By definition, creativity is “the use of imagination to create something”. In football this is no different. To pick a pass or to make an assist requires a certain type of mind capable of not only inventing that thought, but one that is capable of turning that thought into an action. The very best can turn that thought into something magnificent and execute it to perfection.
Strikers get all the headlines, that much is obvious in football. Very rarely do we remember a save or a last-ditch tackle by a defender. However, without a creative player, without that spark, strikers would struggle to make the headlines every weekend. We’re blessed with a wealth of creative players in the Premier League and here are this season’s most creative midfielders:
Topping the chances created column is Belgian superstar, Eden Hazard. Chelsea’s dynamic attacking midfielder created 92 chances this season with 7 of those leading to a goal. With Chelsea lacking a consistent striker all season, Hazard has been part of a terrifying threesome consisting of Oscar and Willian, who have been left to pick up the slack created by their frontmen. Pitching in with 14 goals this year, Hazard brought not only assists (7) but was the 11th top scorer of the campaign.
Joint top is Samir Nasri who created a chance every 27 minutes, only bettered by his team-mate, David Silva. Compared to last season, it’s clear the Frenchman revelled in the confidence Manuel Pellegrini has shown in him this year. While he matched his 7 assists from last year’s campaign, Nasri only managed to create 54 chances.
With City’s wealth of creative talent there’s no surprise their Spanish maestro is next on the list. David Silva continued to bring the flair and pizazz to the Premier League we’re sure to be welcomed to in this years World Cup by the current world champions. Silva managed to create 11 clear cut chances for his team-mates this season with 9 of those resulting in a goal. With Manchester City topping the goals scored chart for the league, it’s no surprise to see David Silva with the best minutes per chances created record in the league, averaging a chance created every 25 minutes.
Philippe Coutinho continues to impress at Liverpool since his move last season. With the Premier League’s best striker in front of him making his job easier, the young Brazilian showed just what he is capable of this season by creating 13 clear cut chances from 65 total chances created. 7 assists to his name this season is a disappointing return compared to last season where he had 5 assists but only played in 12 games compared to this season’s 28 games. However, the Liverpool man had alongside him the resurgent, Jordan Henderson who stole some of the Brazilians glory by having the best season of his Liverpool career, creating 62 chances and assisting 7 times.
Moussa Sissoko may be a surprise to some but the Frenchman has been a constant figure in Newcastle’s midfield this season despite the Toon’s torrid performance in the league. Called upon to pick up where Yohan Cabaye left off, Sissoko’s stats rival the likes of Mesut Özil and Steven Gerrard. Sissoko created a chance for his team-mates every 39 minutes with an overall chances created total of 77.
Despite Liverpool’s slip-up at the end of the season, Steven Gerrard led the assist leaderboards, totting up an impressive 13 for the season. Employed in a deeper role this year, Gerrard was more reserved in his final third passes, completing 461 compared to last seasons 660. In his more reserved role, Gerrard was able to influence the play from the back and spent more time in Liverpool’s defensive third than the previous season.
Mesut Özil may not have had the best of seasons by his high standards but the German ends the season with respectable numbers. 76 chances created places him above Liverpool’s, Steven Gerrard and Southampton’s, Adam Lallana. Özil’s minutes per chance created is among the very best in the league averaging a chance every 28 minutes. 4 clear cut chances created for the German is disappointing compared to his 24 last season in La Liga. While bedding in issues may be to blame for Özil’s poor Arsenal start, he still managed to show what a talent he is by creating 9 assists for the season.