The top chance creator in each of Europe’s top five leagues in 2020-21
We now know who has made it through to the last 16 of the Champions League and which of Europe’s best, brightest and most creative players will be facing off in the knockouts.
But plenty of the players that stand out in terms of creative metrics won’t be there, with some names going under the radar a little, alongside some of the usual suspects you’d expect to see.
Here’s who tops the list for key passes (the final pass before a team-mate shoots at goal) in each of Europe’s five big leagues.
Premier League – Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd)
The Portuguese playmaker made an instant impact on his arrival back in January to help steer United to a top-four finish last season.
This season he’s proving it was no flash in the pan. This season he’s played 35 key passes, nine more than anyone else, with Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne second on 26.
Fernandes has played 4.0 key passes per 90 minutes, which is the highest average of any player in Europe’s top five leagues in 2020-21 so far (that have played over 300 minutes).
He’s also registered 3.9xA (expected assists), putting him just behind Tottenham’s Harry Kane at the top of the Premier League charts on 4.0xA (via FBref). But he’s registered just four actual assists compared to 10 from Kane – which shows you just how well Son Heung-Min in particular has done with the chances created by the England captain.
La Liga – Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo)
Premier League viewers only remember Iago Aspas for the disastrous corner he took for Liverpool in their infamous 2-0 defeat to Chelsea back in 2014. Better known as the Steven Gerrard slip game.
But those who watch La Liga regularly will be well aware of his considerable talents, and Celta Vigo’s all-round talisman. Not only does he score a lot – he was the league’s top-scoring Spaniard in 2019 – but he’s incredibly creative too.
He’s registered 29 key passes so far this season.
Serie A – Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan)
A 39-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic topping the Serie A goalscoring charts this season deservedly gets all the attention for AC Milan’s unlikely title charge, but there’s plenty of quality elsewhere in the side.
Turkish international Hakan Calhanoglu has registered 36 key passes, seven more than anyone else in the Italian top-flight. Interestingly, just one of those has ended up as an assist, though.
Bundesliga – Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
It should be no surprise that the man who registered the most assists in Europe last season (21) is at it again this year, having registered six goals and a further six assists from his first 10 Bundesliga appearances of the 2020-21 season.
He’s played 31 passes that have led to shots so far this season.
Another Thomas Muller assist.
Another Robert Lewandowski goal.
3-0 up before half-time.
Bayern are a winning machine 🔴 pic.twitter.com/4r5YVtK8yZ
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 30, 2020
Ligue 1 – Memphis Depay (Lyon)
Having worked with him in the Netherlands set-up, Ronald Koeman was reportedly keen to bring the former Manchester United forward to Barcelona in the summer.
He didn’t get his wish, but he might look wistfully in the direction of Lyon, given Depay has registered 35 key passes in the Ligue 1 season so far. Then again, it’s difficult imagining him fitting in alongside Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele. They’re already lopsided as it is.