While putting the ball into the net remains the ultimate objective in any game of football, there are certain players who get more of a buzz from setting up those goals as opposed to scoring themselves. The final pass to set up a goal-scorer isn’t as easy as it may seem since the player concerned has a lot of variables to consider before executing the pass successfully in a matter of seconds. Here, we have a look at those players who made it a habit of regularly providing assists over the course of their career in the Premier League and were quickest to the 50 assists landmark.
Cesc Fabregas – 165 games
Only Ryan Giggs (162) has more assists than Cesc Fabregas’ 111 in the Premier League. The fifth-fastest to reach 50 assists in England’s top-flight, the Spanish midfielder created chances by the dozen during his spells with Arsenal and Chelsea.
The midfielder just took 165 games to register 50 assists in the Premier League after making his debut as a fresh-faced teenager for the Gunners under Arsene Wenger. His ratio of 0.32 assists per game is one of the best among the top 10 assist-kings in Premier League history.
Dennis Bergkamp – 146 games
A legend who has his own statue outside the Emirates Stadium in London, Dennis Bergkamp is considered one of the league’s all-time greats and played an influential role for Arsenal in their three Premier League triumphs.
Fondly called the 'Non-Flying Dutchman' by Arsenal supporters due to his fear of flights, Bergkamp reached the 50 assists landmark in 146 games and had more assists than anyone else in the 1998-99 season. An elegant playmaker with unparalleled vision, the Dutch legend’s ability to pick a pass and score belters is still spoken about regularly - just ask Nikos Dabizas.
Eric Cantona – 143 games
Not many players have had as much of an influence on a league as Eric Cantona did during his time in England. The legendary Frenchman arrived at Manchester United from Leeds United after winning the old first division with the Yorkshire club.
He went on to win four Premier League titles with the Reds during his stint with them after helping the club end their 26-year-wait for a league title. Apart from being a scorer of important goals, 'King Cantona' – as he was nicknamed by the Old Trafford faithful – could also conjure defence-splitting passes and took 143 games to reach 50 Premier League assists.
Mesut Ozil – 141 games
One of the most creative talents of the last decade, playmaker Mesut Ozil was a delight to watch with the ball at his feet in his prime. The German World Cup winner lit up the Premier League following his transfer to Arsenal from Real Madrid and took only 141 games to notch up 50 assists with the Gunners.
His finest season with the north London outfit as far as setting up his teammates was concerned was the 2015-16 campaign, when he provided 19 assists and fell short of another Arsenal legend Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists – the most by any player in a season.
Kevin De Bruyne – 123 games
Arguably the best midfielder in the world right now, Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne’s vision and passing range remains unmatched in the modern game. The Manchester City playmaker is undoubtedly the Premier League’s current assist king, having reached the 50 assists landmark in just 123 games.
He tied Henry’s record of 20 Premier League assists in a single campaign last season and currently has 66 assists in England’s top division. At just 29 years of age, the two-time Premier League champion has plenty of time to add to his tally and reach 100 assists in the league faster than anyone else.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Peter Powell