Football Features

Who are the Premier League’s best attacking midfielders in 2023/24?

By James Amey

Published: 18:49, 23 February 2024

Who are the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League right now?

Mesut Özil set the bar high during his time at Arsenal, setting the records for the most chances in a single Premier League season (146) and the most chances created in a single Premier League game (12 vs. Sunderland in 2017), while Kevin De Bruyne equalled Thierry Henry’s records for the most assists in a single Premier League season (20). Both these players are just two of the many incredible attacking midfielders that have strutted their stuff in the English top flight, but who are the best attacking players in the Premier League this season?

KDB won’t be included at the moment, having spent the majority of the season injured and not meeting the threshold for minutes played, so who will take top spot in his absence?

We’ve used the Twenty3 Sport Discovery Tool to find the best players in each position. For the top five attacking midfielders, the Discovery Tool rates a player’s per 90 output for a number of key stats to produce a percentage score. We have also weighted each stat from 1-5 to highlight the most important aspects of a striker’s play style. This is the Squawka Score.

Each player’s stats are compared to the average output of attacking midfielders across the past three seasons of big-five European league football based on an automatically calculated minutes threshold. The more they rank in the 95th percentile and above for each metric, the higher the Squawka Score.

With the 2023/24 season well underway, here are the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League ranked by their Squawka Score from the campaign so far, with only players who have 1,125+ minutes under their belt considered (half the amount available).

To be clear, we are only looking at attacking midfielders in this article, you can find the best central midfielders in the Premier League right now here.

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More Premier League player rankings:

=5. Pascal Gross

  • Club: Brighton
  • Squawka Score: 65%

What a season Pascal Gross is having. The German set a new record for the most assists provided in a single Premier League campaign for Brighton in the Seagulls’ biggest ever away win in the competition against Sheffield United in his last appearance (9), with only Ollie Watkins and Kieran Trippier (both 10) providing more assists in the Premier League this season. In his performance against the Blades, he became the first player on record (from 2003-04) to create that 8+ chances, while also completing 100+ passes with an accuracy of over 90%.

=5. Bruno Fernandes

  • Club: Man Utd
  • Squawka Score: 65%

The Portuguese maestro has created the most chances in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season (72), while no player has created more big chances in the Premier League this term (12). The Manchester United man has also attempted 20 through balls, which is only better by Martin Ødegaard (25). He was the only player in Europe’s top five leagues to create 100+ chances from open play in 2023 (101), while only Mesut Özil ( 104 in 2015) has created more chances in the Premier League in a calendar year since records began in 2004/05.

Bruno Fernandes isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but in terms of a midfielder who can combine creativity, an eye for goal and deadly set-piece delivery, there are few better than him. You cannot deny how effective he is, or just how much worse Manchester United would be right now without him.

=5. Eberechi Eze

  • Club: Crystal Palace
  • Squawka Score: 65%

Crystal Palace’s form without Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise has shown just how crucial these two players are to how the Eagles play, with Michael Olise assisting Eberechi Eze seven times in the Premier League, the joint-most one Crystal Palace player has assisted a single teammate in the competition. The 25-year-old has been missing since the end of January when he scored twice against Sheffield United and new manager Oliver Glasner will be hoping to have him back sooner rather than later as they took to work their way up the Premier League table.

4. Bernardo Silva

  • Club: Man City
  • Squawka Score: 69%

Most people associate Bernardo Silva with his immense work rate and industry, but that would be doing a disservice to his brilliance as a footballer. The Portugal international has been one of Man City’s main creative sparks this season, while he’s constantly popping up in dangerous areas. Of course, you’ll still never see him turn down the opportunity to scare the living daylights out of a defender with his pressing, either.

3. Martin Ødegaard

  • Club: Arsenal
  • Squawka Score: 71%

Martin Ødegaard is living his best life at Arsenal. Given how dominant the Gunners are under Mikel Arteta, he rarely has to worry about getting stuck in defensively. He also doesn’t really have to commit to lung-busting, dazzling dribbling. That’s what Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are for. Instead, the Norwegian can just float around, threading the needle, splitting defences and making Arsenal tick. He’s really, really good at it, too. The Norwegian has created more chances from open play than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues this season, while he also tops the Premier League charts for most through balls attempted and has completed more passes into the penalty area than any other player in 2023/24.

2. Julian Alvarez

  • Club: Man City
  • Squawka Score: 73%

After a year of bedding in, Julian Alvarez is now one of the first names on Pep Guardiola’s team sheet. The Argentine had been filling Kevin De Bruyne’s shoes as the point of the midfield three and while he doesn’t quite stand up to the Belgian in terms of sheer creative brilliance, he makes up for it with his unending work rate and finishing ability. He needs just two more assists to equal the record for the most assists in a single Premier League campaign by an Argentinian.

1. James Maddison

  • Club: Tottenham
  • Squawka Score: 80%

Tottenham haven’t had a player like James Maddison since Christian Eriksen left the club for Inter back in 2019/20. The former Leicester midfielder started the season on fire and you have to wonder where Spurs would be now had James Maddison not succumbed to injury. The England international came off in that 4-1 drubbing to Chelsea, with Spurs then going on to take just a single point from their next four games. Despite missing two months, he has provided six league assists away from home, with only Mo Salah (7) providing more in Europe’s top five leagues on the road.

He was the first player to create 30 chances in the 2023/24 Premier League season and scored two goals and provided two assists in his first three away appearances for his new club and will be hoping to get back to his pre-injury form and fire Spurs into the Champions League.

Squawka Score metrics and weighting

Here are the metrics used and weighting given to each metric to come up with the overall Squawka Score:

  • 5: Goal Contribution, Open Play Expected Assists, Non-penalty Expected Goals
  • 4: Percentage of Open-play Chances Created that are Big Chances, Percentage of Sequences Featured In That End In A Shot, Percentage of Sequences Featured In That End In The Final Third, Big Chances Created, Shots On Target
  • 3: Open Play Chances Created, Touches In Opposition Box, Successful Passes Into The Box, Shot Accuracy (%), Conversion Rate (%), Number Of Sequences Ending In A Shot Featured In
  • 2: Shots,  Take-On Success (%), Take-Ons Completed, Possessions Won In Attacking Third, Through Balls Attempted
  • 1: Fouls Won, Dispossessions, Retention Rate