As we reach the Spring international break in football we are close to 75% of the way through the Premier League season which means we’ve got a pretty sizable data set to look at. With that in mind, we’re taking a look at the top ten players in the Premier League in terms of PFF passing grade, with a look at the metrics which have contributed to that grade.
1. Martin Ödegaard, Arsenal
PFF passing grade: 95.9
Ödegaard’s ability to move Arsenal forward this season has been key, with his 36 completed defensive line-breaking passes the most in the league. Not only are they the most, but they are a full 11 ahead of Bruno Fernandes in second place.
2. Rodri, Manchester City
PFF passing grade: 95.6
Rodri is the only player in the Premier League to complete more than 2,000 passes so far this season, with his 2,098 completed passes over 200 more than the next ranked player. He is tied for first with 219 completed line-breaking passes, although just six of those have broken the defensive line.
3. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City
PFF passing grade: 94.6
Kevin De Bruyne is one of just three players, along with Ödegaard and Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino, who have averaged over 1.0 defensive line breaking passes completed per 90 minutes while seeing at least 1,000 minutes played so far this season, with De Bruyne trailing only Ödegaard at 1.2.
4. Granit Xhaka, Arsenal
PFF passing grade: 90.6
Xhaka has completed 87.6% of his pass attempts so far this season, 11th among midfielders to attempt at least 500 passes. He ranks 17th at the position with 110 completed line-breaking passes, and tied for seventh with 12 of those breaking the defensive line.
5. Ilkay Gündogan, Manchester City
PFF passing grade: 90.1
With 33 key passes this season, Gündogan ranks seventh amongst all midfielders. His 84.6% true pass completion rate puts him in the top-10 too, also ranking seventh of all midfielders to attempt a minimum of 900 passes this season.
6. Oleksandr Zinchenko, Arsenal
PFF passing grade: 89.6
Zinchenko’s 88.7% pass completion rate ranks second among full-backs this season, trailing only Kyle Walker of Manchester City, while his 133 line-breaking pass completions is behind only Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold at the position.
7. Alexis Mac Allister, Brighton & Hove Albion
PFF passing grade: 88.9
A good all-rounder in the passing game, Mac Allister ranks 12th among midfielders with 14 completed through ball passes so far this season. His seven defensive line-breaking passes completed are tied for 12th, while his true pass completion rate of 83.3% ranks ninth at the position.
8. Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur
PFF passing grade: 87.9
The highest-graded centre forward when it comes to passing, Kane has completed 37 line-breaking passes so far this season, four more than any other player at the position. 17 of those have broken the defensive line, which also leads all centre forwards.
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— PFF FC (@PFF_FC) March 21, 2023
9. Jack Grealish, Manchester City
PFF passing grade: 87.4
Among wide attacking midfielders, only Grealish’s Manchester City teammate Riyad Mahrez has a higher true pass completion rate than the 85.3% put forth by the former Aston Villa star this season.
10. Kaoru Mitoma, Brighton & Hove Albion
PFF passing grade: 87.0
Kaoru Mitoma has completed 85.9% of the passes he has attempted this season, which trails just four wide attacking midfielders. 73.3% of the 60 line breaking passes he has attempted have been completed, ranking third at the position.