Who De Bruyne usurped to reach 50 Premier League assists in record time
Kevin De Bruyne claimed his 50th Premier League assist in Manchester City's trip to Bournemouth on Sunday, reaching that mark in record time.
When City's Belgian talisman is in full swing, there is little question he is heading in the direction of being regarded a Premier League great.
The statistic behind his assist for Sergio Aguero's opener at the Vitality Stadium is the case in point, as he set a new record for the fewest matches needed to create 50 goals.
Ironically, he surely cannot claim to have meant this one as his scuffed shot fell to Aguero who swept home, but it has seen De Bruyne reach the 50 mark in just 123 games, nudging to the top of a list of illustrious modern-day players.
50 - Kevin De Bruyne has now made 50 assists in the Premier League, achieving this milestone in the fewest appearances of any player in the competition's history (123). Exquisite. pic.twitter.com/HMM5p2Q251— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 25, 2019
While the German playmaker polarises opinion, few would doubt his quality at unlocking defences, particularly under Arsene Wenger. Ozil held the record before De Bruyne, recording 50 assists after 141 matches for Arsenal. The 2015-16 campaign brought his biggest contribution, setting up 19 goals.
A Premier League all-time superstar almost as much for his outlandish personality, notoriety and bizarre quotes as his ability on the pitch. The French attacker was arguably the first real Manchester United idol of the Premier League era, scoring spectacular goals aplenty and crafting them too, hitting the 50 assists mark in his 143rd match.
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." Perhaps the famous quote was in reference to team-mates expecting him to provide assists? Probably not.
The legacy of Dutch great Bergkamp is his penchant for the unexpected. Few players to have graced the Premier League had such a spellbinding impact on the ball, his legendary goal against Newcastle United when he turned Nikos Dabizas inside out – you can decide whether it was deliberate or not – a classic of the genre. He supplied 50 goals to team-mates in 146 matches, a slightly less impressive record than Ozil, though it's unlikely the German will be remembered as fondly by fans as Bergkamp.
The third former Arsenal player on the list – the Gunners have certainly been blessed with some clever, creative talents in the Premier League era. After breaking into the team as a teenager under Wenger, Fabregas went on to become a real midfield force and, arguably, the best in the league for a time. His first 50 assists took 165 matches to reach, though he occupied a significantly deeper role than Ozil, Cantona and Bergkamp.
100 - Premier League appearances to 100 assists:— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2016
Fabregas - 293 apps
Giggs - 367 apps
Rooney 445 apps
Lampard - 559 apps
Pep Guardiola admitted on Friday he had doubts about Silva's suitability to Premier League football when he made the move from LaLiga in 2010. Guardiola was one of many, but the playmaker has emphatically proven himself. Across almost a decade, Silva has gone on to be regarded as one of the Premier League's greatest imports, making his 400th appearance for City on Sunday. He took one match more than Fabregas to hit 50 assists, but his consistency and influence on one of the division's greatest dynasties highlight his overall greater impact.