Today, we’re going to take a look at the best LaLiga wingers, wide forwards and wide midfielders, by analysing some of the key metrics. For the purposes of this post, we are referring to players who have been most frequently used this season in a wide midfield or wide attacking role by their clubs.
All data featured is via Fbref (with the exception of the Sorare rankings at the bottom). The first three sections relate to LaLiga football in the 2021/22 season so far (after 34 matchdays). Only players to have completed more than 500 minutes in LaLiga this season feature so we haven’t included anyone whose season has been seriously hampered by injury such as Ansu Fati who would certainly be a contender for the crown of LaLiga’s best winger. Any players who have featured out wide but more frequently been used centrally, may instead feature in our separate look at the best LaLiga strikers.
LaLiga Wingers & Wide Midfielders 2021/22
LaLiga Winger Stats – Creating Chances
|Assists||Expected Assists (xA)||Assists per 90||Crosses per 90||Shot-Creating Actions per 90||Goal-Creating Actions per 90|
|Ousmane Dembele||11 (1)||7.0 (2)||0.81 (1)||6.15 (1)||5.57 (3)||0.97 (1)|
|Vini Junior||9 (2)||6.7 (3)||0.33||1.74||5.63 (2)||0.83 (2)|
|Iker Muniain||9 (2)||8.3 (1)||0.33||2.64||5.64 (1)||0.74 (3)|
|Ivan Alejo||2||2.3||0.19||6.07 (2)||3.27||0.37|
|Jesus Corona||4||2.8||0.42 (2)||3.33||3.12||0.62|
|Jorge De Frutos||7||3.3||0.36 (3)||3.06||2.61||0.56|
Players who ranked amongst the top 3 wingers/wide midfielders in LaLiga for any of the above categories (and also met the 500 minute threshold) are included in the table. Shot-creating and goal-creating actions relate to the two offensive actions leading up to a shot/goal such as passes or dribbles. Note that unlike with assists or expected assists, players are credited in this metric if they create chances for themselves.
Three players absolutely stand out here as the best wide players in LaLiga 2021/22 for creating goalscoring opportunities. The most impressive stats come from Ousmane Dembele who is the top performing winger in the division in terms of assists, assists per 90, crosses per 90 and goal-creating actions per 90. He ranks in the top 3 for all six categories above and that’s primarily thanks to an electric two month period between mid February and mid April where he assisted 9 goals in LaLiga. To put that in some perspective, Karim Benzema is the only other player in the Spanish top flight to have created more than 9 goals all season!
If Ousmane Dembele has been the best LaLiga right winger this season, there can be little doubt that Vini Junior has been the best LaLiga left winger. He has combined brilliantly with Karim Benzema with the duo absolutely instrumental in Real Madrid’s title win. His tally of 9 assists is supplemented by 6 in the Champions League. Vini had only managed a total of 4 assists across all of his previous 3 campaigns in LaLiga making this a real breakout year for the talented young Brazilian.
In a weaker team, it’s also really impressive that Iker Muniain has managed to keep pace with, and in some cases better the stats of Dembele and Vini Junior. The 29 year old of course operates in a deeper wide midfield role for Athletic Club but no winger or wide midfielder in LaLiga can better his tallies for expected assists or shot-creating actions.
On the Ball
|Fouls Drawn per 90||Dribble Success Rate (%)||Players Dribbled Past per 90||Progressive Distance Carried per 90|
|Eden Hazard||4.16 (1)||80 (1)||2.08||207.5 (3)|
|Adnan Januzaj||3.53 (2)||51.9||2.69||129.9|
|Ander Barrenetxea||3.28 (3)||48.6||3.11||125.7|
|Abde Ez||2.97||61.7 (3)||4.69 (1)||194.1|
|Vini Junior||2.86||46.1||3.95 (3)||254.7 (1)|
|Samu Chukwueze||1.58||52.6||4.67 (2)||155.8|
|Ousmane Dembele||1.93||60.8||3.7||254.7 (1)|
Players who ranked amongst the top 3 wingers/wide midfielders for any of the below categories (and also met the 500 minute threshold) are included in the table. Progressive Distance carried means the number of yards a player moved while in possession of the ball towards the opposing goal.
We have a slightly wider mix of players who rank well in terms of their ability to make things happen whilst running with the ball. While it’s only a very small sample size as he has only played 688 minutes in LaLiga this term, it’s notable that Eden Hazard does still have something to offer with the Belgian topping the rankings for both fouls drawn and dribble success rate while he’s 3rd in terms of progressive distance carried.
Vini Junior and Ousmane Dembele are the wingers who comfortably lead LaLiga in that particular category but they are less dominant in terms of the other metrics. There are also some impressive numbers from Barcelona youngster Abde Ez who caught the eye with his dribbling ability early in Xavi’s reign but has found opportunities harder to come by since.
Ander Barrenetxea and Samu Chukwueze are other exciting young wingers that are blessed with real ability on the ball. However neither has had their best season with the Barrenetxea struggling with injuries at Real Sociedad while Chukwueze has been limited to just 9 starts in LaLiga with teenager Yeremi Pino emerging as Unai Emery’s preferred option in the wide right role at Villarreal.
|Goals||Goals per 90||Shots on Target %||Goals per Shot||np:G-xG|
|Juanmi||14 (1)||0.68 (1)||56.5 (3)||0.3 (1)||+4.6 (1)|
|Vini Junior||14 (1)||0.51||51.4||0.19||+2.8|
|Marco Asensio||10 (3)||0.58 (2)||47.4||0.18||+3.2 (2)|
|Hugo Duro||7||0.36||48.3||0.24 (3)||+3.2 (2)|
|Erik Lamela||5||0.52 (3)||57.1 (2)||0.24 (3)||+2.3|
|Yeremi Pino||6||0.32||57.7 (1)||0.23||-0.2|
Players with 7+ goals in LaLiga 2021/22 so far are included in the table, in addition to any striker who ranked in the top 3 for any of the other categories. np:G-xG means Non Penalty Goals minus Non Penalty Expected Goals, with a positive score suggesting above average finishing.
In terms of the most clinical wide players in front of goal this season, Juanmi has been the cream of the crop with 14 goals for Real Betis. Few could have seriously predicted that would be the case with the 28 year old having only managed 3 goals in total across the previous 2 seasons in LaLiga but he has really caught fire this term and leads the league’s wingers and wide forwards in terms of Goals per 90, Goals per Shot and np:G-xG.
Vini Junior has also bagged 14 goals in LaLiga. While his efficiency in front of goal isn’t as high as some players, it has improved significantly this term with his np:G-xG tally suggesting his inability to finish chances is no longer a major flaw to his game and it’ll be interesting to see whether he can continue to get better on that front or at least maintain the standard set this term.
Marco Asensio, Erik Lamela and Hugo Duro also rank in the top three in more than one category, suggesting they’ve been very effective in front of goal this season, although like many of the players featured in this section, their creative figures aren’t quite so impressive.
Who is the best winger in LaLiga? – Sorare Ratings
The Sorare scoring matrix takes into account a large range of different metrics in giving every player a total score out of 100 in each game they play. The all round score is more focused on smaller individual actions such as successful passes, dribbles, aerial challenges and more. The overall score is more heavily weighted towards those that regularly score and create goals. L15 relates to the last 15 matches and L40 the last 40 that the player has been eligible for. This comes via Soraredata and in this case includes matches in other competitions as well as LaLiga. Again the top 3 wingers/wide midfielders in each metric are featured in the table providing they appeared in at least 50% of their team’s games during the time period.
This data helps us get a better look at who is having the biggest overall impact from wide attacking areas in LaLiga. Iker Muniain and Vini Junior are the two that stand out the most with the former ranking 1st or 2nd in every metric while the latter has posted the highest overall scores on average this season. Given they play very different roles, it’s perhaps fair to say Vinicius Junior has been the best winger in LaLiga over the course of the season while Iker Muniain has been the standout wide midfielder.
Sergio Canales also features and it’s perhaps a bit surprising that he doesn’t rank in some of the other sections too. The 31 year old has been a very impressive all-round performer over a number of seasons for Betis and while he does also frequently feature in a central role, he has more often been used in an attacking right sided midfield position this term with Nabil Fekir selected centrally.
Mikel Oyarzabal is also worth a mention. The Real Sociedad man has unfortunately been struck down by an ACL injury which may rule him out for most of 2022. However he has been one of the most consistent wide players in LaLiga over the past few years and certainly deserves to be in the conversation.
Read More: LaLiga’s best goalkeepers