Who is the best passer in the Premier League?

Statistics have dominated the world of football for the past two decades, with the numbers game categorically narrating how players are judged.

The Premier League is home to the most talented playmakers, with goalkeepers now classed as an integral part of how teams build up play. However, with this new style of transitional football dominating the top class of English football, it will come as a surprise that some of the most well known playmakers do not even feature in the the top twenty of total passes made in the 2022/23 season.

Brighton’s Lewis Dunk takes top honours with 3,208 completed passes, with Manchester City’s Rodri just behind in second on 2,977.

But passing quality is more than about just the number of passes completed. With that in mind, here are the players we think are the best passers in the Premier League…

Martin Odegaard

The Arsenal captain was an influential figure in the Gunners side which narrowly missed out on the Premier League title last season. Registering seven assists alongside his 15 goals, the Norwegian international also completed 1,449 passes, a completion rate of 80.3 per cent. The midfielder managed 266 progressive passes last campaign, an average of 7.1 per match, with a superb passing range spanning from long to short as his close ball control allowed him to find his teammates from tight situations. A vital cog in Mikel Arteta’s side who leads from the front in every match.

Bruno Fernandes

A rather quiet campaign last season such are the standards the Portuguese international has set since arriving at Manchester United in January 2020. Eight goals and eight assists in 37 matches as Fernandes narrowly edges Odegaard for passes completed at 1,498, with a completion rate of 73.8 per cent. Progressive passes are also extremely similar to his Norwegian counterpart at 263, also an average of 7.1 per match, with the United captain’s ability from dead ball situations a valuable asset for Erik ten Hag’s men. Able to operate from deep or part of the forward line, Fernandes’ versatility justifies his selection in this list.

Kevin De Bruyne

No one can deny how special Kevin De Bruyne has been over the last eight years for Manchester City, his all-round game is something to admire, not just the quality of his playmaking. 16 assists in 28 starts for the Citizens, with that winning him top assister for the season. A mere 1,192 completed passes compared to his fellow midfielders, but with 246 of them being progressive, the Belgian has the highest average at 8.5 per match. A specialist in dead ball situations or during transition, De Bruyne’s unique ability to be comfortable passing with both feet opens up a wider range of possibilities when presenting opportunities to his teammates, leading to double figures in assists for the five of the past seven seasons.

James Maddison

It is difficult to distinguish just how good a passer Maddison really is. Despite the quality of teammate the England international had around him, the ex-Leicester man still managed an impressive ten goals and nine assists as the Foxes were relegated from the top flight. 866 passes in 28 starts is the lowest on this list, with only 151 of them progressive at 5.3 per match, but these figures can be taken with a pinch of salt due to the struggle Leicester faced on the pitch. Now with Tottenham, the 26-year-old already has two goals and two assists to his name in the league, so expect big things this campaign from the midfielder.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

The only defender in this list, Alexander-Arnold has since begun his transition into an inverted fullback, and for very good reason. Nine assists in 34 starts for Liverpool last campaign, the 24-year-old completed the most passes out of anyone on this list at 2,188 despite playing in defence. 235 progressive passes at a rate of 6.7 per match shows Alexander-Arnold’s exceptional ability to get the attack going from deep. Second in the all-time list of Premier League defenders assisters with 55, the England international’s future is firmly in midfield.

Who is the best?

All five players on this list are extremely talented individuals whose clubs would feel the pain of their absences. Each player are at differing stages in their careers and all play in a variety of positions, but Kevin De Bruyne stands out as the star passer in the Premier League. The longevity of the Belgian, as well as the match winning performances shows everyone just why he is one of the world’s best.

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