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BLUE BLOOD

Reece James performed a Dream Team miracle last season – what can he achieve in 2022/23?

At the risk of being dramatic, Reece James (£5.5m) performed a Dream Team miracle last season.

Chelsea’s rampaging right-back somehow managed to amass 209 points in 2021/22 despite the fact he missed 19 games through injury.


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Dream Team’s resident miracle man

getty/Dream Team
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Dream Team’s resident miracle man

The 22-year-old was out for two months with a hamstring injury between late December and late February as well as suffering subsequent setbacks in March and April.

Registering a double century of Dream Team points is rare for a defender even without such a significant lay-off.

Last season, Joel Matip (£5m), Andy Robertson (£5.5m), Virgil van Dijk (£6m), Joao Cancelo (£6.5m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£6.5m) were the only others defenders to reach the landmark.

Of those names, Matip was the only one not to play at least 4,000 minutes in all competitions – James played 2,864 minutes.

The Cobham graduate averaged the same points-per-game (5.4) as Cancelo, who was the fourth-best performer among all assets.

16 players achieved 200+ points last term and so for James to be among that elite group despite missing so many games is genuinely remarkable.

So how did the England international do it?

A points machine (when fit)

getty
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A points machine (when fit)

When fit, James rivalled Alexander-Arnold for attacking output – he scored five goals and provided nine assists 26 Premier League appearances.

That breaks down further to a goal involvement every 133.2 minutes – a stat that puts plenty of widely-respected forwards to shame!

Add in a goal in the Champions League and an assist in the Carabao Cup and it’s no wonder the Stamford Bridge faithful rate him so highly.

And naturally, as a defender, he benefits from any clean sheets he contributes at a rate of five points a pop.

The Blues may have tailed off in the league after a strong first third but generally speaking their defence has been resolute since Tuchel’s appointment as Frank Lampard’s replacement.

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The emergence of superstar full-backs has arguably been the most influential change in Dream Team over the last five years.

If James can avoid serious setbacks this coming season – cue Chelsea fans touching wood – then he could Alexander-Arnold and Cancelo in the race to 300 points.

At £5.5m he’s £1m cheaper than the Liverpool and Man City stars and he’s set to face Everton (16th last season), Leeds (17th) and Southampton (15th) in August.


PLAY DREAM TEAM NOW – £100,000 IN PRIZE MONEY UP FOR GRABS!