This piece has been updated since it was first published on Tuesday 20th November.
I have noted previously on this site how Barcelona attempt far more through-balls than any other side in Europe, and whilst researching a forthcoming piece for The Tomkins Times via WhoScored, I couldn’t help but notice what happens when you sort this season’s Premier League players by the number of accurate through-balls per game they play:
No prizes for spotting the connection between the top five players listed above. That’s right, they’re all Spaniards.
Notice also the high KP (‘key pass’) figure for Cazorla, Silva, and Mata, who all feature in the league’s top ten for key passes per game at present, and no defender has more assists than Jose Enrique this season either. All of this shows the offensive value of the through ball, and as a nation Spain appear to be streets ahead of the rest.
Update 23/11/12: Following Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Young Boys in the Europa League yesterday, another Spanish player – Suso – is now joint top of the accurate through ball rankings for that competition, at 1.3 per game. It’s also worth noting that all five of his attempted through-balls in all competitions this season have found a team-mate. Liverpool will be hoping he can add it to his repertoire in the league more often.
Perhaps the folks at England’s newly opened St George’s Park need to focus on this skill when coaching the England stars of the future?