Marc Albrighton and Max Gradel are among only five players to have set up more than one goal from open play in the Premier League this season.
Statistics in football can be useful…but they can also be extremely misleading. There is no better example of that than the assists, which are arbitrarily awarded by the Premier League every weekend for the simplest of passes – think Jon Walters claiming one for Charlie Adam’s wonder goal at Chelsea last season.
Well, this season we’ll be keeping a ‘Real Assists League’ which will not award assists so easily and will also differentiate between open-play and set-piece assists. Furthermore, if a player beats five opponents but does not make the final pass, there’s every chance we’ll award him the ‘key role in goal’ mark, which ensures the real architect is recognised…
Crystal Palace 2 Aston Villa 1
– Jason Puncheon assisted Palace’s first with a corner headed in by Scott Dann.
– He got an official assist, but we’re instead awarding Adama Traore with a ‘key role in goal’ mark after his powerful run and intended cut-back was deflected in by Pape Souare.
– Scott Dann added to his goal with an assist for Bakary Sako after he robbed Jordan Amavi and pulled back for the Palace debutant.
Leicester 1 Tottenham 1
– Nacer Chadli set up Delle Ali’s goal with a cross to the far post, but we’re also awarding Harry Kane a ‘key role’ mark after his initial turn to set Chadli and then his jump to stop Wes Morgan from getting to the subsequent cross.
– Jamie Vardy claimed Leicester’s assist with a flick-on from which Riyad Mahrez scored.
Norwich 1 Stoke 1
– Xherdan Shaqiri claimed an assist on his debut, whipping in a free-kick for Mame Diouf to head home.
– Nathan Redmond set up Norwich’s equaliser, meanwhile, with a clever pass to set Russell Martin free.
Sunderland 1 Swansea 1
– Kyle Naughton set up Swansea’s opener with a brilliant slide-rule pass to play in Bafetimbi Gomis.
– And Jeremain Lens claimed the assist for Sunderland’s equaliser with a pass into the path of Jermain Defoe.
West Ham 3 Bournemouth 4
– Simon Francis set up Callum Wilson’s first after robbing Aaron Cresswell.
– Cresswell himself inadvertently set up Wilson’s second, but we’re sure he won’t want the assist.
– It was incorrectly awarded, according to our Ref Review panel, but Mark Noble gets the assist for winning the penalty from which he scored himself.
– Diafra Sakho got the official assist for Cheikhou Kouyate’s goal after his initial effort was saved, but we only reward players that intend to set up team-mates.
– Max Gradel does get the assist for setting up Marc Pugh’s goal for a good pass.
– Gradel claims the assist for the Cherries’ fourth too for winning the penalty from which Wilson completed his hat-trick.
– Cresswell got an assist for West Ham’s third – for a throw-in! Suffice to say, we’re taking that off him. It was a fine solo goal by Modibo Maiga.
West Brom 2 Chelsea 3
– Eden Hazard set up Chelsea’s opener with a pass to Pedro.
– Pedro himself then created the second. He may have been shooting, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he intended to cross for Diego Costa to score.
– Salomon Rondon set up West Brom’s first after brilliantly rescuing an overhit cross to pull back for James Morrison.
– Diego Costa gets an assist for holding up the ball to allow Cesar Azpilicueta to score.
– And Callum McManaman set up West Brom’s second with a fine cross for Morrison.
Everton 0 Manchester City 2
– Raheem Sterling claims his first assist of the season for the reverse pass from which Aleksandar Kolarov scored.
– Yaya Toure set up City’s second with a brilliant chipped pass for Samir Nasri.
The Real Assists League
Leicester’s Marc Albrighton still leads the way in the Real Assists League after three weeks with two open-play assists and one set-piece assist.
Bournemouth’s Max Gradel has joined Crystal Palace’s James McCarthur, Everton’s Arouna Kone and Norwich’s Wes Hoolahan also on two assists from open play, with Hazard, Pedro, Sterling, Toure and Shaqiri among those now off the mark.