EPL 2016/17: Dimitri Payet still one of league's best creators in spite of leaving in January
The last two Premier League seasons saw two of the best playmakers in the world vie for Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in a season. Cesc Fabregas and Mesut Ozil came very close, finishing with 18 and 19 assists respectively after both faded towards the end of the season.
But Ozil did break the record for most chances created in a season last year. If not for the profligacy in front of goal from his Arsenal teammates, who knows; Ozil may certainly have set a new record.
This season, however, Ozil’s return has been poor and his assist numbers have dropped drastically. Signed by Arsenal when he was setting record-breaking numbers in Europe on the assist front, the German midfielder even joined in the fun making memes about himself. But the 2016/17 season has seen him fall away from the rest at the top of the list.
With most of the top sides having played 27 games this season, it is Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen who leads the table having created 78 chances so far. The Danish midfielder also leads the assists charts with 10 assists – four of which have come from the boots of the league’s top goalscorer, Harry Kane.
Payet’s brilliance still shines through two months after his departure
Surprisingly, it was Dimitri Payet who led the table for weeks on end until Eriksen finally leapfrogged him into first place. The French midfielder created 74 chances in the league prior to his rather acrimonious exit from West Ham United. It also proves how important he was to Slaven Bilic’s side this season prior to the transfer saga.
The playmaker has played about 10 games fewer than most players on the list and last made a league appearance for the Hammers on 2 January before his move to Marseille that left Hammers fans (and Fantasy Premier League aficionados) fuming. He had 12 assists last season and departed with only six to his name in this campaign.
Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City is in third place having created 71 chances in the league thus far. City’s £55m signing is also a contender for finishing with the most assists by the end of the season with nine to his name at the moment.
Arsenal star man Alexis Sanchez makes an appearance and is one of two strikers to appear on the list. In spite of Mesut Ozil’s poor numbers in the assists column, he has still created a few chances of his own, albeit without the same consistency as last season. The two are separated by Everton’s young Ross Barkley.
While Paul Clement may have turned around Swansea City’s fortunes in the league, the Swans’ main man this season has to be Gylfi Sigurdsson and he is responsible for 10 assists. Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino, although not a striker per se, has created 55 chances in the league in a system where he brings other players into play.
The list is rounded off by David Silva and Eden Hazard who haven’t had great numbers to show their worth but are instrumental in their respective team’s lineup nonetheless.
|1||Christian Eriksen||Tottenham Hotspur||78||10|
|2||Dimitri Payet||West Ham||74||6|
|3||Kevin De Bruyne||Manchester City||71||9|
|7||Gylfi Sigurdsson||Swansea City||57||10|
|9||David Silva||Manchester City||55||5|