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Remember the 2015/16 season when Leicester shocked the world football with the Premier League championship, despite the odds of 1/5000, but that season also saw the top performance of Mesut Ozil, the most creative midfielder in the top five European leagues in this decade.
According to TruMedia’s data, Mesut Oezil created 146 chances to score in 35 Premier League matches in the 2015/16 season – 20 times more than any other player since 2010. The German midfielder carried out 19 assists – a Premier League record in this decade, as well as creating 28 clear chances (Big Chances). From September 26 to November 21, he scored assists in seven consecutive matches – an achievement that no Premier League player has ever done before and even after that. In fact, only 18 other players scored 7 assists in the whole 2015/16 season.
Despite leading the expectations score (xG) and losing expectations (xGA), Arsenal finished the season in second place, behind Leicester. If Arsenal’s results are consistent with their performances, perhaps Arsene Wenger and his coaches have won the championship and Mesut Oezil could win the ‘Best Player of the Year’ award. But even the German midfielder did not appear in the ‘Typical squad’ voted by PFA. Instead of being remembered as an achievement of top creativity, Mesut Oezil’s 2015/16 season gave another indication: Player and his position will never be important.
Mesut Oezil’s position will never be important again
Think about the best teams in the world. Not many of them are built around classic “number 10” gameplay. Man City turned both their “10s” – Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva – into traditional midfielders. Bayern Munich did the same with James Rodriguez, while their top-class footer was Joshua Kimmich, a full-back. Liverpool did so, depending on the creativity in the two wing corridors, and they won the Champions League in 2019 after selling “No. 10” Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona. The 27-year-old midfielder struggled in Spain, when Barcelona built a play around Leo Messi – the world’s top superstar. Meanwhile, in Italy, the Juventus squad doesn’t have any players scoring more than 10 assists in the last season of 2018/19.
In the season of 2018/19, we have reached the halfway point, let’s look back at the 10 best players in the top 5 European leagues so far. Top 10 according to the Whoscored scoring scale.
7. Thorgan Hazard (Borussia M. Gladbach)
Equally next to Eden Hazard, Thorgan contributed 7 goals and 4 assists for M. Vladbach after 11 games this season. Helping the Borussia-Park home team rank second only to Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
6. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
6 goals, 5 assists and 4 times to receive the title of Best Player of the match, the factor that created the most mutant on The Citizens striker. Newly approved by Etihad Stadium for an additional 3 years of contract.
5. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Despite being sidelined because of injury this season, Hazard is still the most outstanding player in the Premier League. 7 goals and 4 assists after only 8 main matches, extreme performance.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
8 goals, 5 assists and 3 times voted as the best player in the match, in which there were many times to pull Juventus back from the dead, Ronaldo proved he was worth every penny.
3. Kylian Mbappé (PSG)
11 goals and 4 assists after only 7 main matches, Mbappe’s terrible performance at the age of 19 made Europe all admire admiration.
2. Neymar (PSG)
10 goals, 5 assists and 4 times voted as the best player of the match, Neymar affirmed his leading role in PSG and continued to make Real Madrid hungry.
1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
9 goals, 5 assists and 5 times to be voted the best player in the match, not too much to say Lionel Messi is 50% of the current Barcelona power.