At PFF we are grading every facet of the game; how many passes did Kevin De Bruyne attempt and were they high quality? Did a Robert Lewandowski shot hit the target and if so was it possible for the goalkeeper to save?
The accuracy of a cross is also something that we collect data on and grade. Last season in the Premier League, there were 15,016 of them with 18% completed on average.
That completion rate may seem low, but as modern soccer has steered the conversation among fans towards pressing patterns and line-breaking passes you might ask what purpose do crosses serve to a head coach? The obvious answer is the option to create one high-quality chance with one possession that could take five or more passes to manufacture.
But at an 18% completion rate, high volume doesn't necessarily marry itself to high quality when it comes to crossing. That said, here are the Premier League's Top 5 graded players who have been supremely efficient in the facet this season.
1. Andreas Pereira, Fulham
Crossing grade: 93.0
Pereira has been on another level in crossing terms this season for Fulham. He has made the fourth-most cross attempts in the Premier League this season with 154, far higher than the Premier League average of 28.6.
He accounts for four of the 11 times this season when a player with at least ten cross attempts has completed four or more.
Nottingham Forest’s Morgan Gibbs-White has achieved that high efficiency level twice, while Michael Olise, Hakim Ziyech, Dwight McNeil, James Maddison and Pascal Groß have done so once. No other player in this top five-graded crossers list has come close to Pereira in this regard.
2. Kieran Trippier, Newcastle United
Crossing grade: 91.4
The full-back has been in elite form for Eddie Howe’s Champions League qualification-chasers. His dead-ball ability has been coveted by the likes of Diego Simeone, Mauricio Pochettino and, of course, England coach Gareth Southgate during his career.
And that has remained the case at Newcastle for Trippier, whose 141 crosses from set pieces is a full 36% more than the player who is fifth in that metric – Brighton’s Pascal Groß (90).
Trippier featured in our PFF Premier League Team of the Week for Gameweek 21 for his performance against Crystal Palace. In the trip to Selhurst Park, his eight chances created was the second-highest number recorded in a single match – behind Bruno Fernandes’ tally of nine against Spurs back in October.
3. James Ward Prowse, Southampton
Crossing grade: 88.1
Southampton’s season has not been the smoothest but the ever-reliable James Ward-Prowse has been a high value player for them once again. Like Trippier, he has been a dead-ball specialist for both Ralph Hassenhüttl and current manager Nathan Jones.
His 121 crosses from set pieces is second only to the player above him in this list, and Ward-Prowse’s true cross metric percentage of 24% is also above the league average of 20% while he has attempted far more crosses (165).
4. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City
Crossing grade: 87.1
Among players to have played 500 or more minutes this season, Kevin De Bruyne is tied-1st for crosses per-90 at 10.1. The other player tied with De Bruyne is Kostas Tsimikas, though the Belgian's playing time is treble that of the Liverpool defender.
The introduction of Erling Haaland as a physical presence for City in the opposition penalty area has seen De Bruyne’s crosses per-90 increase by 2.2 from its 2021/22 rate of 7.9.
5. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool
Crossing grade: 85.2
As you might expect, Alexander-Arnold is high on the list of players to attempt a cross from open play. He is one of four to have a crosses from open play per-90 rate higher than 5.0 at 5.3; one already features on this list in De Bruyne (7.1) and the two others are Spurs’ Ivan Perisic (5.1) and Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech.
The roles he and Andrew Robertson play are key within the 4-3-3 system Liverpool operate under Jurgen Klopp. Alexander-Arnold’s grade of 85.2 ranks second among all full-backs while Robertson’s 79.9 is fifth.
Who are the five top-graded players in Europe’s other ‘Top 5’ leagues?
Aleix Garcia, Girona FC – 97.0
Jonas Hofmann, Borussia Mönchengladbach – 92.9
Piotr Zielinski, Napoli – 92.2
Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, RC Strasbourg-Alsace – 92.1
Benjamin Bourigeaud, Rennes – 91.2