The PL’s top 10 chance creators in 2021-22: Fernandes, De Bruyne, TAA…

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Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo, Italy, November 2, 2021.

The Premier League is increasingly stacked with outstanding talent, but it should be no surprise to see the division’s top 10 creators dominated by players from Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.

But which players in particular have been the most creative in 2021-22? The top end of the list is dominated by the usual suspects, but there are a couple of surprise names from the likes of Leeds and Brighton a little lower down.

We’ve taken the data from WhoScored, using their ‘key passes’ metric – the final pass before a team-mate shoots at goal. Note: we’ve only included players that have played at least 800 minutes in the competition.

10. Phil Foden – 2.1 per 90

The Manchester City academy graduate has played across the frontline under Pep Guardiola this season and it’s been no surprise to see him create chances, given he plays for the Premier League’s most dominant team.

Foden has also five goals and three assists from 13 appearances so far this season. It’s easy to forget he’s still just 21, and scary to consider the heights he can scale.

9. Mateusz Klich – 2.2 per 90

Leeds have had their struggles this season, while some of their fans have questioned whether Poland international Klich is quite as effective as he once was.

Formerly one of Marcelo Bielsa’s go-to men, the 31-year-old has been in and out of Leeds’ starting XI this season, but he’s still tended to create openings when he does play.

8. Martin Odegaard – 2.3 per 90

Odegaard has kept Hale End star Emile Smith Rowe out of Arsenal’s starting line-up of late, but that appears to be working out just fine for Mikel Arteta.

The Norwegian playmaker, alongside fellow youngsters Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, has been integral to the Gunners’ string of good results of late. They’ll need him fit and firing if they’re to maintain their push for the top four.

7. Reece James – 2.5 per 90

Typifying how important the wingbacks are to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, James has been outstanding in 2020-21, with four goals and five assists so far – only fellow Cobham academy graduate Mason Mount has contributed more goal involvements for the Blues this season.

The 22-year-old is facing up to eight weeks out with injury, serving a major blow to Chelsea’s title prospects.

READ: Reece James’ superstrikes showed he’s Chelsea’s 21st century Warhurst

6. Pascal Gross – 2.6 per 90

Brighton are well on track for their best-ever Premier League campaign, and while they’ve had solid performers from front to back, Seagulls stalwart Gross has been particularly outstanding.

The German midfielder joined the club when they were newly promoted back in 2017 and has been an ever-present ever since. His efforts in 2021-22 are actually consistent with his efforts across the past five years. Mr Dependable.

5. Jack Grealish – 2.6 per 90

The £100million man – as we’re apparently obliged to call him – has struggled to quite live up to the price tag at City, now just another ludicrously talented player in a seemingly unstoppable superteam, rather than the totemic talisman he was at Aston Villa.

That’s been reflected in a drop in chances created; last term at Villa he averaged 3.3 key passes per 90 minutes, and that’s down to 2.6 at City. Still, it’s a rate bettered only by four players in the entire division, so he must be doing something right.

Grealish only has two goals and two assists in the Premier League this season but more are surely on their way.

4. Bruno Fernandes – 2.9 per 90

No longer United’s main man, the Portuguese playmaker hasn’t quite hit the same heights as last season and has faced some criticism amid the ongoing issues at Old Trafford this season.

We’re halfway through the 2021-22 Premier League season, but Fernandes has less than a third (five) of the 18 Premier League goals he scored last term, and only a quarter (three) of the 12 assists he registered. However, his rate of creating chances has actually gone up – in 2020-21 he averaged 2.7 key passes created per 90.

3. Riyad Mahrez – 2.9 per 90

Often going under the radar in a squad stacked with creative talent, Mahrez has quietly been one of Man City’s outstanding players this season.

The 30-year-old is on track for his best season in terms of goals and assists since Leicester’s title win, while his rate of creating chances – 2.9 key passes per 90 minutes – is higher than ever.

The Algerian’s trickery will be missed over the coming weeks as he looks to retain the Africa Cup of Nations with his national team, but City probably have the depth to cope without him.

2. Trent Alexander-Arnold – 3.1 per 90

The Liverpool right-back has played 55 passes that have led directly to a team-mate shooting at goal this season. That’s seven more than anyone else in the Liverpool squad, which his average rate at creating chances is only bettered by one player in the whole division.

Why play him in midfield when he’s already so dangerous? Redefining what it means to be a full-back.

1. Kevin De Bruyne – 3.5 per 90

It’s surely some kind of glitch in the matrix that De Bruyne only has one Premier League assist so far in 2021-22, given how frequently he continues to create shooting opportunities for his Manchester City team-mates.

The Belgian is already in the Premier League’s all-time top 10 assisters and he’ll be eyeing Ryan Giggs’ all-time record if he sees out his career at The Etihad.

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