Football

Five of the best: Assists

No better exponent of the 'killer pass' than Xavi. (©GettyImages)
No better exponent of the 'killer pass' than Xavi. (©GettyImages).

For those that harbour a pure footballing philosophy, witnessing a glorious assist is often far more pleasurable than the experience of watching the finest of finishes.

The greatest executers of the assist are often the players most lauded - see Xavi - whether a goal is created via a defence splitting pass, a pinpoint cross or an outrageous piece of skill.

The latter would certainly be an appropriate description of Nicklas Bärkroth's effort for Uniao Leiria against Braga at the weekend, with a some breathtaking trickery setting up Bruno Moraes to score.

Bärkroth's rabona inspired GMF to trawl the archives and provide a list of five assists that leave us salivating...

Steven Gerrard

Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool - January 13, 2002

Watch here

Gerrard is often renowned for a somewhat blood and thunder style of play, but the Liverpool captain also possesses a softness of touch, which he often uses to great effect.

No example of this is more apparent than when Gerrard sent John Arne Riise through to score at Highbury in a draw between Arsenal and Liverpool a decade ago.

Receiving the ball from Patrick Berger inside his own half, Gerrard anticipates a run from Riise down the left and eliminates both the Arsenal midfield and defence as he caresses a pass with the outside of his right foot.

The weight of pass also leaves Gunners goalkeeper Stuart Taylor in two minds, while Risse finishes the job.

Dimitar Berbatov

Manchester United 2-0 West Ham - October 29, 2008

Watch here

Berbatov's assist for Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford is an example of superb trickery rather than expert vision, but it is no less impressive than any other on this list.

Anderson sends the Bulgarian striker towards the West Ham byline and Berbatov, tracked by James Collins, shapes to shield the ball from the reach of the Hammers centre-back.

Berbatov, however, drags the ball past Collins with his right foot, before lifting it over the Welshman's outstretched leg in the blink of an eye, and surges into the penalty area.

The United forward then finds the advancing Ronaldo, who is provided with the simple task of sliding the ball into an empty net.

Dennis Bergkamp

Arsenal 3-1 Juventus - December 4, 2001

Watch here

This effort from Bergkamp had it all - step-overs, drag-backs, strength, precision - and, on a list of quite brilliant assists, is GMF's favourite.

After a Juventus attack breaks down, Arsenal surge forward on a characteristic counter after Patrick Vieira releases Freddie Ljungberg after some good fortune.

The Swede then finds Bergkamp on the edge of the Juve box and the latter, surrounded by two defenders, attempts to find a route past a black and white wall formed in front of him.

Of course, he does so quite remarkably - performing two step-overs, before turning 180 degrees prior to dragging the ball back inside and lifting a glorious pass for Ljungberg to score. Ridiculous.

Xavi

Barcelona 4-0 Sevilla - January 16, 2010

Watch here

No list of great assists would be complete without Barcelona playmaker Xavi, who is undoubtedly one of the finest exponents of the 'killer pass' to have ever played the game.

Such is his frequency of creating goal chances, it is a difficult task to highlight only one assist from the Spain international but, after some deliberation, GMF has managed it.

Xavi picks the ball some 20 yards into the Sevilla half and, after touching the ball out of his feet, spots the surging run of Pedro before anyone else.

As the Barca forward streaks between two defenders, the ball is weighted absolutely perfectly and arrives right on cue; splitting the Sevilla centre-backs and allowing Pedro to finish. And he does so very well indeed.

Frank Lampard

Bolton 0-4 Chelsea - October 31, 2009

Watch here

This goal from Didier Drogba displays a certain arrogance from Chelsea as they toy with the Bolton defence with some brilliant one-touch football around their opponents' box.

Nicolas Anelka scoops a pass inside to Deco on the edge of the area, and the Portuguese guides the ball into the path of Frank Lampard with a thrust of his chest.

Lampard then delicately diverts the ball into with a backheel inside two Bolton defenders, for Drogba to slot past Jussi Jaaskelainen before the ball can even touch the ground.

Topics:
Football
Premier League

Article Comments

Trending

Read more