The less said about Algeria’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign the better.
Riyad Mahrez (£6.9m) and company surprisingly crashed out after a disastrous group stage that culminated in a 3-1 defeat to Ivory Coast during which the 30-year-old missed a penalty.
The ill-fated trip to Cameroon gave Mahrez’s the Premier League’s midfielders a chance to usurp him as Dream Team’s best-performing midfielder this season.
Jarrod Bowen (£4.4m) made the best effort and closed the gap but West Ham’s No20 was still ten points shy of the Algerian prior to Game Week 23.
As an almost deliberate act of dominance reassertion, the Man City winger banked 15 points, the joint-best haul of any midfielder at the weekend, and became the first asset in his position to go past the 150-point mark.
Despite his miss in international colours, Mahrez resumed his duties as first-choice penalty-taker for Pep Guardiola’s side against Fulham of Saturday.
He converted from 12 yards after Jack Grealish (£4.0m) was fouled at the end of a mesmeric dribble.
Four minutes later he scored City’s fourth and final goal of the day when Kevin De Bruyne (£6.4m) unselfishly squared the ball when in behind the Cottagers’ defence.
Add in an assist for Ilkay Gundogan’s (£4.7m) equaliser plus a 7+ rating and Mahrez’s return to Dream Team was emphatic.
And yet the ex-Leicester winger’s success this term remains partially curious.
Obviously his ability is beyond question at this stage but he’s still only started eight of City’s 23 league games this season.
Mahrez has excelled in the additional competitions, with five goals in the Champions League and two each in both domestic cups.
Still, it’s very unusual for a player with just eight league starts to be the outright best player in his position after nearly 24 Game Weeks.
And that’s the main reason his ownership has remained relatively modest compared to his returns throughout 2021/22.
Right now it’s down at 8.2% but that’s largely because of AFCON – although it wasn’t that much higher six weeks ago.
With the Champions League set to resume this month – City have a favourable tie against Sporting CP – Dream Team bosses may feel as if they can stomach reduced league minutes if it means handsome rewards elsewhere.
So far this season, Mahrez has proven that he doesn’t need to be on the pitch all that often, he racks up huge points anyway.