What to look out for in the Champions League round of 16 first legs week two Wednesday

Mouth-watering ties involving Napoli against Barcelona and Porto against Arsenal are on the menu as the UEFA Champions League knockout stage continues.

Here are some key talking points ahead of final set of round of 16 first legs.

Evanilson to prey on Arsenal nerves?
Porto will draw comfort from the fact they overcame a star-studded Arsenal side in the first leg at this stage back in 2010, thanks in no small part to the brilliance of Radamel Falcao. They have a striker in a similarly rich vein of form this time around too in Evanilson. Having struck four times in their group stage games against Antwerp, the forward has started 2024 with a bang as well, finding the net eight times in his last six outings before their weekend game.Read More

The good news for Arsenal is that they are in the Champions League knockout stage for the first time since 2016/17. The bad news is that they have lost their last six first-leg matches in the round of 16 and their last seven ties overall at this stage of Europe’s premier club competition – records Mikel Arteta’s men will be desperate to consign to history.
Turning point in Naples?
Rewind 12 months and both Napoli and Barcelona were riding the crest of a wave, with both striding towards domestic titles. Things look decidedly different now, however. Monday’s appointment of Francesco Calzona makes him their third coach of the season following Rudi Garcia and Walter Mazzarri, with the Partenopei inconsistent and in danger of missing out on European football altogether next season.

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