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5 things to consider as European football returns to Dream Team

This is the chaaaaaaaaaaaaaampions.

Finally the greatest show on Earth is back this week after far too long away from our screens. We’ve missed you, Europa League football. Heh.

Anyway the return of European fußball opens up a new can of Dream Team worms to consider now that Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Spurs, Man United, Arsenal and Wolves all head to the continent.

What do you need to look out for? We’ve detailed five things to observe below…


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1 Will the real Raheem Sterling please stand up?

Sterling flourished in the Champions League group stages

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Sterling flourished in the Champions League group stages

We’re halfway through February and Sterling (£7.1m) is still yet to record a point on Dream Team this year.

That’s pretty astonishing given how relentless he was in the opening months, establishing a 60-point cushion over his nearest rival at one point.

Sterling’s drastic drop in form has coincided with the lack of Champions League football, a competition he was prolific in during the group stages.

So will its return spark him back into life?

One thing we can guarantee is Man City fans’ booing of the Champions League anthem will be extra potent when they play Real Madrid next week. Booooooo.

2 Liverpool’s defence should fear nobody

Impregnable at the moment

EPA
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Impregnable at the moment

Liverpool play Atletico Madrid in their last 16 clash, with the first leg in Spain on Tuesday night.

Two years ago this fixture might send shivers down spines, but Atleti aren’t the proposition they once were under Diego Simeone.

They’ve scored just 25 goals in 24 La Liga games this season, which plays right into Liverpool’s hands considering the Reds have kept 10 clean sheets in 11 league matches.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (£4.9m) is now the fifth highest scoring player on the game, while Virgil van Dijk (£5.2m), Andy Robertson (£4.5m), Joe Gomez (£3.2m) and Alisson (£3.8m) are all on the march too.

3 Fernandes fever needs to take over

No pressure, lad

Reuters
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No pressure, lad

Never has a £65m signing faced the pressure of settling in quicker.

Bruno Fernandes (£3.4m) has been tasked with salvaging Man United’s ailing midfield and his goalscoring exploits for Sporting Lisbon suggest he should enjoy the Europa League.

But Club Brugge are no slouches and the Belgians even got a result at the Bernabeu in the Champions League earlier this season.

Then again Simon Mignolet is in goal for them, so United should really be scoring quite a few.

4 Capital gains for two of Europe’s best marksmen

Good luck, Chelsea

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Good luck, Chelsea

Chelsea and Spurs have been drawn against Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig and will duly have the unenviable challenges of keeping Robert Lewandowski and Timo Werner quiet respectively.

Lewandowski has 47 goals in 46 games for club and country this season, including 10 in 5 group stage games in the Champions League, while Werner is no slouch either on 29.

All signs point to a harrowing few games for the English clubs’ defenders, so if you own any of them we’d get rid while you still can.

5 Keep faith in the Road Runner

Catch him if you can

Reuters
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Catch him if you can

The fact only five players have more points than Adama Traore (£3.6m) this season is still tough to really digest.

No player has more Star Man awards (10) and 7+ ratings (26) as the Wolves winger continues to cheat the WhoScored ratings system.

He drew his first blank since early November against Leicester on Friday night, but even that’s only because he was limited to a cameo off the bench.

Wolves play La Liga basement side Espanyol in the Europa League, and we get the feeling Traore could really enjoy himself.

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UEFA ain't ready

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