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Ranking the top 5 playmakers in the Premier League this season

A qualitative analysis of the top five playmakers currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

Top 5 / Top 10 03 Oct 2017, 20:12 IST

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

The playmaker; the man who makes things happen, the incisive passer, the genius usually wearing the No. 10 jersey.

The playmaker occupies one of the most important roles in a football team and very few nations/clubs have achieved greatness without a creative influence in midfield.

A list of the greatest geniuses in this role reads like a who-is-who of world football; Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Enzo Francescoli, Gianni Riveria, Zinedine Zidane, Michael Laudrup, Alfredo Di Stefano, Ronaldinho et al.

In the modern era, the role of the playmaker has shifted. They now contribute more than just assists and a few goals, the best example being Lionel Messi who scores more than 98% of strikers worldwide.

The English Premier League has also seen the evolution reach its shores. Gone are the days of the lazy genius who drifts through games doing whatever he wants (except for Mesut Özil of course). Now playmakers in England have to possess a mix of skills; passing, crossing, defensive nous, speed, precision, set-piece taking and scoring goals.

Here, were take a look at the top 5 Premier League playmakers.

#5 Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United)

A lot was expected from Henrikh when he made the £27m move from Borussia Dortmund to Old Trafford following Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United.

His first season delivered few highlights as injuries, a struggle to adapt to the different demands of the English game and the lack of quality generally in the United team affected the brilliant Armenian’s game.

This contrasted sharply with his form in the Europa League where he was unplayable as his 6 goals helped propel the Red Devils to the title and he was named the second-Best Player in the competition behind United teammate Paul Pogba. Mkhitaryan, who made a league-high 15 assists in his final season in the Bundesliga, has started this season like a house on fire making 5 assists in the 7 games he has played so far in the Premier League.

He currently has the 3rd highest number of through passes (6) in the league and has in his Premier League career average 35.10% pass accuracy per match.

His deceptive pace over short distances, ability to pick out an eye-of-the-needle pass to open up defences, ability to take on and beat defenders as well as excellent positioning have been one of the factors responsible for Manchester United’s superb start to the season.

With Romelu Lukaku up front and speedsters Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial on the flanks, expect Mkhitaryan to get even better and show just what he is capable of.

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