The strikers grab the headlines, but coming more and more into footballing trends are the species of creative midfielders. It’s these tricky terrors that have took the Premier League by storm, and are making the English game exciting and aggressive in many ways.
Current League leaders Liverpool have had an astonishing season, and their new counter-attacking method is ripping teams apart. Even when sometimes they need to work their way through the back walls of defences, there is one skilful youngster right at the heart of it. Philippe Coutinho has caught the eye of the many a pundit this season, creating a chance every 41 minutes and conjuring up opportunities 48 times overall. In terms of creating clear cut chances for Liverpool’s SAS, Coutinho has 11 so far this season, looking to add more for the on-form pair and they head for the finish.
David Silva is still largely admired for his creative play, continuing to conquer defenders as this year’s campaign comes to a close. His minutes per chance created stat of every 24 minutes is in the top bracket, creating 73 chances overall, and being responsible for most of Manchester City’s opportunities all season. However, it would seem that most of his chance-creation has overseen his goal scoring, only managing to grab 6 goals so far this campaign. Comparing Silva’s impact to Coutinho’s, their service is competitive, with Silva being only one behind in terms of clear cut chance creation, with 10.
Player of the year contender Eden Hazard continues to impress as he is the catalyst for Chelsea’s attack this season, having an impact even more so than previous. He’s created 87 chances overall, the most by an individual player this year, beating Luis Suarez with his 75.
Hazard also pips the Uruguayan in terms of his minutes per chance created ratio, having the figure of making a chance for a fellow teammate every 31 minutes. And continuing the head to head with Liverpool’s in form talisman, Hazard falls behind slightly in terms of assists, having 7 compared to Suarez’s 11, as he leads the assists table. The Chelsea man has notched up 14 goals so far this season, and Mourinho will be hoping for a few more to keep in the title race.
Juan Mata has had a strange season for a player of his calibre, moving from one of the league favourites in Chelsea, to Manchester United who only have only pride left to fight for in the Premier League. In total, the Spaniard has created 57 chances, creating a chance every 30 minutes, keeping himself firmly in the top ten in terms of individual creativity. Impressively he’s continued to create an average of 3 chances per 90 minutes even though he’s been quiet in his time at Manchester United so far.
He’s slightly behind the others regarding clear cut chance creation, with only 7 this season, but considering being in an unfortunate position and not being picked at the start for Chelsea, the figures could have been looking much worse for him – he’s done well to sustain his reputation as a key for chance creation.
Having a look at a less analysed player this season, Christian Eriksen still has impressive figures despite Spurs stop-start campaign. He’s created 43 chances overall, with 4 assists, but falling behind the other high-fliers, with only creating 3 clear cut chances all season. Most of Eriksen’s chance creation figures have come from games at the beginning of the season, perhaps signalling why they are currently struggling to keep up their fight for Champions League.
Special mention for Mezut Ozil who impresses in the graphic above creating a chance most frequently (for players who have created more than 50 chances this season) and it’s a good indication of how well he’s done in his first season, even though the reviews haven’t been outstanding he’s gone about his business as usual!
As the Premier League draws to a close for another year, it’s clear to think that those with the most involved creative midfielders will have the stronger run to the finish. However, it’s just as important for the strikers to convert this service, as it comes to the time when every goal is crucial.