Should Dream Team bosses be concerned by Nick Pope's three consecutive blanks? | The Sun

NICK POPE (£3.5m) burst out of the blocks in the world of Dream Team this season.

A popular recruit ahead of Game Week 1 because of his enticing starting price (£2.5m) he delivered in spades for the first five Game Weeks of the campaign.

The England international racked up 39 points in his first six outings, substantially helped by three Star Man awards.

In fact, only Erling Haaland (£9m) and Thiago Silva (£6m) have achieved earned more Star Man awards in 2022/23, a fair reflection of Pope's impressive shot-stopping in those opening weeks.

Two stats that highlight the 30-year-old's efforts this term: he's made the third-most saves in the top flight and the Magpies have the joint-best defensive record having conceded just nine goals, the same as Manchester City, Brighton and Everton.

However, the points have dried up in the last three Game Weeks.

Ivan Toney's (£4.7m) successful penalty on Saturday may have only been a consolation for Brentford but it denied Pope a clean sheet and condemned him to three consecutive blanks.

Bournemouth and Fulham also managed one goal against Eddie Howe's side in their respective meetings.

This lean spell has allowed Ederson (£5m) to overtake Pope and become's Dream Team best-performing goalkeeper.

The Brazilian now has 42 points, three more than the Toon's custodian, but at £5m he's incredibly expensive for a keeper.

The question at hand: should Dream Team managers be concerned about Pope's non-existent returns in recent weeks?

Firstly, we need to take Newcastle's overall form into account, which is very good.

Howe's men have still only lost once in all competitions this season, the late heartbreak at Anfield, and they've recorded comfortable victories in their last two outings.

A closer look at the stats suggests Pope was unlucky not have registered at least one clean sheet in the last three Game Weeks – he's only faced seven shots on target in that time frame (Fulham's goal was their only shot on target).

These numbers should encourage Pope's backers to retain their faith in him going forward.

However, we should also consider the upcoming fixtures.

Newcastle play Manchester United, Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa before the end of the month, something of a mixed bag.

Away trips to Old Trafford and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium constitute tricky match-ups but home games against the Toffees and the Villains look ripe for points – Everton and Villa are among the lowest scorers in the league currently.

Finally, we should also consider whether there are any better alternatives worth a transfer.

Ederson costs a fortune while David de Gea (£2.7m), Alisson (£3.9m) and Aaron Ramsdale (£3m) are all outside the top ten keepers right now.

Hugo Lloris (£3.7m) looks the most viable option but it would be a stretch to stay the Frenchman guarantees you more points than Pope going forward.

In short, let's probably no need to overreact to Pope's lean spell – hold firm and the points will return.

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