% (83.4)
7. Vincent Kompany – 90.8% (76.3)
8. Winston Reid – 90.1% (47.3)
9. Nacho Monreal – 90.1% (64.8)
10. Eric Dier – 90% (70.2)

Best shot conversion

As Son can attest, it doesn’t matter how good a team is at creating chances unless they have players capable of taking them. But while Harry Kane has so far scored only two goals from 32 shots, four players have converted at least 25% of their chances.

Considering only players to have attempted at least 10 shots, Liverpool’s Sadio Mané has been most clinical having scored from three of his 10 shots, while Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling have all converted an impressive amount of their chances so far.

1. Sadio Mané – 30% (3 goals from 10 shots)
2. Sergio Aguero – 29.4% (5 goals from 17 shots)
3. Gabriel Jesus – 26.7% (4 goals from 15 shots)
4. Raheem Sterling – 25% (3 goals from 12 shots)
5. Danny Welbeck – 23% (3 goals from 13 shots)
6. Romelu Lukaku – 20.1% (5 goals from 24 shots)
7. Álvaro Morata – 18.8% (3 goals from 16 shots)
8. Marcos Alonso – 18.2% (2 goals from 11 shots)
9. Roberto Firmino – 16.7% (2 goals from 12 shots)
10. Mohamed Salah – 15.8% (3 goals from 19 shots)

• • • •

QUIZ: Can you name every player to score in the Premier League this season?

• • • •

Most recoveries per 90 minutes

Equally important as creating and scoring chances is, of course, preventing the other team from making too many of their own.

The ability to win the ball back through tackles and interceptions is therefore a hugely important attribute, and it’s a newbie to the Premier League that has impressed most in this regard so far this season, with Southampton’s Mario Lemina, signed from Juventus, winning the ball back an average of 11.9 times per 90 minutes.

Most of the players on this list (minimum 180 minutes played) are unsurprisingly central midfielders, with even Kevin De Bruyne proving a useful ball-winner for Manchester City having been shifted into a deeper role by Pep Guardiola.

1. Mario Lemina – 11.9
2. Luka Milivojevic – 10.3
3. Jordan Henderson – 10.3
4. N’Golo Kante – 9.6
5. Nemanja Matic – 8.8
6. Mikel Merino – 8.7
7. Pedro Obiang – 8.6
8. Granit Xkaha – 8.4
9. Kevin De Bruyne – 8.2
10. Oriol Romeu – 8.2

Best tackle success rate

The overall number of tackles or interceptions a player makes can be telling, but tackling figures in particular tend to favour those that play for teams lower down the league that generally have more defending to do.

A far more useful statistic, therefore, is the percentage of tackles a player has won, but this list is still dominated by those that turn out for the lesser lights. De Bruyne’s appearance is eye-catching, however, while Alberto Moreno’s name may come as a surprise to some of his critics.

1. Joel Ward – 91.7%
2. Harry Arter – 90%
3. Nicolás Otamendi – 90%
4. Kevin De Bruyne – 90%
5. Christopher Schindler – 87.5%
6. Mikel Merino – 84.6%
7. Elias Kachunga – 83.3%
8. Idrissa Gueye – 82.4%
9. Alberto Moreno – 81.8%
10. Timothy Fosu-Mensah – 80%


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