B90M’s Rating Index for Wide Forwards
and Attacking Midfielders (ARI) at end 2016/17
Ok, enough teasing. It’s time. You’ve seen our detailed breakdowns of which players standout most in particular categories such as goal contributions, dribbling, shooting and passing and David Moyes’ favourite stat, crossing. After tallying each of these stats dating back to the start of the 2014/15 season, here is our updated ranking of the 25 best wide forwards and attacking midfielders in world football! Just a reminder of what we consider when putting this ranking together.
The weighting system for the ARI considers:
Goals, Assists, Key Passes, Passing, Shooting Efficiency, Shooting Accuracy, the ability to draw fouls, Possession Loss, and Dribbling.
25 Marek Hamšík (Napoli)
Index rating: 53.59
Raw score: 54.11 (25th)
Goals and Assists: 25 (31)
Strongest category: Pass volume (1st) and pass completion
Weakest category: Dribbling and shot efficiency (shots to goals)
The heart of Naples for a decade now, Hamšík kicks off the top 25 as he did in our initial rankings. An elite-level passer coming off arguably a career year, he remains the hub of a Napoli team coming closer to finally capturing that elusive Scudetto.
24 Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
Index rating: 54.34
Raw score: 56.11 (22nd)
Goals and Assists: 26 (12)
Strongest category: Goals & assists
Weakest category: Pass completion and pass volume
His biggest enemy continues to be injury and now set to miss the rest of the calendar year thanks to a cruciate ligament tear in the German Cup final, time ticks on a career left wondering. He drops 13 places from his initial ranking as a result.
23 Henrikh Mhkitaryan (Manchester United)
Index rating: 54.39
Raw score: 54.79 (23rd)
Goals and Assists: 18 (20)
Strongest category: Dribbling and forward passes.
Weakest category: Shot efficiency and pass completion
A mixed bag in his first season at Old Trafford under a Jose Mourinho who made his wait to become a consistent first team regular an uneasy one. Whether he can recreate his career-best season in 2015/16 in United colours remains to be seen.
22 Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Index rating: 54.41
Raw score: 54.63 (24th)
Goals and Assists: 26 (17)
Strongest category: Dribbling and passing
Weakest category: Shooting
Under Jürgen Klopp, Coutinho has looked monstrous more often than not, though still yet to reach his ceiling. Had he not gotten injured mid-season, we could have been talking about the Brazilian as PFA Player of the Year and possibly a top 20 placing on this list.
21 Josip Iličić (Fiorentina)
Index rating: 55.38
Raw score: 56.34 (21st)
Goals and Assists: 26 (12)
Strongest category: Goal contribution and fouls suffered
Weakest category: Shot accuracy.
The Slovenian’s output dipped in 2016/17, but he still remains one of the best all-round players at his position in Serie A.
20 Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez (Real Madrid)
Index rating: 56.51
Raw score: 57.66 (18th)
Goals and Assists: 17 (25)
Strongest category: Pass volume and completion.
Weakest category: Ball retention and shot efficiency.
Cracking into the top 20 after just missing out last time is a man who’s finally showing his full capabilities in Real Madrid colours. Along with Marcelo, the ex-Malaga man was Los Blancos’ most potent attacking threat this past season.
19 Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
Index rating: 56.56
Raw score: 58.11 (16th)
Goals and Assists: 39 (21)
Strongest category: Goal scoring and possession retention
Weakest category: Shooting accuracy, key passes, and pass volume
Injuries restricted Gareth Bale to just 19 league games in 2016/17 and slipped him down five spots in our rankings. But he still possesses one of the deadliest left boots in world football and has a La Liga/Champions League double to show for his efforts this last campaign.
18 Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Index rating: 56.78
Raw score: 57.73 (17th)
Goals and Assists: 35 (20)
Strongest category: Goal contribution and shot to goal ratio (5th)
Weakest category: Possession retention and forward passes.
The newest addition to Liverpool’s already wealthy list of attacking options, Mohamed Salah became a menace in his three seasons in Italy and now looks set to prove he can hang in the English Premier League after a short, uninspiring stint at Chelsea.
Index rating: 57.06
Raw score: 56.60 (20th)
Goals and Assists: 29 (22)
Strongest category: Pass intent
Weakest category: Pass accuracy.
Nolito’s Man City adventure may come to an end sooner than expected as the former Celta Vigo attacker struggled to get off the bench following a promising start to the season. Despite his struggles for minutes, the Spaniard still remains productive outlet through his positive play. Should he move from City this summer, he could be a useful player for whoever he joins.
16 David Silva (Manchester City)
Index rating: 58.49
Raw score: 59.53 (15th)
Goals and Assists: 18 (25)
Strongest category: Pass volume (2nd) and pass completion (5th)
Weakest category: Shot accuracy and efficiency
David Silva’s wand of a left boot continues to mesmerise Premier League defenses. His body doesn’t quite stand up to the rigours like it used to but his mind is still leagues ahead of many. In Silva, Pep has a veteran able to keep possession and pick his moments when to play a killer pass from a now deeper position. Long may he continue to enchant us.
15 Alejandro Dario ‘Papu’ Gómez (Atalanta)
Index rating: 58.58
Raw score: 57.43 (19th)
Goals and Assists: 30 (19)
Strongest category: Fouls suffered (4th) and crossing (8th)
Weakest category: Shot efficiency
This is one that might have flown under the radar if you never followed Serie A this season. His technique, both on the dribble and in whipping in crosses is seen among the best in the league. Having obtained obtained Italian citizenship in 2016, Gomez is also eligible to play for the Azzurri. Should this form continue, he’d be an asset for them going into next year’s World Cup.
14 Ousmane Dembélé (Borussia Dortmund)
Index rating: 59.99
Raw score: 59.73 (14th)
Goals and Assists: 15 (17)
Strongest category: Dribbling (1st), fouls suffered (4th) and key passes (4th)
Weakest category: Possession loss, shooting, pass volume and completion.
One of the most prodigious talents in the game, Ousmane Dembélé has blossomed since moving to Dortmund last year. Due to his ability to stretch the pitch, Dembélé often doesn’t get involved until late in play but when he does, it’s usually decisive. If there’s any area of his game that needs work is shooting, both in terms of accuracy and efficiency. Those will come in time – after all, he’s still only 20.
13 Ángel Di María (PSG)
Index rating: 61.41
Raw score: 63.08 (11th)
Goals and Assists: 23 (14)
Strongest category: Key passes (3rd) and crossing
Weakest category: Possession loss and shooting
The Argentine winger has continued to be a forced to be reckoned with for PSG. Even now as he approaches 30, Di Maria shows no signs of slowing down. Despite being second only to Juan Mata for for pass completion, the PSG man is a far more positive passer. Such is his influence that he consistently registers chances for the likes of Cavani and Draxler to latch onto.
12 Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal)
Index rating: 61.81
Raw score: 61.88 (13th)
Goals and Assists: 53 (22)
Strongest category: Goals and assists, and dribbling (7th)
Weakest category: Possession loss and pass completion
Electric Sanchez. A brilliant season for the Chilean forward who was the only Premier League player to get into double digits for both goals and assists last season. Should Arsenal lose him this summer, they will have a major task on their hands to replace him.
11 Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig)
Index rating: 62.02
Raw score: 62.53 (12th)
Goals and Assists: 12 (22)
Strongest category: Key passes (4th) and pass intent
Weakest category: Pass volume and accuracy, and possession loss
There’s no way the assist king himself could not have made our list. Forsberg has made the football community sit up and take notice after a stellar season with Leipzig. Simply put, 19 assists is ridiculous and puts him in prime position for a move to a bigger European club. Should he continue his form from last season, a top 10 placing on our ARI may not be out his reach.
10 Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Index rating: 63.71
Raw score: 64.49 (10th)
Goals and Assists: 34 (17)
Strongest category: Dribbling (2nd) fouls suffered (3rd) and, pass completion.
Weakest category: Possession loss and crossing.
At number ten we have Chelsea’s brilliant #10, Eden Hazard. Premier League defenders are probably still left shaking after a season of Eden at his terrorising best. Only young Dembélé betters Hazard in this category but the Belgian more than makes up for his high risk-high reward style with his high passing volume and accuracy.
9 Dries Mertens (Napoli)
Index rating: 64.55
Raw score: 65.90 (7th)
Goals and Assists: 39 (21)
Strongest category: Goals and assists (3rd), possession loss (4th), fouls suffered.
Weakest category: Pass volume and completion.
A career season from Dries Merters sees him soar up our rankings. After Arkadiusz Milik’s injury early in the season, Mertens stepped up and delivered for Napoli in a major way. 28 goals and nine assists is nothing to laugh at. While his passing isn’t elite, it’s a worthy compromise on a player averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes.
8 Dimitri Payet (Marseille)
Index rating: 64.73
Raw score: 64.95 (9th)
Goals and Assists: 22 (37)
Strongest category: Key passes (1st) and crossing (1st)
Weakest category: Shooting and possession loss.
Though his stock may be on the wane, Dimitri Payet can still boast a top ten placing in our ARI. A productive peak saw the former West Ham become a household name until a massive falling out with the London club. Known for a killer dead ball, Payet blows the competition out of the water, if only in these very important two categories.
7 Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Index rating: 64.96
Raw score: 65.23 (8th)
Goals and Assists: 23 (47)
Strongest category: Crossing (5th), goal contributions and key passes
Weakest category: Fouls suffered and shot efficiency and accuracy.
6 Mesut Özil (Arsenal)
Index rating: 67.11
Raw score: 67.98 (6th)
Goals and Assists: 18 (33)
Strongest category: Key passes (2nd), crossing (2nd), pass volume (4th), pass completion (4th) and, shot accuracy.
Weakest category: Fouls suffered
Just outside the top five, and our highest ranking Premier League player is Arsenal’s Mesut Özil. As one would expect, the German’s passing stats are excellent and with the likes of Alexandre Lacazette joining Arsenal, Özil will have another pacy target to pick out.
5 Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
Index rating: 68.32
Raw score: 70.12 (5th)
Goals and Assists: 34 (17)
Strongest category: Possession retention (2nd) and dribbling (5th)
Weakest category: Shot accuracy
Few footballers keep themselves in shape better than Robben, who continues to put in strong shift that defy logic. While cutting in to his left and curling one may be his signature, his placing here shows just how devastating an attacker he continues to be into his 30s.
4 Neymar (Barcelona)
Index rating: 71.79
Raw score: 73.07 (4th)
Goals and Assists: 59 (29)
Strongest category: Fouls suffered (2nd), dribbling (3rd) and goals and assists
Weakest category: Pass completion
His form, especially in front of goal, dipped in 2016/17. But on his day, Neymar remains one of the most lethal forwards in the game and at his age, it’s safe to assume the Brazilian has yet to reach his apex.
3 James Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
Index rating: 72.26
Raw score: 74.94 (3rd)
Goals and Assists: 17 (43)
Strongest category: Shots to goals ratio (1st), crossing (3rd), Pass completion (3rd) and goals and assists (5th)
Weakest category: Dribbling
The Colombian has become an afterthought at the Santiago Bernabeu and could be on his way this summer, but looking at his numbers, you wonder why. With the exception of dribbling, James is a near master of all trades who can be asked to occupy multiple roles and excel in them and has given Madrid that extra bit of quality when needed.
2 Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
Index rating: 73.21
Raw score: 76.15 (2nd)
Goals and Assists: 12 (21)
Strongest category: Goals and assists (2nd), Shooting accuracy (2nd), shots to goals ratio (2nd) and pass volume (3rd),
Weakest category: Forward to backward pass ratio
The second part of Bayern’s ‘Robbery’ duo to make the top five continues to steal the dignity of defenders despite being a bit part player in Bavaria these days. He doesn’t waste chances or passes, continuing to recycle his usual form despite being in his mid-30s
1 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Index rating: 82.91
Raw score: 83.89 (1st)
Goals and Assists: 106 (43)
Strongest category: Goals and assists (1st), shots to goals ratio (3rd) and dribbling (4th).
Weakest category: Crossing
Unlike his eternal rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, the Messiah’s all-round game shows little sign of slowing down, especially when you consider his stints this past season as an auxiliary central midfielder. Still the best in the world, and best ever for many, the little Argentine magician tops our ARI list once more.