Attacking midfielders in wide positions who have great pace and/or dribbling ability are known as wingers, and are usually the ones that create goals for any team. Here are the top 10 wingers in the Premier League so far, this season.
10. Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
With Nani’s future uncertain and a worrying drop in Ashley Young’s form, Manchester United are heavily dependent on Valencia to create goals. The winger has a good partnership with Rafael down the wing, with the two combining at almost every opportunity. He also combines well with Rooney, Robin van Persie and Paul Scholes. The Ecuadorian has three assists and an impressive pass completion rate of 86.8% in 10 appearances in the league.
9. Steven Pienaar (Everton)
The South African first joined Everton in 2007 and has since become a vital member of the team. After a rather disappointing spell at Tottenham during the 2010-2011 season, his decision to move back to Everton seems to be reaping benefits. He’s had an impressive start to the season, scoring one goal and providing three assists in 11 appearances for Everton and has a commendable pass completion rate of 82.3%.
8.Shaun Maloney (Wigan Athletic)
Maloney was signed by Wigan for a mere 850,000 pounds in 2011 from Celtic. It’s astounding that he’s worth such a small amount considering the talent he has. He’s well known for scoring the winners against Liverpool and Manchester United in the latter stages of the 2011-12 season, that lifted Wigan out of the relegation zone and eventually led to United losing the title. This season, Maloney has scored 1 goal and has 3 assists but what’s most impressive about him is that he has a pass completion rate of over 90%.
7.Adam Lallana (Southampton)
Lallana was nominated for Championship Player of the Year and was also named in the Championship Team Of The Year last season. He has a good partnership with striker Rickie Lambert, who won Championship Player Of The Year last season. Their partnership is extremely important to the Saints’ survival in the league this season as they are currently languishing at 19th in the table. Lallana has scored 1 goal and provided 4 assists so far this season. His good work was rewarded as he got his first senior England call up in September.
6. Wayne Routledge (Swansea City)
Wayne Routledge scored 1 goal and provided 7 assists in his debut season at Swansea last year. This season, he’s well on his way to improving his tally with 2 goals and 3 assists in just 10 starts for Swansea.
5. Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
Since joining Tottenham in 2007, Gareth Bale has become one of the most highly rated wingers in the world. Placed in the UEFA Team of the Year last season, Bale has earned high praise from managers, players and pundits alike. This season, Bale continues to impress, with 4 goals for Spurs in 12 matches and is Tottenham’s second highest scorer so far.
4. Nathan Dyer (Swansea City)
Dyer came into the spotlight after impressive performances for Swansea last season, which was his debut season in the Premier League. He’s well known for his dribbling ability, short passes and also for providing good support in defence. He’s scored 3 goals and provided 2 assists in only 7 starts for his club. He has an impressive pass completion rate of 85.9%.
3. Damien Duff (Fulham)
At 33 years old, Damien Duff is one of the oldest players in the league. He is a left-footed player with plenty of skill on the ball, capable of dribbling down the flank and delivering teasing crosses into the danger zone. Damien has been a key figure for Fulham since his arrival at Craven Cottage in 2009. This season, the winger has been outstanding, scoring 3 goals and setting up 3 assists for his team-mates in 10 starts, averaging 1.7 key passes per match.
2. Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Theo Walcott is one of the fastest footballers in the world. Although his preferred position is as a central striker, both Arsene Wenger and England manager, Roy Hodgson deploy him on the right wing to make full use of his pace. Walcott has scored an impressive 4 goals and has made 3 assists even though he has started only 3 games so far this season, mainly coming on as a substitute. Arsenal better hope he doesn’t leave any time soon.
1. Juan Mata (Chelsea)
The fiery Spaniard is amazing to watch. Technically superb, his close control and vision are excellent and he has the ability to beat his man and set up chances. This season, Mata has won the Player of The Month award for October and also a well deserved Barclays Premier League Man Of The Match award for his performance against Tottenham. The Spaniard has scored 4 goals and created an awe-inspiring 6 assists in just 10 starts for Chelsea providing an average of 2.6 key passes per game.
Dislcaimer - The list is based on statistics for the first 12 matches in the Premier League this season.Published 23 Nov 2012, 23:55 IST