At this late stage of the Dream Team campaign it’s only right we dedicate some bandwidth to the best-performing players.
Enter Jarrod Bowen (£4.8m) and James Maddison (£5.0m).
Both midfielders became double centurions at the weekend thanks to their respective double-digit hauls.
West Ham’s top scorer kept Liverpool’s hopes of a quadruple alive with a brace against Man City at the London Stadium.
Displaying lethal instincts when in behind the league leaders’ defence, Bowen twice finished past Ederson (£4.4m) to put the Hammers 2-0 up.
However, the 25-year-old’s 17th and 18th goals of the season weren’t enough to earn the hosts all three points as Pep Guardiola’s side fought back to rescue a draw – Riyad Mahrez’s (£7.1m) missed penalty may yet be a pivotal moment in the title race.
It was mostly one-way traffic after Bowen’s brace which meant he ended up being edged out of the Star Man race but 12 points was more than enough to take him past 200 for the season – he’s now on 210.
Meanwhile, with the stakes considerably lower, Leicester’s No10 enjoyed himself against a familiarly disorganised Watford outfit at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets actually took the lead after taking advantage of the Foxes’ set-piece vulnerabilities but Maddison equalised 12 minutes later and provided two further assists as Harvey Barnes (£4.1m) and Jamie Vardy (£4,3m) each scored braces to ensure a comfortable 5-1 victory for the visitors.
The ex-Norwich playmaker scooped the Star Man award when all was said and done, his ninth of the season – only Harry Kane (£7.6m) has more to his name.
Maddison’s 17-point haul propelled him to an overall tally of 205.
The aforementioned Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne (£7.6m) are the only midfield assets above Bowen and Maddison in the rankings and it looks likely to finish that way barring something special from Mason Mount (£4.9m) or Raheem Sterling (£4.6m) – the England internationals are joint-fifth among midfielders with 194 points each.
Some Dream Team gaffers make the mistake of ignoring teams outside the so-called ‘big six’ and the success of Bowen and Maddison underlines the importance of keeping an open mind.
The pair’s combined 415 points also serves as a reminder of the importance of the additional European competitions.
The Champions League is unquestionably the pinnacle of club football but there are points aplenty to be had in the Europa League and Europa Conference League if you’re smart about it.
Bowen scored three goals and provided an assist in 589 minutes of European action this term.
While Maddison banked a whopping 51 points across Leicester’s Europa League and Europa Conference League campaigns – that’s almost a quarter of his total.
More generally, the pair have succeeded as midfield assets by directly contributing to a mountain of goals.
Bowen is one of only three players to have registered 10+ goals and 10+ assists in the Premier League this season – Mount and Mohamed Salah (£7.4m) are the other two.
The Irons’ No20 has 29 goal involvements from 50 appearances in all competitions – he’s arguably been 2021/22’s breakout star.
Maddison isn’t far behind with 16 goals and 11 assists in all comps from 51 appearances, 13 of which have come as a substitute.
In a season in which midfield has proved a tricky area to master, these two have been godsends for Dream Team bosses.