These players performed to the very best of their abilities and scripted many records in the calendar year.
Football has developed and so has the role of a winger. It takes a lot of quality to become a winger in the modern game. The position primarily requires speed, stamina, dribbling and crossing abilities. On a secondary basis, trickery is also a trait which many of them possess. While nowadays, it’s more of an aggressive role (wing-forward), wingers still have to fall back at times to help their team defend during crucial situations.
Considering all of the above, here is a list of the 10 top wingers in 2021.
10. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)
Apart from being the captain of Napoli, the 30-year-old is also a regular at Roberto Mancini’s Italy national team. In July, he clinched the Euro 2020 trophy after defeating England in the final.
The left-winger has made 18 appearances this season and has already bagged five goals and six assists to his name. Insigne enjoys a npxG of 0.28, claiming his tendency to score. Apart from this, he has a xA of 0.29, proving his capability to create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. He also had a passing accuracy of 79% which speaks volume of his abilities.
9. Ansu Fati (FC Barcelona)
After Lionel Messi’s departure from FC Barcelona, the jersey #10 has been handed over to the 19-year-old at the club. Similar to Insigne, Fati is also a left-winger.
It has been a topsy-turvy season for young Fati, who has gone through some fitness issues (injuries). However, in the eight appearances in the La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, he has proved his class. Four goals and one assist are his stats till now. Adding to this, three of his goals came in the five La Liga encounters, where he enjoys a xG of 1.0.
8. Federico Chiesa (Juventus)
Federico Chiesa’s name wasn’t heard as much before Euro 2020. However, following his delightful performance and two important goals against Austria in the round of 16 and Spain in the semifinal, he broke into the limelight. The 24-year-old right-winger is on loan to Juventus from Fiorentina.
This season, Chiesa has already played 16 matches and has bagged three goals and assisted once. He enjoys a brilliant npxG of 0.31. Apart from this, he has a xA of 0.16, something which he should improve on. However, the Italian is a good passer of the ball and has an accuracy of 76.9%.
7. Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)
The Brazilian is another left-winger in this list. The 21-year-old plies his trade for Spanish giants Real Madrid. After the Spanish club got hold of Vinicius from Flamengo, he went on to become the most expensive player sold in football under the age of 18. Similar to Neymar, the youngster is also expected to carry forward the legacy of Brazilian legends Pele, Rivaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho and many more.
Speaking about statistics, Vinicius has played 24 matches this season and has 12 goals and seven assists to his name. He has a brilliant passing accuracy of 83.6%. Apart from this, he also enjoys a delightful npxG of 0.33. The youngster possesses a xA of 0.19, something which he should improve in the upcoming fixtures. Undoubtedly, he will be delivering more goals and is expected to create more scoring chances for his teammates in the days to come.
6. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Finally, someone from the Premier League gets a place in the list. Raheem Sterling is a winger who operates on the left-flank of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Apart from the club, Gareth Southgate also relies heavily upon him for the national team duties.
In 21 outings this season in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, Sterling has scored seven times and assisted only twice. He enjoys a brilliant npxG of 0.48 and passing accuracy of 85.3%. The Englishman also boasts of a xA of 0.21, a feat which can be inflated in future by the candidate.
5. Neymar Jr (Paris Saint-Germain)
Currently a very important part of Mauricio Pochettino’s Paris Saint-Germain, his prolific display of skills is something for which he’s known widely.
This season, the Brazilian left-winger has appeared 14 times in Ligue 1 and UEFA Champions League. He has bagged three goals and as many assists in Ligue 1. However, he is yet to open his tally in the Champions League. He enjoys a npxG of 0.34 and a brilliant xA of 0.38.
4. Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich)
The German has been brilliant in his trade this season for the Bavarians. He has already bagged 10 goals and nine assists in the Bundesliga and the Champions League this season (23 appearances). He enjoys a brilliant npxG of 0.43, proving his brutality in scoring. Sane’s xA is also worthy of a mention at 0.26, though it is expected that this number will go higher in the upcoming fixtures.
3. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Mane has been one of the finest left-wingers in recent times. At Liverpool, his combination with the likes of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Diego Jota is something which the fans enjoy. He has appeared 24 times in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League this season and has conjured up nine goals and two assists.
Almost similar to Leroy Sane, the Senegalese ace also enjoys a prolific npxG of 0.48. Regarding the reputation he holds, he can certainly do better while assisting for his teammates. His xA (0.16) is relatively lower than what is expected from him.
2. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
The Frenchman started his career at a very young age, turning out to be the second-youngest player ever to win a World Cup at 19 after Pele (17). His marauding runs on the flanks and his goalscoring ability is widely appreciated.
Speaking of statistics, Kylian Mbappe has played 23 matches in the UEFA Champions League and Ligue 1 this season. He has both scored and assisted 13 times. Mbappe has registered a delightful npxG of 0.61, proving his knack of scoring goals. The 23-year-old also has a xA of 0.24, shedding light on his efficiency in creating chances for his teammates.
1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
The Egyptian is in the form of his life. The right-winger already became the fastest Liverpool player to score 100 top-flight goals.
In 24 outings this season in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, Salah has netted the ball 22 times and registered nine assists. According to the statistics, he could have been kept below Kylian Mbappe, but his goalscoring activity this season earns him the first spot in this list. The 29-year-old enjoys a npxG of 0.54 and xA of 0.21. The Egyptian has been in form but apart from scoring goals, he can improve his assisting abilities as well. Overall, it will help Liverpool to emerge as champions yet again.