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Champions League preview: FC Porto vs Arsenal, Napoli vs Barcelona

FC Porto vs Arsenal


Champions League preview: FC Porto vs Arsenal, Napoli vs Barcelona

Champions League preview: FC Porto vs Arsenal, Napoli vs Barcelona

FC Porto vs Arsenal

Arsenal are in top form, racking up five straight league wins prior to this encounter. They’ve scored 11 goals in their last two matches, and surely a trip to the Estadio do Dragao shouldn’t faze Mikel Arteta’s men.

Porto can at least look back on previous meetings with the north London side to bolster their confidence; the Portuguese side have hosted Arsenal on three previous occasions and are unbeaten, winning 2-0 last time these sides met at the Dragao.

And while the Gunners are flying, Porto are in reasonable nick themselves. In particular, Brazilian striker Evanilson has five goals in his last six outings for the club, as well as four goals in this Champions League campaign. Evanilson is 17/5 to find the net here.

Arsenal lost one of their away games in the group stage, going 2-1 down to French side Lens in October despite taking an early lead, so perhaps the visitors need to aware of the dangers of complacency.

Still, after recent convincing performances Arteta’s team won’t necessarily come here simply looking to keep things tight in the first leg. In the past, the Gunners’ CL campaign has tended to fizzle out during the last 16 – so much so that some wags renamed this segment of the competition the round of Arsenal. Taking on Porto looks like a pretty good opportunity for the Premier League side to move on from those underachieving days, though.

Arsenal are odds on favs to win, so maybe it’s better to back that man Bukayo Saka to score at 9/5; Saka has found the net six times across his last four league outings.

Napoli vs Barcelona

Neither of these sides are impressing currently, despite each winning their respective domestic titles last season – go figure.

Slovakia boss Francesco Calzona has just taken the reins at Napoli, after the club sacked Walter Mazzarri earlier this week.

Mazzarri had lasted just three months, having replaced Rudy Garcia in November; Garcia himself was a replacement for Luca Spalletti, who led Napoli to their first title win in 30 years last May. The Italian side are currently ninth in Serie A.

As for Barcelona, current manager Xavi has announced his intentions to leave the club at the end of the season, with the La Liga team currently third in the league behind Real Madrid and Girona.

And it’s difficult to have a lot of faith in a Barca side that shipped five goals at home to Villarreal last month. Honestly, with both sides in a slump this one might be too close to call.

This competition could provide salvation for either side, of course. But as to which team can seize the opportunity, it’s not especially clear.

With that in mind, and Napoli’s problems scoring in recent months – they’ve failed to score in eight of their last 13 league games – it might be worth backing under 2.5 goals at 26/25.

Those looking for something slightly more positive could consider backing Robert Lewandowski scoring for the visitors; he’s scored four times in his last three matches, and is 18/5 to find the opener here.

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