Let’s get a couple of things of straight.
The manner of Philippe Coutinho’s (£3m) return to the Premier League last season was highly impressive.
Having hardly kicked a ball for Barcelona in 2021/22, he reunited with Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa in January and made an immediate positive impact.
It would have been perfectly reasonable if the Brazilian needed some time to readjust to the world’s most-watched league but instead he scored 14 minutes into his debut for the Villains, against Man United no less.
This sparked a hot streak that resulted in four goals and three assists from the 30-year-old’s first eight games for his new club – not to mention 46 points at a superb average of 5.75 per outing.
No doubt it’s this purple patch that nearly 17% of Dream Team gaffers had in mind when they selected Coutinho in their XI ahead of the 2022/23 season.
However, it’s worth noting that the ex-Liverpool midfielder scored just one goal in his final 11 appearances of the campaign last time out.
That fallow run only included two 7+ ratings, meaning he averaged one point-per-game from mid-March until the final day.
The simple fact is, once the honeymoon period was over, Coutinho’s returns dropped off a cliff along with his viability.
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Of course, there’s no telling what kind of form he will take into the new term but a missed penalty against Leeds in pre-season could be viewed as a foreboding omen.
One of the reasons Coutinho is so popular among Dream Team managers at this stage is his enticing price.
At £3m he may well be worth a roll of the dice but whether he merits his current status as the sixth-most most-selected player in his position is questionable.
Other midfielders at the same price include: Jadon Sancho, Pedro Neto, Jack Harrison, Martin Odegaard, Said Benrahma and Christian Eriksen.
In Coutinho’s defence, he has the luxury of a relatively favourable start to the new season fixture-wise in the form of Bournemouth, Everton and Crystal Palace.
In fact, had he finished stronger in 2021/22 he would be a very savvy selection but his two-month dry spell is difficult to disregard completely.
We’d be happy for him to prove us wrong!