Scoring a goal is probably the greatest feeling you can have on a football pitch.
However, there are a select few players out there that get more satisfaction from providing assists than sticking the ball in the back of the net.
One of the greatest ‘assisters’ in the history of football, Cesc Fabregas explained his love for allowing a teammate to score.
“Whenever they asked me in interviews if I preferred scoring or providing an assist, I would always say an assist,” he once said.
“Only the people who know how to play the final pass for a goal know what it feels like, and I feel immense joy when a goal is scored from my pass.”
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And we’re here to celebrate those that like to set-up goals. Therefore, GIVEMESPORT have attempted to rank the 20 greatest ever assists in Premier League history.
Last weekend, we saw Chelsea’s Jorginho produce a wonderful pass to set-up Tammy Abraham against Watford. The Italian went the entire 2018/19 campaign without registering an assist but made one of the passes of the season to assist Abraham.
And it makes our list of the top 20 assists in Premier League history.
But assists come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From a magical piece of skill, a sensational pass or a magnificent run, there are 1001 different ways to make a goal.
There have been almost 30,000 goals scored in the Premier League. Therefore, we may have missed a fantastic assist or two. But here is our list of the top 20 assists in the Premier League era.
20 | Dennis Bergkamp vs Leicester | 2004
Not quite as good as his assist against Juventus in the Champions League but this wasn’t bad.
In the final game of the Invincible season, Arsenal had trailed Leicester 1-0 before Thierry Henry’s equaliser from the penalty spot. But it was a piece of magic from Bergkamp that gave Arsenal the lead. He picked up the ball 25 yards out and, with plenty of blue shirts in front of him, played a delicious ball with the outside of his foot into the path of Patrick Vieira.
19 | Jorginho vs Watford | 2019
As we mentioned, Jorginho produced a wonderful pass for Abraham at the weekend. His first time whipped ball went behind the Watford defence and right into the path of Abraham – who only needed one touch to find the back of the net.
18 | David Silva vs Man Utd | 2011
It’s probably not surprising that this assist was lost in the match. City triumphed 6-1 at Old Trafford but Silva’s volleyed through ball to Dzeko to make it six was just sublime.
17 | Ederson vs Huddersfield | 2018
Assists from goalkeepers are pretty rare so we just had to include this one from Ederson. His ping from goal-kick is ridiculous, finding Sergio Aguero on the edge of Huddersfield’s box.
Aguero did still have a lot to do and his finish was class but let’s take a moment to appreciate Ederson’s distribution.
16 | Riyad Mahrez vs West Brom | 2016
The season that Leicester defied the odds and won the Premier League. Against West Brom, they had the chance to go five points clear and it looked as though they would when Mahrez produced the most nonchalant of assists for Andy King.
From a cross-field pass, Mahrez saw King in space in the box and performed a delicate touch with his heel, allowing King to sweep the ball home first time.
Leicester drew the match 2-2 but, with help from Mahrez, went on to win the title.
15 | Gianfranco Zola vs Sunderland | 1999
The vision, the scoop and, ultimately, the finish. What a goal.
Ok, if Gus Poyet hadn’t produced such a brilliant finish, Zola’s assist wouldn’t have made it into the list but we simply can’t leave out this iconic goal.
14 | Kevin de Bruyne vs Arsenal | 2016
You just knew De Bruyne was going to feature on this list, didn’t you?
The midfielder is thrown the ball on the halfway line and already knows that Raheem Sterling is hugging the touchline.
What does he do? Take a touch on his chest, swivel and play an incredible 50-yard half volley right into the path of Sterling.
What takes away from the assist is the fact Sterling collects the ball near the corner flag and still has a lot of work to do. But he does it.
13 | Steven Gerrard vs Fulham | 2014
Gerrard registered 92 assists during his Premier League career but this is surely his best.
Despite a stumble, he plays a first time pass with the outside of his right foot that goes in behind the Fulham defence in the path of Daniel Sturridge, who makes no mistake.
12 | Frank Lampard vs Man City | 2007
From one Premier League legend to another.
Lampard racked up 102 assists in the Premier League and this one for Didier Drogba vs Man City was sensational.
It’s not too dissimilar to Gerrard’s in the fact that he plays it with the outside of his right boot to find his striker.
It wasn’t his greatest assist in the Premier League, though…
11 | Xabi Alonso vs Sunderland | 2005
Alonso produced two world-class assists in the same half against Sunderland back in 2005 – both of which feature in this list. First up, his second assist of the night at the Stadium of Light.
After a Cryuff turn just inside the Sunderland half, he played an unbelievable pass inside the left-back to Steven Gerrard.
Most players wouldn’t even have the vision to see that pass, let alone execute it.
10 | Frank Lampard vs Bolton | 2009
We did hint that Lampard would be appearing on the list again.
This was a stunning goal scoring from Chelsea as Nicolas Anelka’s chipped pass, was chested by Deco into Lampard, whose incredible backheel found Drogba, who finished with a sidefooted volley.
It was like a beach football goal.
We have a bad feeling Lampard’s backheel was actually meant to be a return pass to Deco but let’s ignore that.
9 | Mesut Ozil vs Aston Villa | 2015
The assist king was always going to feature.
This assist isn’t too dissimilar to Lampard’s previous effort – apart from this time we definitely know he meant it!
Nothing seemed on when the ball was played into Ozil on the halfway line but his delightful backheel volley sent Olivier Giroud through on goal.
The Frenchman made sure Ozil was awarded an assist by just about finishing it.
8 | Olivier Giroud vs Norwich | 2013
What. A. Goal.
This was Arsenal at their very best. Santi Cazorla to Jack Wilshere, to Cazorla, to Giroud, to Wilshere, to Giroud, to Wilshere, goal.
Giroud’s role was brilliant, flicking the ball twice to Wilshere before the midfielder finished.
7 | Eric Cantona vs Tottenham | 1993
Cantona was remembered for his goals but his assist for Irwin against Spurs was a thing of beauty.
Irwin played it into Cantona, who just stabbed the ball with the outside of his foot allowing it to spin over the defensive line and into Irwin’s run.
6 | Luis Suarez vs Man Utd | 2011
We’ve had moments of magic, we’ve had incredible passes and now we’ve got a brilliant individual run.
Suarez collects the ball inside United’s penalty area, weaves past Rafael, Michael Carrick and Wes Brown before squeezing the ball past Edwin van der Sar giving Dirk Kuyt a tap-in from 1cm.
5 | Cesc Fabregas vs Burnley | 2014
Now we’re getting serious.
We can’t even begin to explain how difficult Fabregas’ pass is here. Branislav Ivanovic’s chipped pass bounces right in front of the Spaniard, who takes all the pace of the ball to delicately play in Andre Schurrle first time.
Schurrle’s first time finish on the run makes it look even better.
4 | Dimitri Payet vs Watford | 2016
A rabona assist. Tasty.
Crossing the ball normally was too easy for Payet so he decided to cut onto his left foot and produce a rabona, which found Mikhail Antonio at the back post.
Most of us would probably fall over just attempting that.
3 | Leroy Sane for Aguero vs Newcastle | 2018
It’s like watching an adult joining in an under 12s match. Newcastle simply couldn’t get the ball off Sane.
He then put the ball on a plate for Aguero.
2 | Dimitar Berbatov vs West Ham | 2008
We feel awful for not having this as No.1 because it’s just so, so good.
Berbatov just about keeps Anderson’s overhit pass in play. James Collins thinks he has the situation under control until Berbatov does a pirouette, chipping the ball over Collins’ foot and rolling the ball across for Cristiano Ronaldo.
1 | Xabi Alonso vs Sunderland 2005
We did say that Alonso came up with two world-class assists in the same half against Sunderland – didn’t we?
You’ve already seen his second but his first of the night is just a joke.
Without even looking, Alonso hooked the ball over his shoulder with his weaker left foot splitting Sunderland’s defence and putting Luis Garcia through on goal.
If Garcia had messed up the finish, we would never forgive him.