Alphonse Areola and four other Dream Team surprise packages who have started brightly this season | The Sun

DREAM TEAM'S top performers after four Gameweeks of the season can generally be divided into two camps: familiar stars and surprise packages.

The likes of Erling Haaland (£8.1m), James Maddison (£4.1m) and Bukayo Saka (£6.3m) belong to the former as gaffers expect them to provide plentiful returns but for the purposes of this exercise, let's focus on the latter group.

Here are the five most prominent surprise packages of the campaign so far…

Alphonse Areola

  • £2.3m
  • 3% ownership
  • 18 points

Prior to Gameweek 1 it wasn't clear who would be West Ham's first-choice goalkeeper with David Moyes admitting he had 'two number ones'.

Lukasz Fabianski (£3m) started the vast majority of league games last season while Areola featured throughout the Hammers' ultimately successful Europa Conference League campaign.

However, the Frenchman has seemingly usurped his more experienced team-mate this term and the change of guard has been entirely justified so far.

Moyes' men are flying high with ten points from a possible 12 in the league, a bright start that includes spirited wins against Chelsea and Brighton.

Although Areola is yet to keep a clean sheet, he's amassed 18 points through individual brilliance, most notably in the form of a penalty save against the Blues – a moment that flipped the momentum of the contest – and a herculean tally of NINE saves to blunt Roberto De Zerbi's side.

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The 30-year-old is two points behind Alisson (£4.2m) and just one shy of Ederson (£4.4m) – two keepers who are significantly more popular and almost twice as expensive.

And he's four points off Dream Team's leading custodian, Guglielmo Vicario (£3.3m).

It will be interesting to see who starts between the sticks when West Ham's Europa League fixtures commence.

Bryan Mbeumo

  • £3.7m
  • 9.8% ownership
  • 37 points

Brentford's No19 is not a surprise package in the purest sense as more than a few supporters and pundits tipped him to raise his game in response to Ivan Toney's prolonged absence.

However, few would have predicted the extent of the Cameroon international's success in the opening weeks – he's scored four goals in as many league games.

His latest, a last-gasp equaliser against Bournemouth, started with a beautiful first touch that saw him control the ball and spin away from his marker all in one smooth motion – an indicator of supreme confidence.

Nobody is expecting Mbeumo, who is helpfully on penalties these days, to rival Haaland for the Golden Boot in the long run but the underlying statistics suggest his healthy attacking returns are sustainable to a degree.

The Bees have generated the most xG (expected goals) in the top flight this season having adopted a more expansive way of playing.

Mbeumo is Dream Team's fourth-best midfielder at this juncture and the sixth-best asset overall.

Odsonne Edouard

  • £2.6m
  • 2% ownership
  • 41 points

We haven't included Eberechi Eze (£3.4m) in this list because we tipped him for success multiple times prior to Gameweek 1 and so we can hardly turn around and claim his plentiful points have come as a surprise.

But that's certainly not the case for Crystal Palace's centre-forward, who has caught the vast majority of Dream Team bosses off guard with his rampant start to the season.

Edouard has scored four goals in all competitions and is therefore well on his way to beating his tally of seven from 2022/23 in rapid time.

Granted, the ex-Celtic striker's goals have come against favourable opposition (Sheffield United, Plymouth, Wolves x2) but that's the beauty of tailoring your selections to the schedule.

The slim minority of gaffers who were brave enough to take a punt on the 25-year-old have been handsomely rewarded.

Like Brentford, the Eagles are playing with more attacking verve than we've seen from them in previous seasons – Eze and Edouard have let fly with 19 shots each in the top flight, only Haaland (20) has tried his luck more often.

It's early days but who would have guessed that Edouard would be ten points clear of Mohamed Salah (£6.5m) and 20 points ahead of Marcus Rashford (£5.9m) by the first international break?

See also: Jordan Ayew (£2.8m) and his 31 points.

Willy Boly

  • £1.7m
  • 1.6% ownership
  • 28 points

With clean sheets few and far between so far this season, the defensive rankings are a free-for-all right now.

Nottingham Forest's No30 has taken advantage of the open field to claim the joint-second rank among players in his position after four Gameweeks.

The experienced centre-back has achieved this via his goal at Old Trafford (which was ultimately in vain from Steve Cooper's view) and his contribution to a heroic clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.

Impressively, Boly registered a shot on target in each of his opening three fixtures and he's earned additional points through tackles in all five outings.

Is he a viable long-term option? Perhaps not.

But what can't be denied is that he's provided superb value for money to date.

Pedro Neto

  • £2.8m
  • 0.4% ownership
  • 31 points

The long list of midfielders with fewer points than the Wolves winger at this stage includes: Rodri (£4.4m), Moussa Diaby (£3.5m), Martin Odegaard (£4.9m), Bruno Fernandes (£6.3m) and Kaoru Mitoma (£3.7m).

This is even more impressive when you consider Neto sat out Wolves' 5-0 win over Blackpool in the Carabao Cup.

Only Eze and Maddison have earned more bonus points than the Portugal international, who ranks highly for successful dribbles and top for accurate crosses.

Neto is yet to score this season but he has provided three assists.

No player has created more big chances either – which are worth one point each these days.

A 13-point haul at Selhurst Park propelled him up the rankings last weekend and he's now level with Raheem Sterling (£3.8m) in joint-seventh among midfielders.

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Neto was acquiring thousands of new admirers on a weekly basis before his lengthy injury setback but it seems he's finally rediscovered his most dynamic form.

Dream Team managers should certainly keep a close eye on him – if he adds goals to his current performances then the serious business will begin.

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