The Taco Bell Skills Challenge is the place to be, when you want to watch the League’s best ball handlers and passers go head to head in a display of dribbling, passing and finishing (so.. skills, basically). It used to be an avenue for the League’s best Point Guards to go up against each other, with the opportunity to stake their claims as the best of the lot, in all three categories. In its current format; it pits some of the League’s best ball-handling big men against the aforementioned Point Guards, and it makes for some really interesting viewing.
Again, for the people who have no idea what this all means, we’ll try to put it in simple(r) football terms.
Tu parle football?
Think of it as a competition for the most skillful players in your favourite football Leagues (luckily, the term “skill” translates directly from one Sport to the other). It would look exactly like a combination of the skill challenges that you get the option to play, while waiting for your FIFA match to start.
The ELVN F.C. Skills Challenge:
For our version of the Skills Challenge, we’d simply assemble some of England and Europe’s most skillful players, have them square off against each other, in pairs, while traversing a course of carefully selected obstacles, testing their dribbling, passing and finishing abilities, before declaring the last (and fastest) man standing, our winner.
The obstacle courses will most likely include:
Contestants would be selected based on their offensive stats, a combination of two or more of their
- key passes per game,
- dribbles per game, and
- pass success numbers.
…depending on whichever ones they’re ranked the highest in. We’ll have 4 contestants representing the English Premier League, and 4 of them representing Europe’s other top Leagues, and you get to vote in the final poll, for which one of the candidates you’d consider to be the most “skillful”.
EPL Skills Challenge Representatives:
Eden Hazard (Chelsea):
The Chelsea man has some of the best ball-control in the League, and should be expected to thrive in such a competition. His stats speak for themselves, as well. In the English Premier League, he ranks 2nd in number of Dribbles completed per game (4.6), behind only Adama Traore of Middlesbrough. His 2 Key Passes per game also put him in the League’s top 10, for that category, and, last but not least, he has contributed 3 assists to Chelsea’s cause, so far, this season, with 83.9% of his passes completed, per game.
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City):
The Premier League leader in assists (ahead of the pack with 9, in total) plays in a midfield packed with attacking talent, and yet, he still manages to stand out as one of the major creative forces, with supreme skill and vision. He completes a respectable 1.2 of his 1.9 attempted Dribbles per game, and his 2.9 Key Passes made per game, is now the highest mark in the League (after the winter departure of a certain Frenchman).
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal):
The Chilean has a “Jack of all trades” approach that always means he’s there or thereabouts, regardless of what the conversation is. Even though he’s leading the League’s goal-scoring charts, he also ranks 2nd in assists (just one assist behind KDB), he also ranks in the top 6 for both Key Passes and Dribbles completed per game, with 2.5 and 2.9, respectively. A man with a finger in every pie (his team would do well to wrap up those contract talks, as soon as possible).
Mousa Dembele (Tottenham):
He has no goals or assists, this season, and plays just about 0.9 Key Passes per game, but Mousa Dembele is arguably the EPL’s most efficient representative on this list. While most of the League’s most successful dribblers play out wide, where they’ve got ample space to beat their men, he often plays in the middle of the park, where it’s a lot more crowded, and yet, his 3.2 completed Dribbles (5th in the League) come from only 3.8 attempts per game, meaning that he succeeds on about 84% of his attempts, that’s nuts. And, if that wasn’t enough, his pass completion rate currently stands at an otherworldly 91.6% (while attempting 54.1 passes per game, in central midfield). He might not get his praises sung as often as some of his other teammates, but, boy, do they deserve to be sung.
Now, we’ll move on to Europe’s Skill Challenge representatives, on the next page.