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IRON MAN

Aaron Cresswell now replicating the form that made him a Dream Team cult hero last season

Last season, Aaron Cresswell (£3.9m) and Vladimir Coufal (£2.9m) registered more Premier League assists than Trent Alexander-Arnold (£6.5m) and Andy Robertson (£4.5m).

That stat tells us two things.

Firstly, Liverpool’s full-back pair were not up to their usual sky-high standards last term.

Secondly, the West Ham duo played out of their skin.

Andy Robertson sleeps in Aaron Cresswell pajamas

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Andy Robertson sleeps in Aaron Cresswell pajamas

Cresswell and Coufal provided 15 assists in the league last season with the former contributing eight.

Such was the form of the experienced left-back, there was a perceptible degree of clamour for him to be included in England’s Euro 2020 squad.

And perhaps he would have made the cut had he not been up against Champions League winner Ben Chilwell (£5.0m) and an in-form Luke Shaw (£2.4m), who ended up being one of the Three Lions’ best players at the tournament.

More importantly, Cresswell established himself as a Dream Team cult hero as his attacking output allowed him to mix with it some top-tier assets for a while.

Ultimately, a reduced schedule (no European games being the big factor) meant the 32-year-old fell away but there were certainly spells when he was worthy of a spot in a successful XI.

And judging by his recent returns, he may well be a smart differential option once again this season.

Back once again for the renegade master

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Back once again for the renegade master

Having taken ten points off Kidderminster Harriers as a second-half substitute, despite the Hammers failing to keep a clean sheet, and eight points off Watford, no defender has banked more points this Game Week than Cresswell at this stage.

An 18-point Game Week haul has taken him to the brink of the top ten defenders overall.

With 94 points to his name, he’s overtaken the likes of Max Kilman (£3.8m), Ben White (£4.0m) and Ruben Dias (£4.2m) in recent weeks.

This is remarkable considering he didn’t feature in ten consecutive games between Game Weeks 14 and 19.

In fact, Cresswell averages 4.1 points-per-game, the same as Antonio Rudiger (£4.7m) and Joel Matip (£3.8m).

29 points in five games since his return to David Moyes’ starting line-up will have raised the eyebrows of Dream Team gaffers countrywide.

Cresswell assisted Jarrod Bowen’s late winner against Kidderminster

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Cresswell assisted Jarrod Bowen’s late winner against Kidderminster

However, some Dream Team bosses may be put off by West Ham’s defensive record.

The eastenders have been potent in attack, only Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City have scored more league goals in 2021/22, but they’ve conceded 31 goals in their 24 Prem fixtures.

In terms of clean sheets, it’s still the top three teams and Wolves who top the charts.

The imminent resumption of the Europa League may provide ample compensation – Cresswell has provided three assists in four European fixtures this season, half his tally across all competitions.

Generally, it seems wise to focus on City and Liverpool (and Chelsea once their Club World Cup jaunt is complete) in defence but their best assets come at a hefty price.

3%-owned Cresswell has emerged as a differential option to consider at the very least.