Europe’s premier club competition returns with the final ties of the last 16this week as the battling teams are still within a short of securing a spot in the following round. 

Arsenal welcomes FC Porto with their Champions League hopes hanging in the balance trailing 1-0 ahead of the second leg to be held at the Emirates. Meanwhile, Barcelona will look to continue their quest on Europe’s grandest stage and fight all the way to Champions League honors for the departing Xavi Hernandez. 

Arsenal vs FC Porto | Aggr (0-1)

Looking to stage a comeback and keep their hopes of clinching a first ever UEFA Champions League trophy, Arsenal welcome Porto in the last 16 second leg tie.  

Having lost 1-0 in the first leg held at Estadio Dragao on the 21st of February, the Gunners have continued on their impressive domestic form, winning successive league games on their way to topping the Premier League table on 64 points, tied with Liverpool. Arsenal have been scintillating when playing at the Emirates, and have won their last four games with an outstanding 14-3 aggregate score. Mikel Arteta’s men are sweating on the fitness of Gabriel Martinelli who missed the 2-1 win over Brentford due to an ankle knock. 

The Portuguese outfit pulled a surprise Champions League shock on home soil, as they sealed a dramatic added-time winner through Brazilian Galeno. Porto are in a rich vein of form and have suffered one defeat in the past 15 games in all competitions. A 5-0 statement win over fierce rivals Benfica at the start of the month will have Porto’s fans believing of staging a major upset in London. Sergio Conceicao’s men have scored 10 goals in their previous three victories, conceding just once. Porto will be without influential forward Mehdi Taremi for the game, with the Iran international currently nursing a thigh injury. 

Arsenal have turned the Emirates stadium into a fortress this season and are yet to lose infront of their fans this season. The Gunners have won their three previous home games against Porto in the Champions League, scoring 11 unanswered goals in the process. Arteta’s men will be too strong for the visitors here. This will be a comfortable win for Arsenal.

Prediction: Arsenal win @ 1.25 

Barcelona vs SSC Napoli  | Agg (1-1)

Xavi Hernandez’ farewell season in Catalonia will be faced by another stern test with the visit of a resurgent Napoli side looking to advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League in two straights seasons. 

Barcelona have recorded impressive results since Xavi announced his intention to leave at the end of the season. Barca have won four of their previous six league games, with the other two fixtures ending in stalemates. It has been a rollercoaster campaign for Blaugrana who are hindered by their financial limitations on top of an unending injury crisis. Despite their issues, Barca have recovered in the title race and are now eight points off Real Madrid at the top of La Liga. Xavi’s men will be without midfield duo Pedri and Frenkie De Jong while Ferran Torres is a doubt for the game. 

Napoli boss Francesco Calzona has overseen an impressive start to his new job, with his charges yet to taste defeat in five matches since his appointment. Napoli have earned eight points from a possible 12, slowly moving into seventh place on the log, 31 points behind Inter Milan at the top of Liga Serie A. Although they are yet to return to their wonderful football produced during Luciano Spalleti’s tenure, key men Kvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimheni have begun to combine to deadly effect, with the Nigerian forward scoring a hattrick and the Georgian adding a double in the 6-1 away win over Sassuolo. 

Barcelona have not conceded in their previous three home ties, whilst recording two victories and a draw. Napoli are leaking at the back and have conceded in five straight appearances. Calzona’s side have scored seven in their past two matches whilst Barca have registered five unanswered goals at home in their previous games at the Olympic Stadium. 

Prediction: Both Teams To Score @ 1.64