Europe’s top 10 chance creators in 2021-22: TAA, Hazard, Payet & more
The 2021-22 season is well underway and we’re getting to the stage where some of Europe’s best players are starting to stand out in terms of the underlying statistics.
We’ve already taken a look at the players that stand out in terms of goals and assists this season, but what about the most creative players? Here are the top 10 players across Europe’s five major leagues – the Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, La Liga and Serie A – in terms of chances created.
Here are the top 10 players in Europe this season in terms for key passes – the final pass before a team-mate takes a shot at goal. We’ve ordered them in terms of their frequency per 90 minutes, and we’ve only included players that have played at least 200 league minutes.
10. Jonas Hofmann – 3.4 per 90
Borussia Monchengladbach stalwart Hofmann has been a major part of the club punching above their weight in recent seasons, and that continues to be the case in 2021-22.
The Germany international has even deputised at right-back at times for Gladbach this season but no matter where he plays he’s consistently dangerous.
9= Riyad Mahrez – 3.5 per 90
The only 2021 Ballon d’Or nominee on this list, Mahrez doesn’t always get into Pep Guardiola’s first XI at Manchester City, but when he does he tends to be dangerous for one of the most consistently dominant and dangerous sides in Europe.
In spite of playing six key passes in the Premier League, only one of those has ended up with a goal – and an assist for the Algerian.
9= Jason Berthomier – 3.5 per 90
The 31-year-old midfielder has been playing in the second tier of France for since 2010, and the 31-year-old has made a sensational start to the 2021-22 season with newly-promoted Clermont Foot after a key role in them going up last year.
Jason Berthomier 🇨🇵
Clermont Foot 63 ❤️💙
2020/2021 | Highlights pic.twitter.com/cBGek4LLWy
— ClermontComps (@ClermontComps) June 4, 2021
9= Nabil Fekir – 3.5 per 90
There was a sensation of failed potential with Fekir, who many expected to move to an elite-level club while he was shining for Lyon. So it came as something of a surprise when he joined Real Betis in 2019 after a move to Liverpool the previous summer broke down.
The winger would occasionally burn brightly during his first couple of seasons in Seville, especially turning up for the big games, but this season under Manuel Pellegrini he’s starting to produce the goods more consistently – as this output attests.
6. Florian Wirtz – 3.7 per 90
The 18-year-old Bayer Leverkusen academy graduate has been dubbed the new Kai Havertz, and it’s not difficult to see why. He’s followed in the footsteps of Chelsea’s Champions League match-winner after a breakthrough 2020-21 campaign and everything he seems to touch is turning to gold.
Wirtz has scored or assisted in every one of his appearances for Leverkusen this season – that’s six goals and five assists in just eight games in all competitions.
5. Dimitri Payet – 3.8 per 90
There were a couple of glorious years where Premier League audiences were treated to the majesty of Payet, and anyone that watched him during that period at West Ham won’t be surprised to see that he’s still among the most creative players in Europe at the age of 34.
The Hammers cult hero loves playing in Marseille and is thriving under Jorge Sampaoli.
4. Iker Muniain – 3.9 per 90
It’s crazy to think that former Marcelo Bielsa favourite Munian is only 28, given he started breaking through at Athletic Bilbao back in 2009-10.
The midfielder has only ever received two caps – back in 2012 and 2019 – for Spain, but Luis Enrique may consider giving him a recall if he continues playing like this. Marcelino’s getting the best out of him at San Mames. Only Fekir (27) has created more chances in total than Muniain (26) so far this season.
3. Eden Hazard – 4.0 per 90
A return of just five goals and eight assists across Hazard’s first two seasons at Real Madrid illustrates how dramatically he’s lost form since leaving Chelsea, when before he was arguably the Premier League’s best player.
But there’s just a sense that he’s starting to get back to his old levels under Carlo Ancelotti. The Belgian only has one La Liga assist in 2021-22 but he’s been among Los Blancos’ most dangerous players in the final third.
2. Ruslan Malinovskyi – 4.1 per 90
Malinovskyi looks a perfect fit for the front-foot, all-out-attack style implemented by Gian Piero Gasperini at Atalanta. He was controversially left out of Andriy Shevchenko’s starting XI on more than one occasion as Ukraine made it to the quarter-finals at Euro 2020, but he’s shown what a creative dynamo he can be in the right set-up.
He rarely, if ever, plays 90 minutes for Atalanta but he’s a real asset when used sparingly.
1. Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4.2 per 90
With their injury crisis alleviated, it looks as though Liverpool might just be back at their title-challenging best under Jurgen Klopp once again. Nothing illustrates that better than Alexander-Arnold, already one of the top-assisting defenders in Premier League history at the age of 23, producing the goods once again.
During the Reds’ struggles last term, he averaged 2.3 chances created per 90 minutes in the Premier League. So far in 2021-22, that’s nearly doubled up to 4.2 per 90. Arguably the best playmaker in Europe and he plays at right-back.