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Get ready for the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second legs

The first legs witnessed a record number of goals and, with so much on the line, we're set for more of the same in the returns.

The UEFA Europa League round of 32 concludes this week
The UEFA Europa League round of 32 concludes this week Arsenal FC via Getty Images

The UEFA Europa League returned with a bang on Thursday, with a knockout matchnight record 59 goals flying in across 16 games.

A couple of teams managed sizeable wins that should make the 2021 final in Gdańsk feel a step closer, but for the majority (including a few big guns) there is much work still to do.

Wednesday 24 February, 18:00 CET
Tottenham 4-0 Wolfsberg (agg: 8-2)

Thursday 25 February, 18:55 CET
Arsenal vs Benfica (first leg: 1-1)
Rangers vs Antwerp (4-3)
Villarreal vs Salzburg (2-0)
Hoffenheim vs Molde (3-3)
Napoli vs Granada (0-2)
Shakhtar vs Maccabi Tel-Aviv (2-0)
Ajax vs LOSC Lille (2-1)

Thursday 25 February, 21:00 CET
Club Brugge vs Dynamo Kyiv (1-1)
Manchester United vs Real Sociedad (4-0)
AC Milan vs Crvena zvezda (2-2)
Leicester vs Slavia Praha (0-0)
Roma vs Braga (2-0)
Dinamo Zagreb vs Krasnodar (3-2)
Leverkusen vs Young Boys (3-4)
PSV Eindhoven vs Olympiacos (2-4)

Match of the week: Arsenal vs Benfica

Highlights: Benfica 1-1 Arsenal
Highlights: Benfica 1-1 Arsenal

"We can't put a foot wrong now," goalscorer Bukayo Saka warned his Arsenal team-mates after the Gunners were held 1-1 by Benfica despite dominating the first leg in Rome. It was a similar story 12 months ago, when the English side squandered several gilt-edged chances against Olympiacos and were knocked out by a goal in the last minute of extra time. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was more guilty than most last season but is showing signs of a timely return to form – can he outshine UEFA Europa League top scorer Pizzi?

Shock on the cards

A shock is on the cards! Young Boys will take a 4-3 lead to Leverkusen following their first-leg thriller, while Bayer's Bundesliga rivals Hoffenheim have plenty to do after Molde recovered from 3-1 down to draw. Italy's challenge is also under threat, and AC Milan may need to call on Zlatan Ibrahimović after they were held at ten-man Crvena zvezda. Napoli have an even tougher task given their 2-0 deficit against Granada, and Lorenzo Insigne is now 11 games without a goal in this competition – cometh the hour, cometh the man?

Goals galore

Watch every goal from the Europa League round of 32 first legs
Watch every goal from the Europa League round of 32 first legs

There were 59 goals registered across the 16 UEFA Europa League first legs, the most in a single evening of knockout round action since this competition was rebranded in 2009/10. The record for one round as a whole came last term when 95 goals were scored in the round of 32. That mark is surely under threat.

On another planet

Bruno Fernandes resumed his UEFA Europa League love affair with two goals in Manchester United's impressive 4-0 win against Real Sociedad. He now has 26 goal involvements (16 goals, ten assists) in 25 outings in the competition. His general form is similarly impressive, and in the UEFA Europa League player tracker – the FedEx Performance Zone – he is not so much top as through the roof. He may get a rest this week but, you suspect, he'll be itching to be involved.

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