The new season may still be in its infancy, but there are a number of players across Europe who have already started brightly – and not just the usual suspects.
With statistics now an increasingly important part of the modern game, there are now other useful barometers of good form besides just goals and assists, with ‘chances created’ a clear indication of a player who is making a valued impact for their side.
Whether it be wasteful finishing or impressive goalkeeping, those chances don’t always translate into goals, yet it’s worth taking a look at who the top performing creators are at present.
As we take a look at those in the top five for most chances created across Europe’s top five leagues, don’t expect to see the usual big name stars.
Bruno Fernandes – 23
Joint-fifth on the list is Bruno Fernandes, the Manchester United talisman edging out fellow Premier League stars Trent Alexander-Arnold and Matt Ritchie, both of whom have created 21 chances to date.
Remarkably given the chances he has created this season, he has registered only a solitary league assist this season, coming in the 1-1 draw with Everton at the weekend.
After registering 12 assists in the top-flight last season, his return on one so far appears to indicate a forward line that is not delivering, such has been the number of chances he has created.
Fernandes may be lacking in the assist department, but he has already scored four league goals this season, including a superb hat-trick in the opening day win over Leeds United.
Jason Berthomier – 23
A relative unknown for many outside France, Jason Berthomier has enjoyed a fine start to the new campaign for newly-promoted Clermont, with the club currently in 15th in the table in what is their first-ever season in Ligue 1.
The 31-year-old had played a pivotal part in helping his side secure that memorable promotion last season, scoring six goals and registering 11 assists in the league to help Pascal Gastien’s side to a runners-up finish.
This season has seen him already pick up two assists from the opening nine league games, with his current side having won two and drawn four since making the step up to the top tier.
Benjamin Bourigeaud – 24
Benjamin Bourigeaud is another who has enjoyed a fine start to the Ligue 1 season, with the Rennes midfielder also picking up two assists so far in Ligue 1.
That comes after the playmaker recorded 11 goal contributions last season, with six goals and five assists, while his best campaign came during his debut season at the club – 2017/18 – in which he scored ten times and registered seven assists.
The former France under-20 international has spent the last four seasons with his current side, having previously come through the ranks at RC Lens.
Bourigeaud has played a key role in the club’s recent success, with the Brittany-based side memorably finishing third in the 2019/20 season and subsequently qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in their history.
That side included the likes of Edouard Mendy and Eduardo Camavinga, who have since secured high-profile moves to Chelsea and Real Madrid respectively.
Moses Simon – 24
Another man plying his trade in France, Moses Simon has been a real creative force this season for Ligue 1 side Nantes, having already registered five assists in the league to leave himself joint-top of the assist charts with Strasbourg forward Ludovic Ajorque.
It represents a fine start to the season for the Nigerian international, who already looks to set for a career-best campaign after matching last year’s tally of five assists – the same as he managed in the 2019/20 season.
The 26-year-old is now in his third season with Nantes, having made the switch from Levante following what proved a disappointing solitary season in Spain in which he recorded just one goal and one assist in 19 league games.
Iker Muniain – 26
Perhaps a more familiar name to some, Athletic Bilbao stalwart Iker Muniain has spent his entire career with the La Liga side, making 466 appearances for the club since his debut back in 2009.
Still just 28, the hugely talented winger is a real driving force for his current side and is enjoying another fine season so far, with three assists to his name in just eight league games, a tally bettered only by the ever-impressive Karim Benzema (7) in the Spanish top-flight.
The Spain international – who has just two caps for his country – recorded three assists and scored five times in the league last season, while he also played a pivotal role in helping the club secure the Supercopa de Espana last term, after beating both Real Madrid and Barcelona to secure the trophy.
The one-club man is the typical example of the loyalty shown by Bilbao academy graduates, with the club’s Basque-only policy often making it difficult to sign new players, hence why those – like Muniain – opt to stay put in order to help the club thrive.
Nabil Fekir – 27
At the top of the pile is Real Betis man Nabil Fekir, with the Frenchman having already created 27 chances this season, albeit with that contributing to just one league assist to date.
The 28-year-old is the creative hub for the La Liga side and reached double figures for goals and assists (G5, A5) in the top-flight last season, as the club secured a sixth-placed finish and qualified for the Europa League.
Betis have already started brightly in Europe’s second tier competition, with Fekir providing an assist in the thrilling 4-3 win over Celtic on matchday one, while he also scored the opener in the recent 3-1 victory away against Ferencvaros.
The World Cup winner is now in his third season in Spain, after previously spending six years in the first-team at Lyon, where he scored 69 goals in just 192 appearances for the club and took on the captaincy in 2017.