Brighton fans would have been quick to notice that Graham Potter’s Chelsea, with their seemingly endless supply of cash for new transfers, are currently three places below the Seagulls in the table.
Roberto De Zerbi’s first game as a manager on English shores was the enthralling 3-3 draw with Liverpool back in October, in which Leandro Trossard (£4.3m) scored a hat-trick.
It’s a measure of the Italian’s progression on the south coast that his most recent game was the reverse fixture with Brighton beating Jurgen Klopp’s side 3-0 on Saturday – and the Belgium international who ran riot at Anfield was nowhere to be seen having fallen out with De Zerbi.
Instead, it was Solly March (£2.3m) who played the role of Liverpool’s tormentor.
Whereas Trossard evidently doesn’t see eye to eye with the ex-Sassuolo tactician, Brighton’s No7 is thriving under the new regime.
March scored two goals in the space of six minutes at the start of the second half to put his side firmly in the ascendancy against Liverpool before providing the assist for Danny Welbeck’s (£2.8m) cherry-on-top.
The 28-year-old’s performance continues a rare purple patch in terms of attacking returns – he’s now registered four goals and three assists in his last five games.
And from a Dream Team perspective, this fruitful run has also produced three Star Man awards.
All things considered, March has added 52 points to his tally over the last four Game Weeks, making him one of the most in-form players since the restart.
Bearing in mind he mustered just 17 points from the first 14 Game Weeks of the season, this dramatic uplift has caught Dream Team gaffers unaware.
At the time of writing, March appears in just 0.5% of teams but his ownership will surely rise after his eye-catching 20-point haul against Liverpool.
March has fulfilled several different roles during his decade on the south coast but Premier League viewers will have seen him play predominantly as a left wing-back under Potter.
Right now, De Zerbi is deploying him as a right winger with unexpectedly profitable results.
More broadly, De Zerbi deserves huge credit for answering the one criticism of Brighton in recent years.
Potter’s reign on the south coast was mightily impressive but supporters were often frustrated at their team’s inability to convert possession and territory into goals.
Under De Zerbi, Brighton are averaging 2.13 goals per game – that figure increases to 2.83 when considering just the games since the conclusion of the World Cup.
Sure, they don’t keep as many clean sheets as they used to but they’re bold and dynamic.
More importantly, the Seagulls continue to punch above their weight in the league table – they’re currently one point behind sixth-placed Fulham with two games in hand.
Just a few weeks ago it would have been unthinkable that De Zerbi could discard a player of Trossard’s ability and not see negative repercussions on the pitch but the performances and the results speak for themselves.
If the players continue to share the coach’s vision and play to his instructions as closely as March is currently then the club will have a great chance of qualifying for European football for the first time in their history.
Dream Team bosses would do well to take note of March’s returns at the very least, he’s comfortably the cheapest asset currently residing within the top 20 midfielders.