In this guest post I look at how successful final 3rd passes made by individual players appear to be a better indicator of the frequency and number of assists you should expect that player to create in the following season.
It is tempting to use assists in year N as the best indication of assists in year N+1, you are after all comparing like with like. However, successful passes completed in the demanding final third of the field require a player to demonstrate similar skills to those needed to create chances. Players who create chances that are numerically well in excess of the numbers expected from their record of successfully finding a colleague in the final third, invariably see their chance creating prowess recede the following season. Their impressive previous record was most likely down to skill and good luck and the latter often returns to more usual levels in the future.