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It’s all too often the scorers themselves who gain all the credit when a goal goes in, but they know more than anyone that their tallies would be diminished greatly without the presence of a gifted team-mate alongside them.
The English top-flight has certainly witnessed some amazing finishers since it began in 1992, but those with the ability to create goals out of nothing have been harder to come by.
Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne is doing his utmost to climb the assists leaderboard, but even he finds himself behind a number of world-class talents that have bossed the division over the years.
We take a look at the top 10 Premier League assist makers of all time, and explain how they managed to secure their spot in such a prestigious list.
1. Ryan Giggs – 162 assists
The Manchester United legend finds himself miles ahead of the rest thanks to his 632 appearances in the competition, second only to Gareth Barry’s 653. But directly creating 162 goals is certainly no mean feat, particularly in an era of outstanding talent throughout the division.
The Welsh wizard was also aided by his hugely talented team-mates and boss Sir Alex Ferguson, but his mazy runs and wicked deliveries were all his own doing. After 24 years of service in United’s first-team, a lasting legacy as the all-time Premier League assists holder is the least he deserves.
2. Cesc Fàbregas – 111 assists
A pass-master, and one that was a joy to watch during his two spells in the competition. The Spaniard firstly displayed his abilities with a ball at his feet as a youngster with Arsenal, with his performances earning him a move to the bright lights of Barcelona.
But he was soon back in London, this time at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea, where his defence-splitting passes helped produce plenty of goals in his five years at the club. The midfielder recorded 376 through balls and 1,364 accurate long passes from his 350 appearances during his time in England.
3. Wayne Rooney – 103 assists
Many Everton fans won’t forget Rooney’s brief history in blue, such was his impact at the club. But he will undoubtedly be remembered for his stunning career at Man United, where he added to his astonishing goal-scoring abilities by creating goals for those around him.
England’s all-time top goalscorer is still going strong at the age of 34, leaving his striker days behind him with a deeper role for Championship outfit Derby. Only he knows whether a return to the top-flight one day is possible, but climbing the Premier League assist leaderboard is certainly well within his capabilities should he ever come back.
4. Frank Lampard – 102 assists
The former midfielder not only sits atop Chelsea’s all-time Premier League scoring charts, but also finds himself in first place in their assists table too, reminding any Blues fans just how special a player he really was, not that they had forgotten.
He has since returned to west London to try his hand at management, but those amazing dead-ball deliveries and continuous inch-perfect through balls are certain to live long in the memory of supporters of all clubs, not just the Stamford Bridge faithful.
5. Dennis Bergkamp – 94 assists
It’s extremely rare to find a striker in a list involving the creation of goals, but former Arsenal man Bergkamp stands proudly as a deadly finisher and an even more deadly assist maker. His 94 assists somehow surpass his 87 goals for the Gunners.
The forward produced the goods for both club and country in a remarkable career, with his technique and selflessness helping the north London outfit to three Premier League titles and three FA Cups, as well as countless individual honours.
6. David Silva – 93 assists
City’s magician helped bring an abundance of silverware to Manchester during his ten years in midfield, with his 93 assists in 309 games central to the vast majority of honours that the club clinched between 2010 and 2020. His dazzling left foot will certainly be missed in England having recently joined Real Sociedad.
Whether or not the Spaniard will make a return in the near future remains to be seen, but expect him to reach a century of Premier League assists should he ever decide to bring his talents back to these shores.
7. Steven Gerrard – 92 assists
Another master of the dead ball, the midfielder will certainly go down in Anfield folklore for his ability to control, change and win games, with the ball at his feet all that was necessary for Gerrard to make his mark.
Clinical through balls and expert long-range passes were no challenge to the Liverpool legend, who combined his 92 assists with the small matter of 120 goals in his 504 appearances for the Reds.
8. James Milner – 84 assists
A Premier League veteran, and one whose commitment and dedication to a number of clubs hasn’t gone unnoticed. Leeds, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Man City and Liverpool will all testify to this model professional, whose accurate crosses and precise passing has created 84 top-flight goals so far.
The 34-year-old’s numbers have declined in recent seasons, entirely understandable given his lack of playing time under Jurgen Klopp. His versatility has also meant dropping into a full-back role on a number of occasions, but he may just creep his way above Gerrard if given the opportunity.
9. David Beckham – 80 assists
One of the finest dead-ball specialists of all-time, the young midfielder captured the hearts of Man United fans everywhere when he burst onto the scene in the late 1990s, with his iconic technique and pinpoint crosses supplying his team-mates with endless opportunities.
After over a decade in England, Beckham went on to conquer both Europe and the United States, once again captivating his audiences with expert deliveries from out wide, with his range of passing, free-kicks and corners finding the feet and heads of some of the world’s best players.
10. Teddy Sheringham – 76 assists
Sheringham’s reputation for finding the back of the net undoubtedly overshadowed his knack for creating chances, with his 146 goals leaving him 11th in the all-time Premier League standings.
Fortunately for the former Man United and Spurs man, he is one place better off in the assists leaderboard, having selflessly provided for his fellow strikers at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford among others over the years.