Premier League fans are always eager to see their side implement a brand of attractive passing football, a possession-based style the go to for many a top-flight manager.
In order to implement said chosen style, however, you need a squad of players capable of handling those demands, moving the ball quickly and recycling and retaining possession – the quintessential pass masters.
As all good football fanatics do, we like to delve into the stats, figures and finer details of Premier League contests, with this feature profiling the most prolific passers in English football’s top division.
Here are the five Premier League players with the most passes so far this season…
Caglar Soyuncu – Leicester (1637 passes)
Leicester have been one of the surprise packages of the season so far, Brendan Rodgers’ exciting side putting together an excellent run of form to put themselves firmly in contention for a top four finish and Champions League qualification.
Foxes’ fans may have been fearful following Harry Maguire’s world-record move to Manchester United last summer, particularly given their failure to sign a replacement, though the club’s fans have found a new cult hero in the form of Turkish international Caglar Soyuncu.
The 23-year-old has stepped into Maguire’s position admirably to form a solid partnership with Jonny Evans at the back, proving a formidable opponent for Premier League attackers and cementing first-choice status at the King Power Stadium.
Whilst Soyuncu’s defensive displays may have won him both plaudits and admirers, the centre-back is also comfortable in possession, making more passes than any other Leicester teammate this season and the fifth highest in the division.
Fernandinho – Manchester City (1638 passes)
Just one pass ahead of Soyuncu is Manchester City‘s Fernandinho, the midfielder having been utilised in unfamiliar central defensive role this season following Pep Guardiola’s depleted options at centre-back.
The Brazilian international’s positional switch has seen him become an influential figure in possession for the champions, however, building attacks from the back and making 1638 passes for the season so far.
Only Rodri (1628) can come close to matching that tally at the Etihad, with Ilkay Gundogan the next best, though the German is more than 300 passes behind Fernandinho’s tally, the veteran of continued importance to City despite entering the twilight years of his career.
Andy Robertson – Liverpool (1687 passes)
Liverpool continue to set the pace at the top of the Premier League following their record-breaking start to the season, Jurgen Klopp’s winning machine seemingly showing no signs of letting up as they head towards an elusive league title.
The German’s tactics and philosophy are well documented, with a huge emphasis on the Reds full-backs in Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold to provide both width and creativity.
The importance of the duo is highlighted in the amount of the ball they receive, Scotland international Robertson having made the third-highest amount of passes in the Premier League so far this season.
Robertson has been amongst the most prolific ball-users during the Merseyside club’s title charge, making 1687 passes for the season so far, including providing six assists for grateful teammates.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (1708 passes)
One of the stars of the season so far and the massive favourite to be crowned as the PFA Young Player of the Year, Alexander-Arnold has continued to flourish under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.
The England international has developed into arguably the finest attacking full-back in world football, acting as a playmaker from deep for the Reds, his ability to hit pinpoint cross-field passes a vital weapon in the club’s attacking armoury.
Just one player has made more passes in English football’s top-flight so far this season, whilst Alexander-Arnold is also currently the second highest assist provider, his ten goals created behind only Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
Virgil van Dijk (2051 passes)
The most prolific passer in the Premier League by some distance is Liverpool man mountain Virgil van Dijk, the Dutch defender the first player to register 2000+ so far this season.
The Premier League dominance of Jurgen Klopp’s side has seen them dominate possession, with only Manchester City having registered more passes as a team amongst their divisional rivals.
Van Dijk, the reigning PFA Player of the Year, was the second most prolific passer over the whole of last season and is now once again amongst the league leaders, his 3037 passes in 2018/19 bettered only by Chelsea midfielder Jorginho (3118).