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Who is the most creative: David Silva, Juan Mata or Santi Cazorla?

Silva Mata Cazorla

The Premier League has been blessed with the arrival of a wonderfully gifted Spanish playmaker in each of the last three summers: David Silva joined Manchester City in 2011, paving the way for former Valencia team-mate Juan Mata to sign for Chelsea a year later, while Santi Cazorla had a tremendous impact in his debut campaign at the Emirates.

Mata recorded 12 assists in the Premier League last season, more than any other player in the division, but that doesn’t definitively answer the question – because Silva actually created the most chances, 104. City’s inconsistent attackers frequently spurned the delicate passes Silva slid through the opposition defence – City’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea was a good example. Silva was the game’s star performer and managed assists for Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez, but it should have been many more (screen one).

 Cazorla is a busier player, contributing to build-up play in deep midfield zones, before surging forward to make the difference on the edge of the box. That difference means his assists are more varied in nature, summed up by his performance in the 4-1 win over Wigan in Arsenal’s final home game of 2012-13 – he assisted all four goals from four completely different positions (screen two).

Mata, meanwhile, was not merely the league’s most prolific assistor – he also provided those passes at pivotal moments. In addition to a consistent league campaign, he excelled in the cup competitions. His performance in the Europa League final (screen three) was outstanding, with Chelsea’s No.10 assisting both goals in the 2-1 victory over Benfica.

Stats Zone suggests that while Mata’s key passes are frequently decisive and Cazorla’s adaptability is invaluable, Silva remains the league’s most prolific creator.

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