A typical football fan likes to see his side whip crosses into the box on a regular basis to enable a good scoring opportunity. Some sides do it better than others. Manchester United did it on every possible occasion in their recent match against Fulham. However the sides that benefit the most from crosses are the ones who have the most accurate players in their squad.
For example Stewart Downing has completed more crosses than anyone else in the Premier League this season, with 52 of his crosses finding a teammate. Perhaps why Liverpool paid so much money for him, but then again he has crossed the ball 185 times this season. So his accuracy rate is only 28.11% which places him as the 22nd most accurate crosser in the league.
The players who can find their target on a consistent basis are the ones who it's worth forking out a lot of money for and it's no surprise to see players from Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool feature in this list, but there are one or two surprises.
In the list compiled using Opta stats, it is only based on those who have attempted more than 50 crosses this season. Some players have only attempted one cross and it was accurate giving them 100%, and that would obviously distort the results.
Here are the top twenty most accurate crossers in the Premier League so far this season:
|Player||Team||Pos||Accurate crosses %||Total Crosses||Accurate Crosses||Apps|
|David Silva||Man City||MF||36.14||83||30||17|
|Samir Nasri||Man City||MF||36.04||111||40||22|
|Barry Bannan||Crystal Palace||MF||35.44||79||28||14|
|Jonathan De Guzmán||Swansea||MF||30.00||160||48||23|
|Ashley Westwood||Aston Villa||MF||30.00||110||33||24|
|Chris Brunt||West Brom||MF||29.75||158||47||21|
|Marc Albrighton||Aston Villa||MF||28.40||81||23||
So Frank Lampard is at the top of the table proving that despite the fact he is coming towards the end of his career he still possesses an incredible accuracy rate for his pinpoint crosses. David Silva and Samir Nasri follow on from Lampard, and this is why Manchester City paid such high amounts for both of them. These details show the class of players and it can make a big difference over the course of a season. The service that Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko receive is brilliant and gives them plenty of chances to score.
Barry Bannan and James Ward-Prowse make it into the top five and it is interesting to see so many central players in the list, when perhaps you would think that it would be full of wingers. Wingers will attempt the most crosses; with Robert Snodgrass and Stewart Downing producing the most in the league, but they are not always as accurate given that they will be under pressure from a full-back in a tight space. Central midfielders may find themselves with more time, and a better view of the situation ahead of themselves.
Luis Suarez and Marko Arnautovic are the only strikers in the top twenty, showing that they like to move out wide to try and find gaps in the play. Although in truth Arnautovic is often played on the wing at Stoke City by Mark Hughes.
Tottenham Hotspur's most accurate crosser is a player who they have let out on loan. Lewis Holtby is 12th in the list, and his crosses could have been vital for Spurs in the end of season run-in. Instead he will be providing the balls for Fulham and hoping to steer them clear of relegation.
image: © Ben Sutherland