Sports Journalist at FST, Gareth qualified as a journalist after graduating from university and spent over a decade as a freelance broadcast journalist, commentator and tipster before joining FST. Now living in Manchester, he is a long suffering Bolton Wanderers fan who also enjoys boxing, the NBA, tennis and rugby league.
In The Mixer is FST’s weekly column where we catch up with our team of football betting experts and get their opinion on the hot topic of the week.
This week, we asked our team who they think will finish the Premier League season with the most assists and there was plenty of agreement as three players received two votes each – but one of our tipsters did pick out an intriguing 33/1 outsider.
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Chelsea summer buy a big price option
Chelsea are probably too far adrift to make a title challenge this season, but I don’t think any Premier League side has impressed me as much as the Blues this season and I expect Mauricio Pochettino’s men to rocket up the table.
The Blues had issues in front of goal, but they have scored ten goals in the last three matches, they will likely add to their forward line in January and Cole Palmer looks capable of laying on plenty of goalscoring opportunities.
The former Man City man has four assists to his name this season, he has created 13 chances in only 11 matches and I think he can be a set up king for a resurgent Chelsea side.
Salah stands out with rivals missing
I’d have made James Maddison a strong each-way bet prior to his latest injury setback so perhaps the value now lies with Mohamed Salah, who is only three off the pace being set by another player on the sidelines in Wolves’ Pedro Neto.
Salah has four assists so far this season and is available at 8-1 with four places on offer in a heat he won in the 2021-22 campaign with a tally of 13.
He was also runner-up to Manchester City’s midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne last season with 12 assists, consistency that is hard to fault, and his Liverpool side are expected to get stronger as they bid to lay down their title marker.
It would be great to see a set-piece specialist take the crown, but it is hard to look past Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah. Now, he could miss up to four Premier League games due to the Africa Cup of Nations next year, but he has been able to rack up assists in the past despite his participation.
Salah finished second behind Kevin De Bruyne in the assist charts last season, while he topped the charts two years ago. He has not lost his touch and is part of a deadly Liverpool attack, and he offers good value at 8/1.
Most of Liverpool’s attack goes through the tricky Egyptian, and with Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota playing alongside him, he should be firmly in the mix.
Saka and Doku tipped to deliver
Jeremy Doku has made a superb start to his Man City career with five assists in just nine league appearances after joining from Rennes.
The winger has adapted to the Premier League quickly and is the sort of player that looks like making things happen every time he gets on the ball for Pep Guardiola’s side.
City are the top-scorers in the league with 32 goals and such is their plethora of attacking talent that it would be a major surprise if any team scores more than the champions over the course of the campaign with Doku a likely candidate to lay on plenty more goals for the likes of Erling Haaland and co.
There has been a lot to like about Jeremy Doku in the early stages of his Manchester City career and I can only see him getting better as the season progresses, and I fully expect his assist numbers to rocket, too.
The Belgian has already created five goals in just nine appearances for the champions and he looks a genuine threat cutting in off the left wing.
Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez and co are unlikely to waste too many chances created by Doku who could run away with this award with James Maddison out injured and Mohamed Salah heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations.
James Maddison would have been my frontrunner if it were not for his injury setback so I’ll look to the other side of north London for my pick and go with Bukayo Saka.
Arsenal’s Saka was in the mix last season, posting 11 assists, which was only five short of chart-topping Kevin De Bruyne.
And he has made a steady but promising start to the new season with four assists recorded in 11 matches.
Saka’s chances created per 90 minutes stands at 2.09 which is better than the likes of Pedro Neto, Ollie Watkins, Jeremy Doku and Mo Salah.
The top assister market is wide open and my eyes are drawn to Bukayo Saka, who is three assists behind the current leader, the now-injured Pedro Neto, with the Wolves man facing about a month on the sidelines.
Arsenal are scoring 2.1 goals per Premier League game, which is marginally worse than last season, but it is worth remembering that striker Gabriel Jesus has been missing for much of this campaign and the Gunners’ attacking options will improve when he is fit again.
Saka contributed 11 assists last term, good enough for a share of the each-way money with firms paying four places, and his productivity is unlikely to fall drastically in a talented team which scores plenty of goals.
I’d also consider a small each-way wager on Man City assist king Kevin De Bruyne. If the Belgian schemer returns to the squad before Christmas, he has the potential to feature in 20 games this season, which could result in ten assists based on his 2022-23 numbers (16 from 32 matches).
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