THE Oscars has nothing on this: it’s the Dream Team end of the season awards!
Allow us to rattle through a host of imaginary gongs designed to recognise the good, the bad and the ugly of the 2021/22 campaign.
The Value-For-Money Award
Winner: Jose Sa (£2.9m)
Wolves’ goalkeeper cost £2.0m prior to Game Week 1 and could be recruited for as little as £1.7m after an unlucky first month.
The fact he went on to spend the majority of the season competing with the likes of Ederson (£4.0m), Edouard Mendy (£3.4m) and Alisson (£4.5m) at the top of the rankings in his position makes him the standout bargain asset.
A dismal final month from Bruno Lage’s side meant Sa ultimately lagged behind the top three custodians but he still finished fourth and was one of only five keepers to achieve a century of points.
The Breakout Star Award
Winner: Jarrod Bowen (£5.1m)
West Ham’s No20 flipped a switch this season.
A highly-rated youngster at Hull in the Championship, he took some time to adapt to the step up when he signed for the Hammers in 2019.
Last term, he mustered a respectable eight goals in 40 appearances, showing signs of development, but few would have predicted the dramatic nature of his improvement exhibited this campaign.
Bowen scored 18 goals and provided 11 assists in all competitions (accounting for most his 210 Dream Team points) and was one of only three players to reach double figures for both metrics in the Premier League.
He’s gone from a middling top-flight winger to one of the league’s most notable performers who will deservedly become an England international in the coming weeks.
The Instant Impact Award
Winner: Luis Diaz (£4.2m)
This award goes to the player who has made the biggest waves in the shortest time.
Shout outs to Bruno Guimaraes (£3.3m), Christian Eriksen (£3.8m) and Dejan Kulusevski (£3.2m) but it simply has to be Liverpool’s raging bull who takes the gong.
The Colombia international has banked 90 points since arriving in January by virtue of ten goal involvements and some captivating performances.
If Diaz can claim 13 points from the Champions League (admittedly a tough ask) he would jump above Jack Grealish (£4.0m) and Emile Smith Rowe (£3.0m) in the rankings despite being added to Dream Team four months later.
The Biggest Game Week Haul Award
Winner: Gabriel Jesus (£4.4m)
This one is completely objective as it recognises the player who produced the single biggest Game Week haul of the campaign.
This honour goes to Manchester City’s Brazilian forward-turned-winger who amassed 43 points in Game Week 33.
Jesus scored FOUR goals in a home rout against Watford before scoring his side’s second goal against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg a few days later.
Given that the 25-year-old has a reputation for being rather wasteful at times it’s perhaps surprising he cashed in so extensively – although many would have predicted a Man City asset would win this award.
The Biggest Flop Award
Winner: Luke Shaw (£2.6m)
Prior to Game Week 1, Manchester United’s left-back was by far and away the most popular defender among Dream Team bosses.
His consistent effort the previous season couple with an impressive showing at Euro 2020 made it seem like he was excellent value for money at £4.0m.
However, the Red Devils’ defensive structure has been in bits all season long and Shaw mustered just 36 points when all was said and done, two fewer than relegated Erik Pieters (£2.0m).
Injuries are a factor but the fact remains Shaw averaged just 1.3 points-per-game this term when fit.
In terms of pre-season expectation versus actual returns, this is one of the biggest disparities in Dream Team history.
The David-vs-Goliath Award
Winner: Ivan Toney
This one goes to the asset who ferociously punched above his weight all season long.
You only have to look at the names alongside Brentford’s top scorer in the top ten forwards to get the picture here: Romelu Lukaku (£4.5m), Michail Antonio (£4.1m), Gabriel Jesus (£4.4m), Sadio Mane (£5.6m), Diogo Jota (£4.7m), Cristiano Ronaldo (£7.6m), Son Heung-min (£6.9m), Harry Kane (£8.2m), Mohamed Salah (£7.3m).
Not only is Toney the only forward in the top ten who didn’t have the luxury of European fixtures to bolster his schedule, he represents a team who have just completed their first ever Premier League campaign.
14 goals, seven assists, 171 points – great work.
The Most Valuable Player Award
Winner: Mohamed Salah (£7.3m)
The MVP chalice doesn’t necessarily have to go to the top points scorer but in this instance it does because the Egyptian was in a bracket of his own for most of the season.
If Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.9m) fails to earn at least two points this Saturday then Salah will be the only asset to have passed the 300-point mark in 2021/22 – he’s on 331 with a game in hand.
Liverpool’s No11 is by far the most-popular player in the game and it’s not hard to see why given he just claimed another Golden Boot plus the Premier League’s Best Playmaker award for most assists.
Salah has cemented his status as a Dream Team legend.
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