Football News

Lampard’s point proved again? Ex-Chelsea prospect Boga tops Messi’s 2019 dribble stat

By J Smith

Published: 14:36, 24 December 2019

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Sassuolo’s Jeremie Boga are the only two players in Europe’s top five leagues to complete more dribbles than Lionel Messi in 2019. 

The Ivory Coast winger is reportedly one of Chelsea’s top targets for the upcoming January transfer window after the Blues’ transfer ban was lifted and this season alone, he’s completed a Premier League-high 83 dribbles.

Europe’s top dribblers in 2019…

  1. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace): 146
  2. Jeremie Boga (Sassuolo): 142
  3. Lionel Messi (Barcelona): 140
  4. Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle and Nice): 130
  5. Sofiane Boufal (Celta and Southampton): 127

Extend that record for the 2019 calendar year and Zaha sits on a remarkable 146 completed dribbles, with two games still remaining.

That puts him four ahead of Sassuolo star Jeremie Boga (142) – a former Chelsea youngster himself who struggled for first-team opportunities during his time at Stamford Bridge, including under Jose Mourinho – and six in front of Barcelona icon and current Ballon d‘Or holder Lionel Messi, who has managed 140 completed dribbles.

Current boss Frank Lampard took what has been perceived swipe at Mourinho’s handling of young players when asked what Zaha’s potential arrival could mean for the likes of Mason Mount, insisting he will be standing by his talented prospects.

“If we are not patient and [don’t] stick with the players we might be in a situation [like] before, where absolutely top world-class players at this minute have been at Chelsea when they were 20 or 21 and managers maybe did not stick with them so much then,” Lampard said. “I am in a position where I will stick with them.”

Boga’s form this season – on top of the brilliant careers forged by the likes of Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne – only serve to add fuel to Lampard’s fire in this case. Perhaps if he had been given more time Boga could have proven himself to be a worthy addition to the squad at Stamford Bridge?