The less said about Algeria’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign the better.
Bearing in mind that the Greens are the reigning champions of their continent, the defence of their crown could not have gone much worse as a 3-1 defeat to Ivory Coast condemned them to elimination at the first hurdle.
Djamel Belmadi’s side drew 0-0 to Sierra Leone in their opener before suffering a shock 1-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea.
As if to underline the disastrous nature of the campaign, Riyad Mahrez (£6.9m) missed a penalty in the aforementioned final group game.
The 30-year-old shoulders plenty of responsibility in international colours and he will be disappointed with his efforts having entered the tournament in such fine form.
Mahrez will now fly back to Manchester and while the football-mad population of Algeria will still be seething, Dream Team gaffers will be privately chuffed.
The ex-Leicester winger remains the top asset in his position with 137 points to his name, ten ahead of Jarrod Bowen (£4.5m) in second place.
Logically, he’s also the most-expensive midfielder at £6.9m, £0.7m dearer than team-mate Kevin De Bruyne (£6.2m).
It will be interesting to see whether Mahrez will feature for Man City this Saturday against Southampton.
Arsenal rushed Thomas Partey (£1.7m) back into action following Ghana dismal AFCON showing although Mikel Arteta may be regretting that decision as the midfielder was sent off for two bookable offences against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg after coming on as a substitute in the 74th minute.
Pep Guardiola rotates his squad no matter the circumstances so it would be a surprise if he felt compelled to hurry Mahrez back into the starting line-up, especially considering he’s only started eight of City’s 22 league games this season.
The good news is that Dream Team’s outright best midfielder will be available in early February for games against Fulham, Brentford and Norwich, three fixtures he would have missed had Algeria made it to the final of AFCON as they did in 2019.
Therefore, it would be reasonable to expect Mahrez’s current ownership of 8.3% to rise sharply once transfers are refreshed in February.
His tally of six goals and four assists in the Premier League is very respectable considering half his appearances have come as a substitute but he’s really shined in the Champions League this term.
He’s scored five goals in six European games this term, one every 103.8 minutes to be exact.
With the Champions League set to resume next month and City facing a favourable round of 16 match-up against Sporting CP, the stars seem to be aligning for Mahrez to continue his quest to finish 2021/22 as Dream Team’s premier midfield asset.