PRETTY much every Manchester City player involved at Old Trafford on Sunday was worthy of individual praise.
Erling Haaland (£7.5m) was involved in all three goals, Bernardo Silva (£3.6m) ran the show, Josko Gvardiol (£4.1m) had fun with some Iniesta-esque dribbles, and Rodri (£4m) set the tempo with aplomb.
But for the purposes of this exercise, the focus is on John Stones (£4.5m) and his welcome return to the world of Dream Team.
Less ‘Barnsley Beckenbauer’ more ‘Barnsley Busquets’ these days[/caption]
The 29-year-old missed the first seven Gameweeks of the season through injury and while he featured against Arsenal and Brighton, this weekend’s Manchester derby was the first time he played 90 minutes in 2023/24.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the reigning champions’ 3-0 win over Manchester United was their first clean sheet in over a month.
Stones once again performed the hybrid role in Pep Guardiola’s sophisticated system – part centre-back, part holding midfielder.
The England international starred in such a role at the back end of last season and was undoubtedly a key contributor to City’s treble.
Whether he’s mucking in alongside Ruben Dias (£4.4m) at the heart of defence or pulling the strings next to Rodri at the base of midfield, Stones has been one of his side’s most-influential players in the last year.
Stones played a key role in City’s treble last season[/caption]
It’s important to note that he’s categorised as a defender in the realm of Dream Team and so he registered five points for City’s clean sheet on Sunday – plus two for playing the full 90 minutes.
Looking forward, it seems to reasonable to expect some extra points from Stones if he’s to continue taking up midfield positions with regularity.
The very nature of his unique role means he’s more likely to register shots on target and create big chances (both worth a point each in Dream Team this season) than traditional centre-backs.
He should also earn his fair share of bonus points as the season progresses.
Having only just returned to full fitness, it’s understandable that Stones’ ownership sits at a relatively modest 4.6%.
It will be interesting to see what extent that increases after an impressive showing in Gameweek 10.
Guardiola’s side exhibited ominous form in Gameweek 10[/caption]
City’s Gameweek 11 fixtures look ripe for points as well – they have the luxury of back-to-back home games against Bournemouth and Young Boys.
Some Dream Team gaffers may be put off by Stones’ price, at £4.5m he’s the fourth-most expensive asset in his position at the time of writing.
However, there’s every chance that may be seen as good value in a fortnight’s time.
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