With Matchday 7 on the horizon, UEFA.com picks out a selection of defenders who excelled in the group stage and considers the options for the round of 16 on #UCLfantasy, presented by Playstation.
Top of the pile among defenders in the group stage was João Cancelo (€6.5m), who outscored every other player in his position despite featuring in only five of Manchester City’s six games. The versatile Portuguese international still accumulated 41 #UCLfantasy points even though his side failed to keep a clean sheet in Group A, two goals and three assists significantly boosting his total. Cancelo’s three double-figure hauls to date make him an almost obligatory selection and his owners – a quarter of the #UCLfantasy player base at present – will be banking on further returns when City take on Sporting CP in the round of 16.
A former Manchester City defender is the second highest-scoring defender, one point behind Cancelo, Nicolás Otamendi (€5.2m) staking a claim as an excellent value-for-money option ahead of Benfica’s double header with Ajax. Like Cancelo, the Argentinian centre-back also missed one game in the group stage but helped the Portuguese side keep clean sheets in four of his five appearances and his performances brought him the Player of the Match bonus on two occasions, worth an extra three points each time. Ball recoveries were also integral to Otamendi’s total, earning him an extra 12 Fantasy points to date.
UEFA Champions League holders Chelsea have a number of defenders who could prove lucrative assets in the knockout stages, with Andreas Christensen (€5.7m) having led the way so far among the Blues’ back line. The Danish international amassed 39 #UCLfantasy points in Group H, keeping clean sheets in three of his five starts and adding a goal and an assist. Antonio Rüdiger (€5.9m), Thiago Silva (€5.6m), César Azpilicueta (€5.7m) and Marcos Alonso (€5.3m) are also worthy of consideration ahead of Chelsea’s round of 16 tie with LOSC Lille.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (€6.6m) was used sparingly by Jürgen Klopp in Group B as the attacking right-back sat out half of Liverpool’s fixtures, but three assists – including two in a 14-point haul against Atlético de Madrid on Matchday 4 – highlighted what a lucrative #UCLfantasy asset he can be. Now that the business end of the UEFA Champions League is upon us, the England international is sure to be one of the first names on the team sheet and he could play a pivotal role in both legs of the tie against Inter.
There are plenty of cheaper defensive offerings available to #UCLfantasy managers though. Ajax’s Noussair Mazraoui (€5.1m), for example, may have received a significant price increase since his starting value of €4.5m, but he remains highly affordable and boasts the promise of clean sheets as well as attacking potential. Even more generous on the purse strings is Benfica’s Gilberto (€4.5m), who returned 21 points over the course of Matchdays 5 and 6 and has been regularly starting at right-back.
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