Chelsea, Manchester United & Arsenal Who Has The Best Winger?

Over the past few years, the Premier League’s biggest and brightest talents have been moving to Spain to play for either Real Madrid or Barcelona. It all started when Real Madrid made Cristiano Ronaldo the most expensive transfer of all-time in the summer of 2009, only to shatter it again last season when they made a move for Gareth Bale. This summer too has seen the departure of arguably the League’s most potent attacker in Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

While some see this as a trend of what is to come, others are a lot more circumspect. After all, those three players only left the British Isles to play for arguably two of the best teams in the world right now. And given that the trio have collectively pocketed their club almost £240 million, it is fair to say that they were more than adequately repaid.

What is more curious is that while a few top players choose to move to Spain, there is still a healthy influx of world class talents from Spain. Last season marked the arrival of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid to Arsenal. This time around, two of the finest creators have made their way into the Premier League. Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal and Angel Di Maria to Manchester United for a British transfer record fee. Both players are coming on the back of phenomenal season for their respective clubs.

Although both players cost an awful lot of money for their clubs, what their arrival means is that for the first time in this decade, the Premier League will have three genuine world-class wingers (Hazard, Sanchez and Di Maria) plying their trade in England. The trio in question are strong candidates for the Player of the Year award this season and on the evidence of their potential and their performances in the past, few can bet against that happening. So let us take at the trio’s performances from last season, how they are going to fit in this time around and who among the three is likely to come out on top.

Offensive contribution of Di Maria, Sanchez and Hazard in the 2013/14 season

  Di Maria Sanchez Hazard
Games Played 34 34 35
Goals/assists 4/17 19/10 14/7
Chances created 90 47 92
Key Passes 2.15 1.09 2.43
Successful take ons (in %) 49.5 34.9 62.7
Pass accuracy 82 80 83

One look at the table above and you can certainly see why those three are likely to be the most feared wingers in the country this time around. What is evident from the table is that Arsenal have gotten themselves someone whose end product and decision making, whether it is goals or assists is second to none. Sanchez is the only one of the three to get into double digits in both goals and assists.

While the Chilean winger tops the table in goals and assists, his all-round numbers pale in comparison to the other two. Hazard, who was arguably Chelsea’s standout player last season leads the trio in terms of chances created and key passes per game. Not only is his passing numbers the best of the three, but he is also far more successful than the other two when taking on a defender and is without a doubt, the most effective dribbler amongst the three.

In Angel Di Maria, you have a player who is very clearly a creator more than a goal scorer and that is something that his numbers clearly reveal. The fact that he has as many assists as Sanchez and Hazard combined tells you all you need to know about his ability to put things on a plate for his team-mates. He also averaged more than 2 key passes per game and created 90 chances for his team-mates.

Prediction for 2014/15 season

Alexis Sanchez

The Chilean winger’s ability to create and score will be a huge boost to Arsenal particularly given the fact that Olivier Giroud will be out for the next few months. While he was considered as a luxury signing by some, his pace, versatility and undeniable ability on the ball meant that he was a no-brainer and a sure-starter this season for Arsenal. With Walcott’s constant injury problems and Wenger’s plan of converting Oxlade-Chamberlain into a midfielder, the side badly needed some pace on the wings and with Sanchez’s arrival, they have got just that. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he carries his good form from Barcelona and gets in double digits for goals and assists this time around as well.

Stats taken from squawka

Eden Hazard

One of the problems Hazard had last season was that far too often, he was given the ominous task of breaking opponents down all on his own. Now, with a squad that has only been strengthened even further expect him to get even better. The addition of Fabregas and Diego Costa will lessen the load on the Belgium who is coming on the back of a disappointing World Cup. With less pressure on him to do it all on his own, expect Hazard do even better this time around and perhaps break into double digits in both goals and assists.

Angel Di Maria

Arguably one of the most surprising transfers of the summer, the Argentine winger will give Van Gaal plenty of options and flexibility to either play three at the back or a traditional 4-3-3. With Mata likely to give way for Di Maria, the Argentine looks set to be a regular starter at a club that is in dire need of someone to create from midfield. Now with the addition of Falcao, the club have an even deadlier strike-force and one that will flourish with Di Maria providing the passes from midfield. While it might be difficult to get past 15 assists this time around, Di Maria will surely be the one orchestrating the strings and helping his side back to the top.

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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