Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from professional football, with the former Arsenal midfielder calling time on his career.
Ozil was the signing that was supposed to reinvigorate Arsenal’s hopes of challenging for major honours following a club-record arrival from Real Madrid in 2013, though his time with the club ended in farcical fashion following a mutual agreement to terminate the contract of the highest-paid player in the Gunners’ history.
Recency bias can often lead to tainted perceptions but Ozil was once one of the Premier League’s best creative talents, a player who often produced moments of brilliance and who possessed a vision and technique few could rival.
Following Ozil’s retirement we’ve decided to look at the most productive players in the division’s history, so here are the creative forces that have set up the most chances in a top-flight campaign since Opta began tracking such data in 2003/04.
The most chances created by a player in a Premier League season:
Florent Malouda – 118 chances created (2010/11)
Chelsea’s first season under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti saw the club score over a century of goals and win a domestic double in 2009/10, but despite an initial bright start the west London side struggled to reproduce that form the following season.
Whilst several notable names saw their performance levels dip, Florent Malouda remained a figure of consistency in Ancelotti’s side and one of the division’s most creative talents.
The France international finished ahead of the likes of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard as the Blues’ leading scorer in the Premier League with 13 goals, in addition to creating a huge 118 chances for his teammates.
Remarkably, Malouda ended the season with just four assists despite the wealth of opportunities created, a figure level with the likes of Blackpool’s Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Chelsea teammate Branislav Ivanovic.
Ranking the five Premier League players with the most chances created in a single calendar month
Dimitri Payet – 119 chances created (2015/16)
Every so often a player arrives in the Premier League who simply provides box-office viewing and Dimitri Payet’s brief but brilliant spell most certainly left plenty of memorable moments.
Few could have anticipated the Le Havre product’s impact upon his arrival at West Ham, but the summer signing quickly established himself as one of the most exciting players in the division.
There were exquisite pieces of skill, fabulous free-kicks and high-quality end product throughout the course of a campaign that saw the midfielder nominated for the PFA Player of the Year. Just two players provided more than his 12 assists, following an incredible 119 chances created.
Sadly it all turned sour for a player who became an instant Hammers’ hero, but the silky skills of the flamboyant Frenchman ensure he retains huge affection in the eyes of many Premier League fans.
Remembering just how special Dimitri Payet was in the 15/16 Premier League season
Frank Lampard – 134 chances created (2008/09)
Frank Lampard’s legend is often centred around his brilliant ability to score goals from midfield, a knack of ghosting forward into dangerous areas that saw him become the greatest goalscorer in Chelsea history.
Whilst that prolific record may be the defining feature of Lampard’s game, the midfielder was also an underrated creative presence and finished as the Premier League’s leading assist provider on three occasions, including during Chelsea’s title successes in 2005 and 2010.
Frank Lampard through the ages in the #PL pic.twitter.com/tk0A9IGizo
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 2, 2017
The most productive season of his career in terms of chance creation came in 2008/09, as the former England international provided 134 opportunities for his teammates.
He finished that season with the most assists in the Premier League after registering ten for the campaign, level with Arsenal forward Robin van Persie.
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Kevin De Bruyne – 136 chances created (2019/20)
Widely regarded as the Premier League’s best creative talent at present, Kevin De Bruyne ranks second for the most chances created in a Premier League season following a brilliant individual campaign in 2019/20.
De Bruyne has set extraordinary creative standards since returning to the Premier League with Manchester City in 2015, becoming the fastest player in history to reach 50 assists and moving into the division’s all-time top five creators.
De Bruyne equalled the Premier League’s single season assist record in 2019/20 to be named as the PFA Player of the Year, as he provided 20 assists from an astonishing 136 chances created throughout the campaign.
Only Arsenal’s Thierry Henry (2002/03) had ever previously reached 20 assists in a Premier League season.
Mesut Ozil – 146 chances created (2015/16)
Mesut Ozil retires from football holding the Premier League record for most chances created in a single season, with the midfielder’s brilliant 2015/16 campaign the zenith of his Arsenal career.
The German was sensational to be named as Arsenal’s Player of the Season, as his 19 assists saw him shortlisted for the division’s Player of the Year accolades.
This was the sort of campaign that most expected from Ozil when he became the most expensive player in the north London side’s history, the artistry of the World Cup winner evident as he dissected defences with pieces of invention and ingenuity.
🔙 Throwback to this Mesut Ozil goal against Ludogorets back in 2016.
🔮 Pure magic.
— GoonerBox (@gooner_box) October 15, 2020
Ozil created 146 chances throughout the season, with 93 of those coming from open play, leading Europe’s top five leagues for chances created and setting a new Premier League record.
His performances declined in the following seasons, but the 2015/16 version of Ozil was unquestionably one of the continent’s finest playmakers.
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