This weekend served up an exquisite double dose of football action to get Dream Team gaffers’ juices flowing ahead of the new season.
England’s Lionesses beat Germany to become champions of Europe in a glorious night at Wembley which followed on from Saturday’s amuse-bouche at the King Power Stadium where Liverpool defeated Man City to claim the Community Shield.
Our focus is one the latter for the next minute or so as it allowed us to get a closer look at some of the most popular Dream Team assets ahead of the new campaign – remember to submit a team before Crystal Palace vs Arsenal kicks off on Friday night!
Here’s three lessons Dream Team bosses learned from Saturday’s showdown…
1 Erling Haaland (£7m) may not be a guaranteed points machine
For most this was the first glimpse of the highly-rated Norwegian in Man City colours and many have chosen to focus on the chances he missed.
The 22-year-old has averaged roughly a goal per game over the last three years but he failed to get on the scoresheet in Leicester despite some gilt-edged opportunities.
First Bernardo Silva (£4.5m) found City’s No9 unmarked in the six-yard box but Haaland was unable to contort himself in such a way to allow for proper connection.
This moment came mere seconds after he had shot straight at Adrian from close range after exhibiting his physicality by shrugging off Andy Robertson (£5.5m).
To top it all off, the Leeds-born striker clattered the bar from a follow-up late on when it looked easier to score than to miss.
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When all was said and done, Haaland accumulated 1.6 expected goals but bagged zero to leave Dream Team gaffers conflicted.
On the one hand, if City are able to generate these chances for their new centre-forward against Virgil van Dijk (£6m) and company then surely he’ll have plenty to feast upon throughout the season against weaker opposition.
On the other hand, spurning golden chances can knock a player’s confidence and there’s no doubt he looked like a jigsaw piece from the wrong the puzzle in his first semi-proper outing for his new club.
It’s worth noting that Haaland is still Dream Team’s most-popular player ahead of the new season but his ownership has dropped from over 67% to 60% after Saturday’s contest.
2 Darwin Nunez (£5m) may be worth a whirl
In contrast to Haaland, Liverpool’s new No9 came away from the Community Shield with his reputation enhanced.
The Uruguayan didn’t start the game but he looked every part a Jurgen Klopp forward when he was introduced – sprinting through the middle time and time again to keep City’s centre-backs honest.
Ederson’s (£4.5m) face denied Nunez a goal in a one-on-one situation but the latter made his mark in the end with a stooping header from close range to confirm victory for the Reds in stoppage-time.
Rival fans had their fun during pre-season as the former Benfica man exhibited some rustiness during friendlies but his showing on Saturday suggests Liverpool may have the last laugh once again.
The 23-year-old is enticingly priced at £5m prior to Game Week 1 as he sits a bracket below the likes of Son Heung-min (£6.5m), Haaland, Harry Kane (£7.5m) and Mohamed Salah (£7.5m).
If Nunez is to be Liverpool’s first-choice striker and a lively customer then he could offer incredible value for money.
3 Liverpool’s full-backs remains kings in their field
This isn’t a new lesson but revision of an old one.
If anyone was in any doubt as to whether Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£6.5m) are worthy of their price tags in the realm of Dream Team then that should have been put to bed this weekend.
The former assisted Nunez’s late goal having taken up a trademark position at the back post, though he used his head instead of his left foot to put it on a plate.
And the England international started off proceedings with a swept finish into the far corner (with a little help from Ake’s forehead) to cement his status as king of attacking returns among defenders.
Last season, Anfield’s homegrown right-back fell just short of a triple century of points (298) – a remarkable tally from an asset in his position.
If Saturday’s clash is anything to go, Dream Team bosses can expect more of the same in 2022/23 from two of the most consistently brilliant players in the game.