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5 players who have pleasantly surprised Dream Team managers this season

Erling Haaland (£9.3m), Mohamed Salah (£8.7m) and Harry Kane (£8.1m) have all provided shed-loads of points in Dream Team this season but their success is almost taken for granted.

The true joy of fantasy football comes when you identify a player with a relatively low profile who then rewards you with healthy returns for little investment.

Here we’ve listed five assets who have pleasantly surprised gaffers in 2022/23.

Gabriel Martinelli (£3.9m)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal points to his club badge as he celebrates the opening goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on March 19, 2023 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Soon-to-be Premier League champion?

Arsenal are unquestionably the most improved side from last season having gone from missing out on the top four to (dare we say) champions elect.

One of the reasons for the Gunners’ significant upturn is the collective blossoming of their exciting young talent, of which Martinelli is a prominent member.

There has always been plenty of excitement around the Brazilian but at the start of the campaign the general feeling was that he would continue to develop steadily while sharing minutes with others in his position.

In reality, he’s established himself as a first team regular and key contributor with 13 invaluable league goals to his name with ten fixtures remaining.

In fact, only four players have scored more Premier League goals this term – no wonder he’s sitting pretty on 136 points.

Fabian Schar (£3.6m)

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Fabian Schar of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St. James Park on March 12, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

A few tough weeks haven’t undone all his fantastic work

It would be remiss if we didn’t start by highlighting the Swiss centre-back’s lean spell of late.

The clean sheets have dried up for Newcastle recently and as a result Schar has mustered just two points in his last eight outings.

However, in the context of the entire campaign, he’s punched well above his weight.

Eddie Howe’s side still boast the best defensive record in the top flight and at one point their first-choice back four held the top four positions among defenders in the Dream Team rankings.

Even now, after a wobble, Schar is fifth in his position and only two points off Luke Shaw (£4.6m) in second.

This is the 31-year-old’s fifth Dream Team campaign and by far his very best.

Kaoru Mitoma (£4.5m)

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Kaoru Mitoma of Brighton & Hove Albion looks on during the Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final between Brighton & Hove Albion and Grimsby Town at Amex Stadium on March 19, 2023 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

A rapid rise to prominence

Brighton’s No22 was an unknown entity outside of Japan a few months and now he has to be considered one of the breakout stars of the Premier League season.

A natural dribbler and a confident shooter, Mitoma has scored goals and provided six assists in all competitions – a superb effort considering he didn’t register his first point until Game Week 12.

Four Star Man awards have boosted his tally further and his average of 4.5 points-per-game is equal to that of Bukayo Saka (£5.6m).

The Seagulls’ attacking unit have flourished under Roberto De Zerbi’s tutelage and Mitoma has been the pick of the bunch.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£3.4m)

A wholehearted campaign in difficult cicumstances

A wholehearted campaign in difficult cicumstances

Most Dream Team bosses have a natural aversion to defensive midfielders and therefore would have doubted the combative Dane’s long-term viability even after he got off to a decent start with 31 points by the end of Game Week 5.

But he’s kept plugging away and Hojbjerg’s tally of 107 points puts him joint-tenth in his position.

Five goals, five assists and three Star Man gongs represents a considerable haul for a player who is tasked with doing the dirty work primarily.

Miguel Almiron (£3.6m)

Almiron has enjoyed the best season of his career in 2022/23

Almiron has enjoyed the best season of his career in 2022/23

Anybody who claims they predicted the Paraguayan winger’s upsurge is a liar.

Prior to 2022/23, he’d scored nine Premier League goals in three and a half seasons with Newcastle and now he’s bagged eleven this campaign alone.

The primary issue right now is that Almiron is nursing a thigh injury that may mean he’s unavailable for another three or four weeks – if that’s the case then obviously his backers will have to identify a replacement for the short term at least.

How much more the 29-year-old has to offer this term remains to be seen but he deserves huge credit for registering 106 points to date – over double what was expected of him prior to Game Week 1.