AT THE start of the season, you would have struggled to have found anyone who would have correctly predicted the current leader of the Premier League assist charts.

Many would have been drawn to the plethora of options at Manchester City's disposal, who toyed with Cherries on Saturday, or one of Liverpool's dynamite front three who visit Vitality Stadium this weekend. Precision passers Christian Eriksen and Mesut Ozil offered justified bets.

Ryan Fraser was unlikely to be the name on anyone's lips.

However, when the Scotsman provided a teasing free-kick for Callum Wilson to head home on Tuesday, he stood alone as the top provider in the Premier League this season.

To have predicted this scintillating start from the 24-year-old would have required mystic foresight.

Before his 15 appearances in the top flight this campaign, Fraser had scored eight goals and set up eight in 54 games.

Now he has created as many goals as Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric did during his spell with Tottenham and the Cherries star has played 58 fewer matches.

Fraser’s improvement in the Dorset club’s fourth season in the Premier League has been significant. But what sparked this change?

The former Aberdeen ace joined Cherries in 2013 with bundles of potential and a top attitude to match.

Eddie Howe watched him for a year before £300,000 was spent on prising away the Scot from his hometown club.

A transformation is clear to see when comparing the 18-year-old who moved 600 miles to the south coast with the explosive goal threat who terrorises Premier League defences.

But it was not a straight road to success for Fraser.

While he featured 21 times in Cherries' Championship-winning season, his opportunity in the top flight was put on hold.

Loaned out to Ipswich for the 2015-16 campaign, he progressed despite injury problems and returned to Dorset with something to prove.

Fraser made his mark in only his sixth Premier League appearance when, after coming on as a substitute, he inspired the remarkable turnaround against Liverpool in 2016 with a goal and two assists.

However after the match, he told the Daily Echo he still needed to "bulk out".

The rewards of this gradual process are now on show in his third Premier League season.

Fraser stood up to the physical test posed by Cardiff on the opening day with broader shoulders to compliment his blistering pace. And the weight room is not the only place where he sought to kick on.

Junior Stanislas's absence handed Fraser the opportunity to highlight his set-piece skills. And three of the Aberdonian's seven assists have come from his improved dead-ball delivery.

His four other offerings, for Adam Smith against Leicester, David Brooks against Fulham and Wilson against Watford and Fulham, showcased an ability to split defences.

Viewing the blossoming Fraser as just a speedy wide man is naive and disrespectful given his end product.

He has played a key role in Cherries' potent front four, which perhaps only Howe could see back in August.