Football Features

Premier League playmakers showing they can do it all this season so far

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 12:21, 19 October 2019

It’s well-documented the perfect footballer does not exist despite Lionel Messi’s best efforts to prove that reality wrong.

However, that said, the beautiful game is laced with specialists those players who excel in one particular area. But among them are the all-rounders. These particular class of footballers are what you’d describe as a manager’s dream; they are equally creative and destructive.

With the Premier League eight games old we’ve seen a select group of seven group emerge. Each of the individuals in question have amassed double figures when it comes to shots on goals, dribbles completed, tackles and chances created.

Within the septet are some unfamiliar names, or those you wouldn’t have thought of, as well as an early candidate for player of the season.

1. Sadio Mané (Liverpool)

Minutes played: 609

Total shots: 19

Completed dribbles: 10

Tackles: 14

Chances created: 13

You can make the case that Sadio Mane is currently Liverpool’s most important attacking player. He’s their leading scorer on five goals despite playing 100 minutes fewer than Mohamed Salah, who has managed one more. All of this aside, it’s his off the ball work that has greatly impressed; Mane’s insatiable pressing and ball-carrying is the fulcrum behind Jurgen Klopp’s side counter-attacking game and he’s not one to shy from a challenge.

2. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

Minutes played: 720

Total shots: 15

Completed dribbles: 13

Tackles: 14

Chances created: 19

It comes as no surprise Aston Villa’s ‘golden boy’ (albeit one who turned 24 last month), Jack Grealish, has been ever present in their Premier League return.

So far, he’s got one goal and two assists to show for it, but there’s no question of his importance. Playing in a role that allows him to cover plenty of ground, the yet-to-be-capped England international has been central to everything positive Villa have done.

3. Mason Mount (Chelsea)

Minutes played: 710

Total shots: 20

Completed dribbles: 12

Tackles: 14

Chances created: 17

The appointment of Frank Lampard, and a transfer ban, has seen Chelsea transform into one of the more youthful Premier League teams. At the heartbeat of their rejuvenation is Mason Mount, who is cut from the same cloth as his manager. Mount is finishing chances as well as creating them, but its his dynamism that led to Gareth Southgate making him an England international.

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4. Felipe Anderson (West Ham)

Minutes played: 551

Total shots: 14

Completed dribbles: 16

Tackles: 22

Chances created: 12

Before the arrival of French marksman Sébastien Haller in the summer, Felipe Anderson was West Ham’s most expensive acquisition. But it’s fair to say opinion of the Brazilian midfielder is split. He’s so far managed nine goals and seven assists in 43 league outings, but there’s more to the end result. Anderson, if anything, is not getting the credit for the work he does when not in possession.

5. James Maddison (Leicester City)

Minutes played: 622

Total shots: 21

Completed dribbles: 23

Tackles: 12

Chances created: 11

Unfortunate circumstances have denied James Maddison a well-deserved England debut. The very talented Leicester City playmaker is being earmarked for big things, with Joe Cole favourably comparing him to Cesc Fabregas. And like the former Arsenal captain, Maddison does things well at both ends of the field. He’s the Foxes’ most creative player as well as one of their more dogged.

6. Emiliano Buendía (Norwich City)

Minutes played: 713

Total shots: 11

Completed dribbles: 22

Tackles: 16

Chances created: 20

Not much was expected of Norwich City after securing their Premier League return last season and starting in the bottom two ahead of matchday nine brings home that belief. However, that does not tell the whole story, Daniel Farke’s men have been a breath of fresh air and through Argentine attacking midfielder Emiliano Buendía they’ve got a star in the making.

7. John McGinn (Aston Villa)

Minutes played: 720

Total shots: 24

Completed dribbles: 18

Tackles: 26

Chances created: 11

It remains to be seen if John McGinn ends the season with Aston Villa after catching the eye in the early months. The former St. Mirren and Hibernian midfielder has found the net in two of Villa’s last three Premier League outings before the recent international break though more importantly he’s winning possession back and setting up his teammates. They’ll no doubt stand a better chance of maintaining their top-flight status with him around.