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CANCELO CULTURE

Joao Cancelo has now earned the most points through 7+ ratings this season

Man City were made to earn their place in the Champions League semi-finals the hard way last night.

Atletico Madrid engaged ultra aggressive mode as they attempted to bully Pep Guardiola’s side in front of their partisan home support.

However, the English champions resisted admirably and even gave the hosts a taste of their own medicine by dabbling in some sh*thousing antics to get over the line.

Given all the pantomime of the second half, it was easy to forget the game finished 0-0 and was therefore a profitable one for City defenders in terms of Dream Team points.

Joao Cancelo (£7.7m) earned seven points on the night (11 for the Game Week) to move within one of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m) at the top of the defensive rankings.

Class act

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Class act

The Portuguese full-back would have drawn level with Anfield’s homegrown hero had he not picked up a yellow card at the Wanda Metropolitano – plenty of players joined him in the referee’s book.

While Cancelo fell short of overtaking one Liverpool star in a certain metric, he succeeded in overhauling another elsewhere.

The 27-year-old achieved a match rating of 7.45 in the Spanish capital on Wednesday night, his 32nd rating of 7+ this season.

In doing so, he moved clear of Mohamed Salah (£7.7m) to become the asset who has earned most points through match ratings in 2021/22.

Goals, clean sheets and Star Man awards remain the greatest sources of returns but some Dream Team gaffers are guilty of overlooking the value of players who consistently achieve 7+ ratings.

For example, Cancelo has banked 96 points through ratings alone this term, which is more than Emile Smith Rowe (£3.4m) has mustered overall – and the Arsenal youngster has scored ten goals in all competitions!

Player of the Year nominee?

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Player of the Year nominee?

38.7% of the Portugal international’s points have come from 7+ ratings – a reflection of his considerable influence on City’s play – and he’s only missed out on bonus points ten times.

After Cancelo and Salah is Virgil van Dijk (£7.0m), who has earned 30 7+ ratings, then Alexander-Arnold (27 7+ ratings), with Rodri (£3.6m) completing the top five having been rated 7+ in 26 fixtures so far this season.

It remains to be seen whether Cancelo or Alexander-Arnold will finish as Dream Team’s best defender of 2021/22 but if the former edges out the latter it’ll likely be because of his incredible consistency.