In this graphic we look at the concept I call Assist Involvements. It is a metric developed by UtdArena which collates passes that lead to a goal. In this particular regard I have included three levels to the pass:
(1) – the pass that directly leads to a goal
(2) – the pass that leads to the final pass
(3) – the pass that leads to the secondary pass
For the sake of clarify I refer to the first pass, otherwise known as an assist, as a primary pass. The second pass is known as the secondary pass whilst the third is known as the tertiary pass. Thereafter, I apply data-led analytics to ascertain which value should be attached to which pass, resulting in the primary pass being given a 70% value, the secondary pass a 20% value and the tertiary pass a 10% value. This means the player who makes a final pass towards a goal (i.e. the assist) is given more value than the player who delivers a pass to that player who gets the assist.
This metric, whilst not perfect, gives a good indication as to which players are more involved with the creating side of scoring goals as opposed to creating chances. Ultimately, a mixture of multiple metrics will highlight the best creative players in Europe – something for later on in the season.
In this particular graphic there is an obvious name at the top. Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City has started the season in imperious form and has been peremptory in his performances as of yet. This has led to Manchester City creating a multitude of chances per game with De Bruyne being the main influence behind that.
In second place is Dušan Tadić of Ajax. Ever since joining the Dutch side in 2018-19, Tadić has transformed himself into one of the best centre forwards in the world. In addition to incredible goalscoring feats he has become a creator and playmaker akin to Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema. However, due to playing in Eredivisie (the Dutch First Division) there is less media attention on the weekly performances of teams and players. Consequently, a lot of his performances have not been noticed.
Third on this list is Lorenzo Pellegrini of AS Roma. The 23-year old Italian playmaker has started the season quite well despite, again, the sample size being small. Nevertheless, he showed similar form last year and will only develop as a player. He is a player who would benefit many of the “bigger” teams in Europe and one, in my view, who would make a massive difference to Manchester United.
Remaining on that note, Jadon Sancho is fourth. It is a must to remind ourselves than Sancho is still only 19-years old. There is much yet to come from the Englishman. Nevertheless, he has ranked highly on this metric and other metrics regarding creativity for a whole season thus the sample size with him is quite large. He could potentially cost the club in excess of £100m which would break the spending record in the Premier League. However, in order to buy young players with potential to be all-time greats that is the premium one has to pay.
There are a few other notable names on the list, too, such as David Silva who remains an integral part of Manchester City’s build-up despite the fact he will be 34-years old this season and will most likely leave the club next summer.
Supposed transfer target in the summer for Manchester United, Bruno Fernandes, makes the list after his stellar beginning to the 2019-20 season. Likewise, the ever-so offensively reliable Joshua Kimmich ranks highly as he seems to do every season.