7. Lionel Messi, Barcelona (3.79)
What else can be said about the magical Argentine talisman that has not already been said?
Messi currently leads La Liga in goals and assists. He also leads the league in npxG+xA/90 and xGChain90. We all remember the beautiful goals, but clearly he is much more than that for his club. Per FBref.com, his npxG+xA/90 in the Champions League this campaign is an excellent 1.19, however, he has only punched in two goals (he had 12 last year) and added one assist so far in six matches.
If you want to compare advanced numbers with Cristiano Ronaldo, then I will tell you that this year that Messi has more assists, a better npxG+xA/90, xGChain90, and xGBuildup90 then the Portuguese superstar. The Argentine also has better nnpxG+xA/90 and more assists than Ronaldo in UCL play this season with the same number of goals. His ranking might be a bit low for your liking here, but remember, this is based on reliable statistics!
6. Bernardo Silva, Manchester City (3.90)
Silva has five goals and assists for the defending Premier League champions, but that does not tell the whole story of his impact on the pitch. He is fifth-best in the league in xGChain90 and third-best in xGBuildup90. He is solid in every category. He can score, make key passes, is involved in the progression of play leading to goal opportunities, and he is consistently involved while on the pitch.
5. Serge Gnabry, Bayern Munich (4.01)
The 24-year-old German has feasted on teams from London in the Champions League this year. He scored four goals at Tottenham in the group stage and then added two more at Chelsea in the first round of 16 leg. This has been his breakthrough season in the competition. Prior to this cup run, he had not scored a goal in European cup competitions.
In his own team, he has been overshadowed in the goal-scoring department by Robert Lewandowski. However, Gnabry has eleven goals and eight assists of his own for FCB in league play. He is second in the Bundesliga in both npxG+xA/90 and xGChain.
The immediate question now is how Gnabry will be used and perform while Lewandowski is recovering from injury.
4. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City (4.15)
De Bruyne is currently having his best season at City. He has notched nine goals and sixteen assists in league play. The 28-year-old Belgian is also having the best year of his career in shots and key passes per game. His xG-goals this season is -3.76 making him one of the most clinical goal scorers in the Premier League. The star midfielder is also third in the English top-flight in xGChain 90 and fifth in npxG+xA/90 and xGBuildup90.
Based on his productivity in providing Pep Guardiola’s club with both goals and assists and his advanced statistics, De Bruyne is definitely a player of the year candidate. He is even more dangerous from all areas of the pitch than piranha in a swimming pool during a south Georgia summer.
Oh, and he can actually convert a penalty kick.