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Serie A: Who will be the 2024 Assist King? 

The goal scorers grab the headlines but, as Lautaro Martinez, Ciro Immobile and all the great Serie A hitmen know, on almost every occasion a great goal needs an assist.

It doesn’t have to be that killer through ball or the pinpoint cross; it can be a knock down or a simple tee-up, but if the assist is off line the net doesn’t bulge. So, here at SBOTOP, we’ve been taking a look at the men who have made the goals and we’re going to try to pick who will be the Assist King come May.      

The current table of top assist makers sees two AC Milan players at the summit and both of them are goal scorers too, particularly France striker Olivier Giroud who is Les Bleus top scorer of all time with 57 goals for his nation, and the 37 year old has scored 36 in 89 games for I Rossoneri. This season Giroud is banging them in again and, with 12 goals he is in third place for the race for the Capocannoniere but he has also made eight assists.

He’s a hard working forward, a real team man and Giroud’s physical strength and aerial skills provide the flick-ons and knock downs that give the fast runners and the sharp shooters their golden opportunities.

Alongside Giroud, Milan have another arch assist maker in 24 year old Portugal star Rafael Leao who scored one goal and made an assist for Ruben Loftus Cheek in Milan’s 2-1 win over Fiorentina at the weekend. That took Leao up to eight assists for the campaign and the competition in the Milan dressing room is becoming intense, with Christian Pulisic not far behind on six assists. Like the 6ft 4in Giroud, Leao has plenty of height at 6ft 2in, but while the Frenchman relies on his supreme timing and touch, Leao has dynamic pace, incredible dribbling skills and an equally good eye for goal.

AC Milan's Rafael Leaoa leads the top assists list this Serie A season
AC Milan’s Rafael Leaoa celebrates after scoring a goal during Serie A match against AS Roma

While Milan have taken a stranglehold on second place the Serie A 2024 betting odds have pretty much handed the Scudetto to Simone Inzaghi’s Inter Milan who have the firepower to blow any top flight team away. Top scorer Martinez, with 23 goals is eight ahead of Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic and he has a very strong hand on the Capocannoniere, while France forward Marcus Thuram has had a superb first season in Serie A since his summer switch from Borussia Monchengladbach. Thuram has scored ten goals in 28 games and he has made seven assists. He’s been a little quiet over the past couple of weeks, without a contribution over the past three matches, but Thuram is a good outside bet to oust the Rossoneri two.

And if Thuram can’t out assist Giroud and Leao then maybe creative midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan can. The 35 year old Armenian star has hit a purple patch this season and he too has provided plenty of ammunition for Martinez, with seven assists. Mkhitaryan is a clever player, able to thread a ball through the smallest space and he can create a goal from nothing. He’s a delight to watch and the former Roma star is key part of the Nerazzurri’s attacking unit.

Roma’s Serie A 2024 results have picked up since the arrival of Daniele de Rossi as head coach and I Giallorossi are in with a shout of sneaking into the top four. And Argentine striker Paulo Dybala has been a chief beneficiary of the change in management. At 30 years of age Dybala is in his prime and he is still in Argentina’s main group of strikers, helping them to a World Cup win in 2022. Dybala has everything a striker needs in his locker, speed, skill, accuracy and his link up play makes him a great team player too. This season he has scored 12 goals, level with Giroud, and made seven assists, one behind the French star and Dybala is enjoying his football more than he has for some time, and that is great news for Roma.                

The Old Lady has struggled in recent weeks, dogged by injuries and patchy form and a run of just one win in six league games has left Juventus with work to do to cement their top four place. Currently in third position they have a seven point cushion over Roma but De Rossi’s team is on a charge and nothing is settled yet. USA star Weston McKennie has been a bright light in Turin, making seven assists on his return from a loan spell at Leeds United. He didn’t start in Juventus’ 1-0 loss to Lazio at the weekend but I suspect he’ll get plenty of game time in the run-in and, if he hits form, McKennie could easily rise to the top of the assist league.

So that is the top group as we stand but, as well as Pulisic, keep an eye out for Lazio’s Felipe Anderson and Atalanta’s Charles de Ketelaere who have both made six assists. It’s a close race and we could easily have a three or four way tie.

If I have to make a choice…I’ll go for Leao!


 

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