5 popular players who have been way below par this season

This very necessary (and not at all irresponsible) international break is a good time for Dream Team gaffers to take stock of the season so far.

2020/21 has been entertainingly unpredictable with Aston Villa and Southampton currently occupying European qualification places while Arsenal and Man United linger in the bottom half.

As a result, a few popular individuals haven’t been racking up the points expected of them.

Here we take a closer look a five widely-selected players who are yet to get going.

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TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD (£4.8m)

Blasphemy?

Liverpool’s golden boy has been a blessing for Dream Team gaffers since bursting onto the scene and rapidly becoming one of the best right-backs in the world.

This season he started the campaign as the second-most expensive defender in the game behind team-mate Virgil van Dijk (£5.1m) – the Dutchman’s injury means he escapes a mention on this list – and while Alexander-Arnold hasn’t performed terribly, he hasn’t justified his price or ownership (54.7%).

The Reds’ homegrown talent has 30 points to his name – a tally that won’t increase until he returns from injury – which is respectable but not sufficient when measured against expectations.

Alexander-Arnold’s individual performances have actually been pretty good but he’s suffered from Liverpool’s defensive slide.

Only Leeds and West Brom have conceded more Premier League goals than the defending champions in 2020/21 and Alexander-Arnold’s point tally has been tapered as a result.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (£5.6m)

The Gabonese forward was one of the pre-season favourites for the Golden Boot but eight Game Weeks later he’s more or less out of the race.

Aubameyang scored a beautiful goal against Fulham in his first game of the season but since then he’s only ruffled the net once domestically — a penalty against Man United.

Questions have been asked of Mikel Arteta’s tactics with many coming to the conclusion that Aubameyang is being wasted out wide.

Incredibly, Harry Maguire (£4.6m) has recorded more shots than the Gunners’ primary goal threat this season.

Aubameyang has limped to 24 points, a total eclipsed by Eddie Nketiah (£1.6m), much to the disappointment of over a quarter of Dream Team gaffers.

Mikel, please, play him through the middle.

WILLIAN (£2.8m)

While we’re on Arsenal, it’s worth repeating just how underwhelming their Brazilian summer signing has been in recent weeks.

Willian hasn’t scored a single point since the first Game Week, meaning he’s level with Anthony Gordon (£1.9m) on 12 points for the season — the Everton youngster has only started one fixture this campaign.

We’ve hammered the ex-Chelsea midfielder enough in the last week so we’ll leave it there but a lot of you still need to transfer him out.

NATHAN AKE (£2.6m)

Dream Team gaffers rushed to recruit the Dutchman when he signed for Man City but have been disappointed since.

This is largely due to the fact Pep Guardiola added Ruben Dias (£3.6m) to his squad before the transfer window closed, relegating Ake to first reserve.

Dias has struck up an understanding with Aymeric Laporte (£4.7m) in quick time which seems to have partially improved City’s solidity at the back.

Ake is currently City’s most popular centre-back but since it’s likely he’ll be used sparingly, Dream Team gaffers would be wise to switch to Dias or Laporte if they can afford it.

ADAMA TRAORE (£3.4m)

The hulking winger was a revelation last season as he bagged 7+ ratings with a regularity only bettered by Kevin De Bruyne (£6.7m).

His freakish dribbling ability makes him a gamechanger but he can also be a source of frustration for Wolves fans.

Nuno Espirito Santo has generally preferred Pedro Neto (£2.3m) and Daniel Podence (£1.8m) as accomplices for Raul Jimenez (£4.9m) and Traore has struggled when tasked with wing-back duties on occasion.

With 17 points to his name, Traore is lagging behind Ademola Lookman (£2.1m), even when you factor in the Fulham man’s disastrous penalty.

The Molineaux superhero remains the tenth most-popular midfielder in Dream Team at the time of writing — that needs to change during this international break.

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