4️⃣ things we learned from Wednesday's Champions League action | OneFootball

4️⃣ things we learned from Wednesday's Champions League action | OneFootball

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OneFootball

Adam Booker·21 February 2024

4️⃣ things we learned from Wednesday's Champions League action

Article image:4️⃣ things we learned from Wednesday's Champions League action

Arsenal saw their hopes dented in Porto, while Barcelona snatched a draw away to Napoli as the Champions League round of 16 continued Wednesday night.

Here is what we made of the action.


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Not to be overlooked

Article image:4️⃣ things we learned from Wednesday's Champions League action

Despite Arsenal coming into the tie as heavy favourites, Porto showed the world just what makes the Champions League so great.

The Portuguese side gave Mikel Arteta’s men problems all throughout the first 90 minutes of the last-16 tie Wednesday night, and the stoppage time Galeno screamer gave the home side something to show for their performance.

Sérgio Conceição’s side held the Premier League outfit to zero shots on target through the whole first-leg, despite the Gunners’ superiority in possession.

With a lead to now hold onto, Porto can take some added motivation to London for the second-leg in March.

But the 30 time Portuguese champions must beware, Arsenal will be ready to pile on the pressure with their home fans behind them.


A duel of the star strikers

Article image:4️⃣ things we learned from Wednesday's Champions League action

If you like pure centre-forwards, the Barcelona vs Napoli tie is the one for you.

Robert Lewandowski and Victor Osimhen both popped up with goals for the sides at the Maradona, setting us up for a barnstormer of a second-leg in Catalonia next month.

With his strike, Lewandowski showed why age is only a number, becoming Barcelona’s oldest ever goalscorer in the Champions League knockout round.

Meanwhile, Osimhen marked his return to the Napoli squad by scoring his side’s only effort on target for the night – now that’s what I call clinical.

Those two star forwards will surely be at the centre of the action once again when the two sides meet at the Olympic Stadium.


Old habits die hard

Article image:4️⃣ things we learned from Wednesday's Champions League action

There is a renewed energy around Arsenal these days. The Gunners are back in the big time, challenging for for both the Premier League and the Champions League – but old habits die hard.

While a 0-0 draw in a tough environment may have been an acceptable result to take back to north London, the late stunner ensured that Arsenal’s lousy record in the Champions League got even worse.

That makes it five straight losses in knockout ties for the Emirates side, a streak they were hoping to put an end to in Porto on Wednesday night.

Despite the sour mood, there is only a one-goal deficit to overcome at the Emirates, where plenty of teams have been on the receiving end of beatings this season, so belief among Mikel Arteta and his side should still be strong.


Another record bites the dust

Article image:4️⃣ things we learned from Wednesday's Champions League action

Lamine Yamal is quickly becoming a household name in European football, and he’s doing it all before the age of 17.

The youngster has broken record after record this season for Barcelona after making his way into the first team at such a young age, and we got to witness another historic moment in Naples on Wednesday night.

Having started the game for Xavi’s side, Lamine Yamal became the youngest ever player to appear in a knockout stage game in the UEFA Champions League at 16 years and 223 days.

When you pair the phenom winger with the likes of Pedri, Gavi, and the other young stars in Barcelona’s ranks, you can see why Los Cules’ fans could be excited about their future.