With another goal on a plate for a Manchester City teammate on Wednesday, Kevin De Bruyne’s assist machine keeps spinning.
The Belgian’s precise withdrawal from the line produced a simple swing into the net for Riyad Mahrez, for City’s second of five goals against Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium.
With four Premier League games to play this season, this brings De Bruyne’s number of assists to 18, equaling his own personal best of three years ago and again placing him third in the all-time Premier League assists – in a seasonal table.
Kevin De Bruyne registered another assist on Wednesday in Man City’s win against Newcastle
De Bruyne founded Riyad Mahrez for City’s second, taking his season of assists to 18
What’s even more striking is the 29-year-old playmaker – described as the greatest passer in Premier League history Sports email columnist Chris Sutton last week – is only two behind the record set by Thierry Henry, set in the 2002-03 season when Arsenal finished second to Manchester United.
During the closing De Bruyne told The athletic that Henry’s record was certainly a motivator for him, in a season in which City gave up the Premier League title to Liverpool.
He said, “I always joked about it with Henry on the national team. I think it was at Vinny’s (Vincent Kompany’s) testimony this year – I said, “I’m here for this year.” ‘
Thierry Henry is at the top of the all-season Premier League record for assists per season
“When it happens, it happens. If not, then not. Having 16 assists (his count back then) is really fun and it speaks very well for creative players. ‘
In that record-breaking season, Arsenal striker Henry also scored 24 goals, cleaning up the Player of the Year awards.
De Bruyne – who competes in the prizes this year – has only scored 11 goals, though he plays in a much deeper position for Henry.
Henry put his total of 20 assists in the 2002-03 season when he also scored 24 goals
Elsewhere on the all-time list, second place is currently taken by Mesut Ozil, who registered 19 assists in the 2015-16 season.
That was a historic Premier League year in which the Gunners were battling for the title until the last months, when Leicester staggeredly stepped away from the field to win a shock league title.
Özil, who is currently out of favor with Mikel Arteta at the Emirates Stadium, who has not played a minute since the Premier League rebooted after the lockdown, has since struggled to reach those heights.
Playmaker Mesut Ozil ranks second on the scoreboard, scoring 19 goals in the 2015-16 season
In third place alongside De Bruyne’s twofold count of 18 are currently Cesc Fabregas and Frank Lampard, who created a plethora of goals for their teammates 10 years apart at Chelsea.
Starting with Lampard, he made 18 goals in Chelsea’s first title-winning season under Jose Mourinho in the 2004-05 season.
It was a breakthrough season for midfielder Lampard, who also scored 13 goals, including a famous league-clinching double against Bolton for the Blues’ first title in 50 years.
A decade later, Fabregas matched that of 18, also headed by Mourinho.
Frank Lampard had a great year in Chelsea’s first title-winning season with 18 assists
Ten years after Lampard, Cesc Fabregas was lead playmaker under Jose Mourinho for Chelsea
A summer acquisition of Barcelona, the Spaniard scored two goals during Chelsea’s opening weekend against Burnley and did not overlook and played a key role in another title-winning season for Chelsea.
Fabregas had a great relationship up front with Diego Costa as Chelsea stormed through the field for their fourth title in 10 years.
The Spanish World Cup winner also stands alone on 17 assists, although that was determined for Arsenal in the 2007-08 season, which eventually finished third behind Manchester United and Chelsea.
Further back in the field, Eric Cantona is on 16 assists, registered during Manchester United’s first Premier League-winning season in 1992-93, while De Bruyne is listed for the third time at 16 in City Two’s 100-point record season year ago .
In fact, two more City players are on the 15-plus list – Leroy Sane registered 15 two years ago, while David Silva also recorded the same number during City’s first title-winning season in 2011-12.
Eric Cantona scored 16 goals in the first Premier League season for Manchester United
However, all eyes are now on De Bruyne to see if he can break the benchmark all time
Other notable players on the list are David Beckham in the 1999-2000 season, ex-Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen three years ago and Steve McManaman – Liverpool’s only player on the list – in the 1995-1996 season.
But for now it is the field of De Bruyne. The Belgian, who is currently in hypnotic form, still has four chances to register at least three more assists and catch up with Henry.
And with City playing four teams in the bottom half of the table – starting with Brighton on Saturday, then Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich – De Bruyne will very much appreciate his chances of being at the top of that standings on the last day this season on July 26.