When you think of the Premier League’s greatest playmakers, some illustrious names immediately come to mind – Mesut Ozil, David Silva, Cesc Fabregas and Juan Mata to name just a few.
But in the Premier League last weekend, it wasn’t any of the above – or for that matter, any of their midfield comrades – who topped the division’s passing charts; it was, in fact, Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta.
Indeed, the Spaniard is better famed for being arguably the best technical defender in the division, with interceptions, crucial clearances and perfectly-timed tackles aplenty.
But as Chelsea enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in a bitter-fought game with Burnley on Sunday, it was Azpilicueta who made the biggest contribution, finishing up as the only Premier League player to make more than 100 passes across the nine games last weekend according to data courtesy of EA SPORTS.
And the 27-year-old is by no means a sideways water-carrier; the majority of his passes were made in the opposition half, with an 85.5% completion rate. In fact, he also led the Premier League once again in this regard during the last matchday, and was the only defender to make the top ten.
Clearly, there are more strings to Azpilicueta’s bow than simply what he does off the ball.
Data Courtesy of EA SPORTS, the Lead Partner of the Premier League.