After 23 games in the Premier League, we can safely pick the best players who have been the best of the lot. It comes as no surprise to see Chelsea and Manchester City battling it out for the title at the moment with the league’s top scorers from both clubs – Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero.But most of their goals this season can be attributed to players positioned behind them in attack. It is the playmakers who make the ball tick and provide goal scoring chances. We take a look at the top five playmakers in the EPL this season.
#5 Stewart Downing - West Ham
When Kenny Dalglish signed Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll for Liverpool, it was because he trusted a statistician and was misguided. But the pair who now play for West Ham are making things happen for the Hammers, proving the statistician right.
Downing likes to play centrally and that’s what Sam Allardyce has been doing. He has deployed the ex-Liverpool player as a central midfielder or as a central attacking midfielder. Either way, Downing has come handy for West Ham. He has seven assists and has scored five times.
He completes 85% of the passes every game and it is quite an achievement given the fact that the Hammers tend to play off the ball. He also tries around 2.8 key passes each game. He likes to control the game from deeper positions and spread out passes to cleverly pick out his teammates. He has been more successful as a central midfielder than an attacking one, assisting 4 times from deeper positions. He also has the ability to find the forwards with long balls. He tries 3.5 long balls every game.
Crossing is one of Downing’s stand-out characteristics. It was his ability to put in accurate crosses that tempted Liverpool to make a move for him. For West Ham, he puts in 2.8 crosses every game. If it involves playing the ball off the ground, which is the suitable style for West Ham to pick out the tall strikers, then Downing is the perfect player for that.
His performances may have dipped, but his contributions in the earlier matches have put the Hammers in a very good position in the League. West Ham has a long way to go this season. And yhey will be happy to see Downing come back to his best form.