The Premier League is the richest and arguably the most competitive football league in the world. The lure of the English top-flight is such that some of the finest players in the game ply their trade for various clubs in the competition.
It is perhaps a cliché to say that goals win matches and championships like the Premier League. While strikers understandably hog most of the limelight as they tend to score more goals than any other player, the one who creates goal-scoring opportunities - the playmaker - is perhaps the most important cog in a team's wheel.
A playmaker dons a bevy of positions in the attacking and middle third like second striker, false nine, winger, and central midfielder, to name a few.
Regardless of where they may play on the field, their vision, passing range and technical abilities make a playmaker the heartbeat of a team. They are the ones responsible for dictating their team's rhythm of play, and creating the bulk of scoring opportunities for forward colleagues while netting the odd goal themselves.
Top 5 active playmakers in the Premier League
Playmakers are almost indispensable to any team. This is more so in the Premier League, where the competition is such that any side on any given day can beat the opposition.
Thankfully, there are quite a few skilful playmakers in the Premier League who are worth their weight in gold. On that note, let us have a look at the five finest active playmakers in the Premier League.
#5 Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne has blossomed into a world-class playmaker under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. The Belgian international, who arrived at City a year before Guardiola did, saw his stock spectacularly rise during his stint with the Spanish tactician.
After conjuring just 16 goal contributions (seven goals and nine assists) in his first Premier League season with City, De Bruyne would produce at least 24 goal contributions in three of the next four seasons as Guardiola's men became the team to beat in the competition.
Last season, De Bruyne had his best Premier League season, scoring 13 goals and assisting 20 others, but City were denied a three-peat by a rampaging Liverpool. Nevertheless, he became the first player to provide at least 15 assists in three (consecutive) Premier League seasons.
The Belgian international is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world for his versatility, technical ability, crossing prowess, tactical intelligence, set-piece prowess and ability to run at defences.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola recently lavished high praise on Kevin De Bruyne, calling him one of the best players he has ever managed.
"He is a masterclass player, one of the best players I have ever trained in my life. Right now, he is the best. Right now, in the midfield position, he is the best."
De Bruyne has had a lukewarm start to the 2020-21 Premier League campaign. Unsuprisingly, that has played a part in Manchester City finding themselves languishing in unfamiliar territory - the bottom half of the Premier League table.
#4 James Rodriguez (Everton)
The Golden Boot winner at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has hit the ground running in the Premier League, conjuring six goal contributions in eight games (three goals and as many assists), after being deemed surplus to requirements at the Spanish giants.
Still only 29, Rodriguez is relishing the prospect of being able to play regular first-team football again.
Once regarded as one of the best young players on the planet, the Colombian international can operate in a number of positions in the attacking and middle third of the pitch. Rodriguez is particularly renowned for his pace, dribbling skills and set-piece prowess.
Ancelotti hailed Rodriguez after the player scored his first goal for Everton, saying:
“I’m really pleased for James Rodriguez. A new country, a new league – it was not so easy. But he made it easy because he has a lot of quality. A fantastic player.”