5 popular players who aren’t pulling their weight this season

We often discuss potential differential players: those with a low ownership who could provide healthy returns.

This article is about players of the exact opposite ilk: those failing to justify their popularity.

Ederson to score a penalty AND save a penalty against Spurs — 250/1 (was 150/1)

Alisson (£3.1m)

So much is made of how Virgil van Dijk (£5.1m) turned Liverpool from nearly-men to trophy hoarders but you only have to look at Loris Karius’ performance in the 2018 Champions League final to understand the importance of their goalkeeper upgrade.

Unfortunately, Alisson hasn’t been at his best this season, a statement that is most strongly evidenced by the Brazilian’s last outing against Man City.

Add in a handful of games missed through injury and a weakened back four in front of him and it’s understandable how a player of such quality has only amassed 56 points in 2020/21.

Alisson is the most popular keeper in Dream Team with an ownership of 17.2% but seven of his peers are currently above him in the rankings.

His compatriot Ederson (£4.4m) has 40 more points.

Kai Havertz (£3.1m)

An EFL Cup hat-trick in Game Week 2 proved to be a false dawn for the German wonderkid.

At this stage, most have written off 2020/21 as a development year for the 21-year-old in English football.

55% of Havertz’s 69 points were acquired in two games against Barnsley and Morecambe.

During one particularly barren spell, he blanked in nine out of ten outings.

How he still holds an ownership of 13.3% is baffling — especially when you consider Ilkay Gundogan (£4.0m) features in just 10% of teams.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£4.5m)

The Gabon international started the season among the favourites for the Golden Boot but he’s mustered just five league goals at this stage, 11 fewer than Mohamed Salah (£6.1m).

Aubameyang has been used a second-half substitute in recent games after personal issues temporarily hindered his prior involvement.

All this means the 31-year-old has limped to 53 points, a tally bettered by Bobby Decordova-Reid (£1.8m), Bertrand Traore (£2.5m) and Jarrod Bowen (£2.4m).

His ownership has plummeted but a massive 19.9% of gaffers still retain faith — we suspect most those who have given up on their Dream Team this season did so with Aubameyang leading the line.

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Michael Keane (£2.3m)

Another player who Dream Team bosses backed to the hilt after he burst out the traps.

The Everton defender raced to 38 points by Game Week 5 after a couple of goals and two clean sheets in his first two games.

But while the Toffees are enjoying an impressive campaign overall, clean sheets have been hard to come by with just four in the Premier League.

This means Keane has failed to double his Game Week 5 tally months later — he has 67 points at the time of writing.

And yet his ownership remains higher than Kyle Walker’s (£4.4m).

Trent Alexander-Arnold (£4.1m)

Much of what was written about Alisson also applies to Liverpool’s homegrown right-back: trickle-down effect of Van Dijk’s absence, etc.

However, Alexander-Arnold’s underwhelming points total of 63 is also rooted in a reduction of attacking output.

It’s hard to criticise the 22-year-old too much because he’s barely put a foot wrong since being promoted to the first team but he has struggled to impact games in quite the same way this campaign.

He’s provided three assists in 21 league games this season which is perfectly respectable for most right-backs but Alexander-Arnold will always be measured against the standards he has set for himself — he racked up 25 league assists between the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.

His potential for massive returns is why he still has a sizeable ownership of 30.3% but given his price and the expectations on him, he has largely disappointed owners so far this campaign.

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