How Darwin Nunez inadvertently helped Dream Team bosses cash in on Ollie Watkins’ exhibition against Sheffield United

How Darwin Nunez inadvertently helped Dream Team bosses cash in on Ollie Watkins’ exhibition against Sheffield United

WE love it when a plan comes together here at Dream Team HQ.

Prior to Gameweek 22, we included Ollie Watkins (£4m) in our weekly transfer suggestions and captaincy options.

Plenty of gaffers felt similarly enthused as Aston Villa’s No11 was both the second most-recruited player before the deadline and the second most-selected captain.

On Saturday night, he justified his popularity with a 16-point return against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Never in doubt!
Never in doubt!Credit: Dream Team

Watkins was directly involved in FOUR goals as Unai Emery’s men strolled to a 5-0 victory, scoring once and registering three assists.

The favourable match-up against the Blades – who will need a miracle to avoid relegation this season – was one of two main reasons the 28-year-old appealed as a Dream Team asset this Gameweek.

Chelsea visit Villa Park on Wednesday night for an FA Cup fourth round replay, meaning Watkins is among a select number of players with two fixtures to fulfil.

Having already plundered 16 points at the weekend (doubled to 32 for those who captained him) he’s already delivered satisfying returns – anything he earns against the Blues will be a nice bonus.

Watkins was among the most transferred-out players for much of last week but he dropped out of the top five on Friday night and those Dream Team bosses who changed their mind will be mightily relieved.

Truth be told, Darwin Nunez’s (£4.6m) doubtful fitness played a huge role in the turning of the tide.

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Nunez's minor injury helped Dream Team bosses retain Watkins
Nunez’s minor injury helped Dream Team bosses retain WatkinsCredit: Getty

Liverpool’s chaotic striker was only fit enough to play the last half an hour against Arsenal, in which time he was booked for dissent.

The Uruguay international therefore returned a big, fat goose egg and gaffers who opted to sacrifice him, instead of Watkins, for Erling Haaland (£7.6m) will be feeling rather smug.

Watkins has done his duty in Gameweek 22 with another fixture still to come but what about his long-term viability?

Had the England international failed to provide suitable return this Gameweek, many Dream Team managers would have been quick to ship him out but 26 points from his last two outings represents a timely return to form.

And a quick look at the schedule suggests Villa assets will do well in the coming weeks.

In Gameweek 23 they host a Manchester United side now unbeaten in their last five games but then it’s Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Luton – all in the bottom eight at the time of writing.

Villa players enjoyed themselves against Sheffield United
Villa players enjoyed themselves against Sheffield UnitedCredit: Reuters

That will take the Villains up to the first leg of their Europa Conference round of 16 tie – West Ham assets produced plenty of points in the same competition last season.

Plus, Villa may be in the hat for the FA Cup fifth round if they can get past Chelsea this week.


A fortnight ago it seemed as if Watkins had ran out of steam but he’s once again among the most appealing options.

He’s now scored 13 goals and provided 14 assists in 2023/24!

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Nick Elliott

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