As we move into the knockout stage of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League, UEFA.com flags up a selection of players proving extremely popular among managers, as well as those lesser-owned picks who could spring a surprise on Matchday 7 of #UCLfantasy, presented by Playstation.
Edouard Mendy (€6.4m) vs LOSC (H)
It is no surprise to see the Senegal No1 command a significant ownership, with the Chelsea goalkeeper having carried his excellent form from last season’s UEFA Champions League into the current campaign. Mendy recorded four clean sheets in five group stage appearances and heads into the knockout stage as the highest owned goalkeeper on #UCLfantasy. Over a third of teams currently contain Mendy and, given last-16 opponents LOSC scored only seven goals in the group stage, this is likely to increase further ahead of Chelsea’s Matchday 7 meeting with the French champions at Stamford Bridge.
Owned by 34%
Odisseas Vlachodimos (€5.2m) vs Ajax (H)
With Benfica drawn against free-scoring Ajax in the round of 16, this may be a key factor in why Vlachodimos does not boast the ownership his current #UCLfantasy score warrants. However, the Greece international is not to be written off having accrued the highest number of points (34) among all keepers in the group stage. Like Mendy, Vlachodimos boasts four clean sheets but has also racked up 22 saves including a penalty stop against Bayern. He is likely to be very busy on Matchday 7 against Erik ten Hag’s side, although this opens up the possibility of further saves that may lead to another healthy #UCLfantasy score.
Owned by 5%
Trent Alexander-Arnold (€6.6m) vs Inter (A)
Despite not featuring in three of Liverpool’s six Group B fixtures, that has not stopped #UCLfantasy managers from owning the right-back in their droves ahead of Matchday 7. The attack-minded defender is a key player in Jürgen Klopp’s side and has already gained three assists in this season’s UEFA Champions League despite his limited minutes. Combining both offensive potency and defensive stability, Alexander-Arnold could well play a key part for the six-time European champions at both ends of the field as they lock horns with Inter on Matchday 7.
Owned by 28%
Aymeric Laporte (€5.1m) vs Sporting CP (A)
Although he has not featured in the UEFA Champions League since Matchday 4, Laporte’s excellent domestic form means the Spanish international has established himself as a regular starter for Manchester City. Most impressively from a #UCLfantasy point of view is his attacking threat from set pieces, the centre-back having recorded two goals and two assists for the Premier League leaders since 26 December. City travel to Portugal on Matchday 7 to face Sporting CP in the first leg and, given his exceedingly low ownership, #UCLfantasy managers looking for an in-form differential defender would be wise to consider bringing him in.
Owned by 2%
Leroy Sané (€9.5m) vs Salzburg (A)
The highest point scorer across all positions at the end of the group stage, Sané’s credentials speak for themselves heading into the round of 16. The Bayern winger managed to accumulate five goals, four assists and a bumper 65 Fantasy points as Julian Nagelsmann’s men swept through Group E with six wins out of six. #UCLfantasy managers will be anticipating another significant return from Sané on Matchday 7 against a Salzburg side who kept just one clean sheet in Group G and it would take a brave manager not to own the 26-year-old.
Owned by 23%
Pedro Gonçalves (€8.2m) vs Manchester City (H)
After injury kept him out of the opening two matchdays, Pedro Gonçalves’ return was the catalyst for Sporting CP winning three of their final four games in Group C, enough to secure knockout qualification ahead of Borussia Dortmund. The midfielder’s scintillating form for the Portuguese champions brought six attacking returns for a total of 43 #UCLfantasy points, including successive 18-point scores on Matchdays 4 and 5. Given the numbers Gonçalves has posted already, he has major differential potential despite a tough-looking round of 16 tie against Manchester City.
Owned by 2%
Cristiano Ronaldo (€11.4m) vs Atlético (A)
Whilst life back at Manchester United may not have been smooth sailing on the domestic front, in European competition Ronaldo’s credentials remain unquestioned. The UEFA Champions League’s all-time top scorer added another six goals to his tally during the group stage, finding the net at least once in each of his five appearances. As it stands, Ronaldo is the second-most popular forward among #UCLfantasy managers ahead of United’s Matchday 7 trip to Atlético, against whom he has 25 goals in 35 career appearances including two hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage, so his already vast ownership could well increase further as the #UCLfantasy transfer deadline draws closer.
Owned by 42%
Antony (€8.0m) vs Benfica (A)
Whilst all the attention has understandably been on Sébastien Haller when it comes to Ajax #UCLfantasy assets, fellow forward Antony has flown under the radar having put together some impressive numbers across the group stage. Two goals, five assists and 20 ball recoveries in five Group C appearances have helped the young Brazilian to gain 41 Fantasy points, the joint fourth highest score among forwards. In a position full of big names and premium-priced point-scorers, Antony provides a relatively cheap, low-owned route into one of the most potent teams remaining in the competition.
Owned by 9%
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