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UCL Fantasy top picks for Matchday 9

The next round of Champions League is close. We take a look at the top picks for Matchday 9. In addition, we take into consideration team and player form, fixture difficulty, minutes, fitness, heat maps and other factors to help us pick out the best options.

Taking a look at the UCL Fantasy top picks for Matchday 9 could be vital to both getting back on track or maintaining those successful starts to the campaign. We have a new set of fixtures; this can indicate different assets or highlight players even more in terms of bringing them in.

Goalkeepers – Odysseas Vlachodimos

Benfica are one of the first teams to play in Matchday 9. This means that managers have the ability to check the early line-ups and react to them within their fantasy teams. They have drawn Inter and if they win go onto play either Napoli or AC Milan, arguably the easiest side of the draw.

The Portuguese side have been in fantastic form both in Europe and domestically, showing one of the best defences amongst the top clubs in Europe. In fact in their last 10 matches Benfica have managed to rack up a cool six clean sheets.

Inter lay ahead for Benfica who have shown huge inconsistencies this season. To back that up the Italian side have lost four of their last six matches in all competitions. They have also failed to score in four of the same six games meaning they have shown bluntness in front of goal.

Goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos (€5m) has been one of the biggest reasons for Benfica’s defensive success. Last season domestically he managed to rack up 10 clean sheets. This season Vlachodimos has already notched up a whopping 17 clean sheets, seven more than last campaign and with plenty of time to go to add to that.

Landing on a good side to the draw, against a struggling offensive team and playing in one of the first two games meaning we can swap him out if he fails to return and playing for a strong defensive side, Odysseas Vlachodimos is an easy addition to the top picks for Matchday 9.

Andre Onana

Inter play on the first day of Matchday 9. This means that managers can access the line-ups and make changes within their fantasy team based on team sheets released before the game. This is a huge advantage for UCL managers.

Inter face Benfica this week. If they win they then go onto play either Napoli or AC Milan, again, arguably the easiest side to the draw, especially from a defensive point of view. Similar to Odysseas Vlachodimos, if he doesn’t return any significant points on the Tuesday, we can swap him out for a Wednesday option.

We have already seen Inter’s inconsistencies this season but what we haven not seen is their ability to restrict their opponents and win games. An example of this is that in their campaign so far the Italian side have managed to collect five clean sheets, keeping back-to-back clean sheets in Matchday 8 against Porto.

Andre Onana (€5m) has already picked up seven cleans sheets in the 18 domestic game he has played so far this campaign. Interestingly, although there have been some doubts he will start every game within the community, he played eight of Inter’s Champions League matches, helping them secure their five clean sheets.

Inter will be a hard team to beat and we have seen that in their European campaign already. With a good fixture, huge grit and ability to restrict their opponents, Andre Onana could be a fantastic option for the round ahead and so makes the top picks for Matchday 9.

Alex Meret

Napoli play on the second day of Matchday 9. This means that if our Tuesday goalkeeper fails to return anything significant then we have a second opportunity to correct that. They face fellow Italian side AC Milan in the quarter finals. If they win they then go onto play either Inter or Benfica. Again this is considered the weaker side to the draw.

AC Milan lay ahead for Napoli who have showed massive inconsistencies this season. In fact Milan have only won one of their last five matches in all competitions, losing two and drawing two. This suggests that backing Napoli assets could be hugely beneficial in the round ahead.

We also have to take into account Napoli’s elite defensive form. In their last 10 matches they have racked up a whopping eight clean sheets. Napoli have reflected some of the best form in Europe this season and that can be seen in the fact they sit a massive 16 points clear at the top of Serie A.

Alex Meret (€5m) comes in at a great price-tag similar to the other options. This helps to enable funds elsewhere within our squads. Meret accumulated two clean sheets from his seven domestic matches last season. Solidifying his minutes this campaign the Italian has already banked a huge 13 clean sheets in 27 appearances so far domestically. This means Meret has kept a clean sheet in nearly half of his matches played.

Meret has also bagged six points or more in half of his Champions League matches, staying on track with his domestic league form. Playing for one of the strongest defences in Europe and playing an inconsistent side could indicate that Alex Meret is an easy inclusion into the top picks for Matchday 9.

Defenders – Alejandro Grimaldo

We have already seen that Benfica will play on the first day of Matchday 9. This, again, gives managers the ability to check the line-ups and make the changes they want until the first game kicks off. It also means that we can make sure our desired assets are starting.

Another thing already mentioned is the fact that if Benfica do win their tie, they will go onto face either Napoli or AC Milan in the semi-finals. This, again, could be seen as the easiest half to the Champions League draw.

Benfica have been one of the best defensive sides in Europe this season. Keeping six clean sheets in their last 10 matches in all competitions is no easy feat. Because of this further investment into the Benfica defence could be hugely beneficial.

One player who offers a lot more than clean sheets is Alejandro Grimaldo (€5.4m). The left-back has been one of the best assets to own in UCL Fantasy this season. Racking up a huge 59 points in the game consisting of a massive 20-point return in Matchday 1 due to his goal, assist, clean sheet and player of the match award.

Last season in his 29 league matches Grimaldo hit five goals, five assists and six clean sheets. This totals to 16 returns, meaning he picked up a return in just over half of his matches. This season Grimaldo has managed two goals, eight assists and and huge 12 clean sheets, totalling to 22 returns in just 25 matches.

Below we can see Grimaldo’s heat map from this season. The Portuguese full-back looks to get into some of the most advanced positions on the pitch, spending more time in the opposing half than defending in his own.

It is very difficult to find a player as consistent as Grimaldo offensively, especially in his position. With a good chance of a clean sheet and explosive attacking ability, Grimaldo should be an absolute shoe-in to every single fantasy team and because of that, walks into the top picks for Matchday 9.

Ben Chilwell

Chelsea are going through a huge transitional period this season. Latest news emerged that Graham Potter has left the Blues ahead of their Matchday 9 clash. Although with a change of system to a back three and a slight improvement in terms of results, it just was not good enough for Potter to keep his position at the club.

The Blues face a tough game against European giants Real Madrid. The Spanish side have a knack for winning games when their not at their best. However with two Champions League wins in the last 10 years, Chelsea have shown the same ability in the latter stages of the competition.

Make no mistakes, this game could go either way. The battle in midfield will be key and the game could even end as a stalemate. The chances of a Chelsea clean sheet could be very realistic but one player offers much more than clean sheet potential.

Chelsea play a wing-back system which gives Ben Chilwell (€5.4m) the opportunity to get into some of the most dangerous positions on the pitch. This means he is much more likely to pick up and attacking return in any given game.

Above is an image of Chilwell’s heat map so far. The Englishman loves to get forward, with most of his positioning in the oppositions half. We can also see that Chilwell takes his teams corners from both sides of the pitch, giving him additional routes to points.

Chilwell has proven that he can be one of the best left-backs in world football. His offensive ability could indicate massive reward for managers, even against Real Madrid upon investment. Taking all of the the above into account, Chilwell takes his place amongst the top picks for Matchday 9.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo

As we have already seen Napoli face AC Milan in the next round. If they win they go onto play either Benfica or Inter. Being on the good side of the draw only boosts the already high appeal of the Napoli assets.

To highlight Napoli’s defensive form, the Italian side have kept an amazing eight clean sheets in their last 10 matches in all competitions. Their imperious form has led to their absolute dominance in Serie A, sitting 16 points clear at the top of the table.

Napoli face AC Milan who have been hugely inconsistent for most of the season. No team is easy at this point in the competition but Milan’s weaknesses mean it could be difficult to avoid heavy investment into the Napoli backline.

The standout option at the back is Giovanni Di Lorenzo (€5.2m). In his most recent domestic campaign Lorenzo managed one goal, five assists and 15 clean sheets. His 21/22 league total came to a whopping 21 returns in 33 matches.

Lorenzo is on course for another great season total. He currently sits on one goal, four assists and 13 clean sheets. With 18 returns this season already there is little doubt he won’t extend that. The full-back has also collected six returns in his eight Champions League matches so far. Of those returns Lorenzo clawed in a whopping four double-digit hauls, reflecting massive explosiveness in the game.

Theo Hernandez

AC Milan face a very tough Napoli side in Matchday 9. The Italian side may come across as inconsistent but they have still shown sparks of quality in their recent form. In fact, this may come as a surprise but Milan have kept a strong six clean sheets in their last 10 matches in all competitions.

Their Champions League defensive form is also good. Milan have kept clean sheets in half of their European games this campaign. Two of those clean sheets came in their last two back-to-back matches against Tottenham in the round of 16.

Another very interesting factor in this tie is that Milan dismantled their upcoming opponents in Serie A recently, winning 4-0 whilst also keeping a clean sheet. Theo Hernandez (€5.9m) has the ability to offer more than clean sheets though as his side can play in a wing-back system which puts him into some of the most advanced positions on the bench.

In his 21/22 domestic season Hernandez racked up five goals, six assists and a huge 13 clean sheets. This led to a total of 24 returns from 32 matches in his title winning season. In the current campaign so far Hernandez has returned three goals, three assists and six clean sheets.

In his current Champions League season, Hernandez has collected an impressive five returns in seven features. What is appealing is that Hernandez is on a run of four back-to-back UCL Fantasy returns. With a great path to the final, playing in a familiar fixture and with attacking potential, Theo Hernandez takes his place amongst the top picks for Matchday 9.

Midfielders – Joao Mario

Benfica are in brilliant form coming into their Matchday 9 game against Inter. In their last 10 matches in all competitions they have won a whopping nine times, losing just once. In that same period they have also notched up a monstrous 27 goals.

With an average of 2.7 goals scored per game in the last 10, Benfica are coming into their quarter final in free-scoring form. They face an Inter side who have conceded in four of their last six matches, meaning they could be a team to target.

One way into the Benfica front line is that of Joao Mario (€6.4m). His price-tag means he helps enable funds elsewhere within our teams making the premium options a lot more affordable with his presence. But Mario is more than just a cheap player.

Mario is arguably having the season of his career. Domestically, the winger has bagged a massive 17 goals and six assists. This takes his total so far to an impressive 26 goal contributions in 25 games.

Reflecting a premium return rate Mario has become one of the best assets in the entire game. His Champions League form is also reflective of this. In the eight games he has played he has managed six returns including three double-digit returns.

Mario predominantly plays on the flanks and can play on both the left and right. No only does he take his teams corners but he also takes their penalties, providing owners with an additional route to points. Considering all of the above, Joao Mario is an absolute shoe-in for every team going into the new round so breezes his way into the top picks for Matchday 9.

Vinicius Junior

Real Madrid come into the tie with huge confidence. Their inevitability in the Champions League is unmatched by any other team in Europe. One thing to factor in is that their domestic and European form do not tie in together. Because of this, regardless of whether they are performing domestically or not, they go into any given Champions League game as strong favourites.

The Spanish side have racked up a very strong 21 goals in their Champions League campaign so far. This averages out at 2.6 goals scored per game. Their scoring average can be seen as one of the strongest so far and because of that they are an absolute must in terms of offensive investment.

Chelsea lay ahead for Real Madrid. The Blues have proven that, similar to Real Madrid, regardless of their domestic form they can be show a strong performance in the Champions League. However, at the time of writing they are without a manager, meaning there could be a lack of cohesion.

One of the best ways into the Real Madrid frontline is Vinicus Junior (€10.1m). The Brazilian has been at the top of his game for some time. In his 21/22 domestic season Junior banked a huge 17 goals and 10 assists. This accumulated to 27 goal contributions in 35 matches.

This season domestically, Junior is on course for another great campaign. In his 26 matches so far the winger has picked eight goals and six assists. Junior has bettered his domestic ratio in the current UCL season. In the eight European matches he has played he has scored six goals and produced three assists.

In premium returning form and against a questionable Chelsea, Vincius Junior could be an essential and due to that walks into the top picks for Matchday 9.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Napoli’s side of the draw means they will face either Benfica or Inter if they beat fellow Italians AC Milan. Their elite form this season can be reflected in their last 10 matches in all competitions. In that time they have won eight and lost just twice.

In the same 10 match period Napoli have found the net 21 times. This averages to 2.1 goals scored per game. Nobody expected the relentless form they have showed domestically and in Europe. That can be found in the price-tags of their assets this season.

One way into the elite offensive line is Khvicha Kavaratskhelia (€5.9m). The Georgian international is having his breakout season this campaign. Domestically the winger has scored 12 goals and created 10 assists.

His Serie A total tallies to 22 attacking returns in 24 matches. Not only is Kavaratskhelia showing premium return rates in terms of fantasy but his Champions League form is also very good. In the seven European games he has played so far he has hit two goals and four assists.

We can see from his heatmap above that Kavaratskhelia plays predominantly as a left sided wide forward. Not only does he spend most his time in the final third but he also has a lot of positioning in the opponents box.

Kavaratskhelia also takes his teams penalties giving him an additional route to points. In serious form and playing in one of the best attacks in Europe Kvaraskhelia slides into the top picks for Matchday 9 with ease.

Leroy Sane

Bayern face Manchester City in Matchday 9. Although sitting on the toughest side of the draw, Bayern have proved to be one of the strongest sides in the tournament and one of the favourites to win the whole thing. This can only be reinforced with the fact that they have recently changed manager to Thomas Tuchel, a very good tournament manager.

The German side have been in great form in all competitions. In fact in their last 10 matches they have managed to win eight and lose just two. In that same period Bayern have racked up a massive 27 goals. This averages out at 2.7 goals scored per game.

If that wasn’t enough Bayern have also racked up 21 goals in their current UCL campaign, averaging 2.6 goals scored per game. Considering Bayern have played Inter, Barcelona and PSG in the same period, it is even more impressive.

One way into the Bayern attack is Leroy Sane (€9.3m). The German international has been in and out of the squad lately due to injury but seems to be cementing his place back in the first team after starting the last three games for Bayern, scoring one and creating two assists.

Sane became a sensation in the UCL last season. The winger scored six and created six assists leading to 12 returns in 10 games. The current campaign has still been a strong one for Sane with four goals and one assist in six matches.

Playing against his former club and returning to full fitness, Sane could be back to his best for the round ahead and because of that, squeezes into the top picks for Matchday 9.

Kevin De Bruyne

Manchester City play at home in the round ahead, where they are significantly stronger in terms of performances and goals. We could see plenty of goals between Manchester City and Bayern in Matchday 9 because if there is one thing Manchester City can do its score goals.

In their last 10 matches they have managed eight wins and two draws, remaining unbeaten. In the same period they netted a mammoth 32 goals, averaging 3.2 goals per game and making them the biggest scorers in the last 10 matches amongst sides left in the Champions League.

A great way into the ruthless Manchester City attack is Kevin De Bruyne (€10.5m). The Belgian has arguably been one of the best midfielders in world football for the last several seasons. In his 21/22 domestic season De Bruyne racked up 15 goals and eight assists.

His 21/22 Premier League output tallied to 23 attacking returns in 30 matches. This season De Bruyne is still in fine form scoring five goals and creating a massive 13 assists. A recent dip led to criticism for the midfielder but he fought back by scoring two goals and producing four assists in his last four starts for club and country.

Taking set pieces, feeding one of the best strikers in the world and playing a defensively inconsistent defence in all competitions De Bruyne has plenty of potential. Because of this he makes it into the top picks for Matchday 9.

Forwards – Karim Benzema

We have already seen that Spanish giants will come face to face with Chelsea in the next round. Their ability to win games even whilst performing under par is one of their strengths. This suggests that their assets are very appealing, especially in the latter stags of the competition.

The standout attacking option from their front line is Karim Benzema (€10.7m). The Frenchman has become one of the best strikers in European history over the last several seasons and at the age of 35, is still maintaining some of the best form in football.

In his 21/22 domestic season Benzema notched up a brilliant 27 goals and 12 assists. This tallied to 39 goal contributions in 32 matches, representing world class form. In the same season Benzema converted his form into the UCL campaign. Hitting a massive 15 goals and two assists he accumulated to 17 returns in 12 games.

This season Benzema’s fantastic form has continued. Domestically the striker has bagged 14 goals and created three assists. This takes his current league total to 17 returns in 17 matches. His current Champions League total also sits at three goals and one assist in six games.

Taking penalties and being the focal point to the Real Madrid attack makes him one of the best options going into the new round.

Goncalo Ramos

Benfica sit on the easiest side of the Champions League draw. If they beat their upcoming opponents Inter, they go onto face either Napoli or AC Milan. In their last 10 matches the Portuguese side have won a mammoth nine times, losing just once.

In the same 10-match period Benfica have also banked 27 goals, averaging 2.7 goals scored per game. With such a high scoring average investing in the Benfica frontline could be extremely rewarding, even more so against an Inter team who have lost four of their last six games.

Leading the potent attack is Goncalo Ramos (€9m). Similar to Osimhen at Napoli, the Portuguese striker is arguably having his breakout season. So far domestically Ramos has scored 17 goals and provided two assists. This tallies to 19 returns in 22 games.

The 21-year-old has been fantastic this season and that is slowly shifting into his Champions League performances. In his most recent UCL match Ramos managed two goals and one assist, finally showing his potential on the big stage. Because of this and his sides free-scoring ability, Ramos has scored himself into the top picks for Matchday 9.

Erling Haaland

Manchester City have been considered one of the top scoring sides in Europe for years and that is telling based on their current performances. In their last 10 matches in all competitions they have picked up eight wins and two draws.

In the same 10-match period Manchester City have produced a whopping 32 goals, making them the highest scoring team in the Champions League in that time. They face a Bayern team who have shown defensive consistencies all season in the league and one man can take advantage of that.

Since Erling Haaland’s move to the Premier League the Norwegian continues to smash records. So far this season domestically Haaland has scored a massive 28 goals and created five assists. This takes his tally to 33 goal contributions in 28 games.

In the six games he has played in the Champions League so far Haaland has scored 10 goals. Although he got off to a slow start in Europe, he showed his explosiveness in the previous game where he scored five goals against Leipzig and picked up a colossal 25 points in the process.

Haaland could be considered as an absolute essential going into the new round. His explosiveness, team form and fixture could mean he has bags of potential. Taking all of this into account, Haaland was the first name amongst the top picks for Matchday 9.

Keep up to date with all of our most Champions League Fantasy articles as and when we release them. Over the coming days we will be releasing expert team reveals, differential articles and more right here.

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