Brewing creativity: Ranking the top playmakers of Hero ISL 2022-23
While attackers stole the limelight with their goals and goalkeepers grabbed the headlines for their mind-numbing saves, playmakers effortlessly and consistently kept toiling hard in the background throughout the Hero ISL 2022-23 season.
The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season was filled with a plethora of goals, splendid attacking moments, defensive finesse, along with a caress of creativity.
While attackers stole the limelight with their goals and goalkeepers grabbed the headlines for their mind-numbing saves, playmakers effortlessly and consistently kept toiling hard in the background throughout the 2022-23 season.
Right from building up the play from the back, progressing the game upwards, and getting through a myriad of players in the middle, playmakers possess the extraordinary ability to craft magic through their feet. Be it a deft body feint that leaves room for a shot or an unerring pass, they are known to have that knack of heightened vision which creates a element of unpredictibility.
Over the years, the Hero ISL has produced some noteworthy playmakers who have shone on the biggest of stages and have been on top of chance creation. On that note, we take a look at five players who created the most number of chances in the Hero ISL 2022-23 season.
1. Dimitri Petratos (ATK Mohun Bagan) - 61 chances in 23 games
A debut season like no other, Dimitri Petratos filled in the missing boots of Roy Krishna and David Williams with his own charm and style. The Australian is placed at the top of the pyramid with 61 chances in 23 games. Despite being a striker, Petratos played a dynamic role and had an excellent link-up play with his teammates, particularly with Hugo Boumous. His versatile skillset brought him in the top-five list for goals, assists, and chances created among all players this season.
Netting a whopping 12 goals (joint-most in the league) and providing seven assists, the 30-year-old topped the leaderboard for goals, assists, and chances created for his team, proving to be an all-round attacker for ATK Mohun Bagan this season. In his first-ever Hero ISL campaign, the forward proved to be the signing of the season as he broke into the club’s all-time stats for goals and chances created, ranking third in both metrics.
2. Greg Stewart (Mumbai City FC) - 55 chances created in 20 games
Last season’s Hero of the League, Stewart continued his upward trajectory after a switch to Mumbai City FC ahead of the 2022-23 season. The Scotsman thrived under head coach Des Buckingham and was the chief orchestrator in the middle of the park. Registering 55 chances, providing eight assists, and netting seven goals, the Islanders have highly benefited from his presence in the midfield.
The playmaker played a variety of roles and was not limited to a certain position. Having been given a free hand by Buckingham, Stewart’s vision coupled with Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Lallianzuala Chhangte, and Bipin Singh’s attacking prowess proved to be a nightmare for every team that faced the side. Acting as the captain, the 32-year-old steered the Islanders’ ship towards the shore of unmatchable records and a second Hero ISL League Shield.
=3. Hugo Boumous (ATK Mohun Bagan) - 48 chances in 20 games
Hugo Boumous has gotten better and better ever since joining ATK Mohun Bagan ahead of the 2021-22 season. A proven playmaker across several teams, Boumous continued to weave his magic with his ability to take on defenders, run wide and find extra spaces. Working in tandem with Petratos to create, supply, and score goals, the two wrecked havoc together.
In each game of the Hero ISL 2022-23 where ATK Mohun Bagan scored a goal, either Dimitri Petratos or Hugo Boumous had a goal contribution. Such was their impact on the team that led them to winning the Hero ISL 2022-23 title.
=3. Adrian Luna (Kerala Blasters FC) - 48 chances in 20 games
Level on chances with Boumous, Adrian Luna is a name not to be missed when chance creation is the conversation. A tireless warrior on the pitch, Luna was the mastermind behind the Blasters’ attack. Possessing an exceptional positional awareness coupled with his silky smooth dribbling ability, Luna is a step ahead compared to his teammates when he has the ball on his feet.
With his six assists and 48 chances this season, the Uruguayan became the club’s all-time leading assists provider and chance creator, amassing 13 assists and 105 chances. Playing with a heart on his sleeve, he is the first name on the teamsheet in the Blasters’ squad and is the chief operator under head coach Ivan Vukomanovic.
5. Javi Hernandez (Bengaluru FC) - 42 chances in 22 games
Javi Hernandez has been a showpiece for his new side Bengaluru FC. A proper risk taker who fearlessly and coolly takes on players, Hernandez has been a consistent performer for his side. A brilliant passer of the ball with a distinct vision of controlling the tempo of the game, what sets Javi apart from most other midfielders his intelligence in reading the game.
Be it with the ball or without it, Javi has been the guiding force for a Bengaluru FC side that reached the Hero ISL final and the Hero Super Cup final. In his first season at the club, the Spaniard registered seven goals, provided five assists, and created 42 chances, and topped the club charts for the same metrics.