In a game where goals mean everything, it is so often the goalscorers who get all the adulation in football. But the fine margins associated with the sport mean that those who can provide the killer pass or skilful flick to set up a goal are just as valuable. With the Premier League season just over two thirds of the way through, it seems like a good time to take stock of the division’s top goal providers. Here, we run through the top five so far.
Kevin De Bruyne – 16
Manchester City’s Belgian maestro is blessed with a wand of a right foot, and a wand of a left to boot. There is something about the way De Bruyne stomps around the pitch with his lengthy stride, and strikes the ball with such blistering power that is mind-boggling. He has the ability to pick passes that no-one else can see, and that is why he leads the assist charts with 16 – a remarkable figure. City’s league campaign may be one to forget, but De Bruyne has been his usual brilliant best.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 10
Liverpool’s young right-back seems to grow in stature with every passing match, and his influence in Jürgen Klopp’s winning machine has never been greater. Alexander-Arnold has provided 10 assists this season, a mixture of killer dead-ball deliveries and whipped crosses from the right to help Liverpool become runaway favourites in betting on Premier League title winners. He has fully established himself as one of the best full-backs in the world, and alongside Andy Robertson is a driving force in this superb Liverpool team.
Riyad Mahrez – 8
Algerian Riyad Mahrez may not necessarily be the first name on Manchester City’s teamsheet each week, but the former Leicester City man is still one of the Premier League’s finest wingers, possessing searing pace and dazzling trickery in abundance. There are few players in the division as talented at beating defenders in one-on-one situations, and this has helped Mahrez notch eight assists in the league so far. The title is undoubtedly beyond City now, but Mahrez will be keen to show manager Pep Guardiola he should be a regular starter between now and the end of the season.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Roberto Firmino is a forward like no other. Possessing an overflowing bag of tricks, the Liverpool number nine is capable of producing moments of magic in and around the penalty area. His penchant for assists was manifest in the 4-0 win over Southampton at the beginning of February, as he turned provider for three of the Reds’ four goals. Firmino must be a dream for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané to play with, the quick-footed genius complementing the extreme pace of his attacking partners.
Emiliano Buendía – 7
While Norwich City have been floundering somewhat at the foot of the Premier League table, Emiliano Buendía has quietly gone about his business in the middle of the park, setting up seven goals so far. The Argentine is a silky smooth midfielder, with a fine range of passing and the ability to unlock defences. The likes of Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell have benefitted from his metronomic presence in midfield, and Norwich will need him in top assisting form if they’re to escape the clutches of relegation.
The likes of David Silva, Son Heung-Min and Adama Traoré have also bagged seven assists this campaign, but it looks like no-one will be able to catch De Bruyne at the top of the list.