UEFA Champions League first goalscorer prediction: Saka to strike early?

We have made a UEFA Champions League first goalscorer prediction for each of the competition's four round of 16 ties taking place next week. Inter Milan and PSV host Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund respectively on Tuesday night, while Porto and Napoli entertain Arsenal and Barcelona respectively on Wednesday.

Also, check out who are the frontrunners with betting markets to finish as the competition's top scorer here.

UEFA Champions League first goalscorer prediction: Our picks

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Inter Milan vs Atletico Madrid – Lautaro Martinez (4/1)

It is hard to back against Martinez opening the scoring at the San Siro given his exceptional goalscoring record this season. Indeed, he has 22 goals in 30 games in all competitions at the time of writing, including two in six UEFA Champions League (UCL) appearances.

Martinez has been the first goalscorer in the last two matches he has found the net – scoring in 1-0 wins against Napoli and Fiorentina in the Supercoppa Italiana final and Serie A respectively. Nonetheless, with Inter also 11/13 favourites with betting markets to win the game, the Argentine is sure to have an impact.

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PSV vs Borussia Dortmund – Luuk De Jong (9/2)

PSV have been relentless domestically this season, as they have won almost every game in the Eredivisie and at the time of writing, remain unbeaten in the division. Perhaps it is not a surprise to see them as 5/4 favourites with betting markets to win the first leg at home, even though they are facing a tough opponent in Dortmund, who care currently fourth in the Bundesliga.

PSV have De Jong to thank a lot for their imperious form, having scored 26 goals in 33 appearances over all competitions, including two in five starts in the UCL. The captain leads by example, as he has also opened the scoring on seven occasions already this campaign. Nonetheless, we would not back against the striker to do so again on a big UCL night in front of his home fans.

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Porto vs Arsenal – Bukayo Saka (6/1)

With Gabriel Jesus injured and there being doubts over his fitness at the time of writing, Saka looks a safe bet to open the scoring when Arsenal travel to Porto. The winger recently reached a milestone of recording his 100th goal contribution for the Gunners in their 6-0 thrashing of West Ham United in the Premier League, and is on top form ahead of this fixture.

Indeed, Saka boasts 13 goals in 31 games across all competitions at the time of writing, including three in his debut UCL season. His consistency is shown by opening the scoring in three of his last five goalscoring appearances, and he could well do so again in Portugal. Arsenal are currently 4/5 favourites to win the tie, which makes Saka's odds even more alluring.

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Napoli vs Barcelona – Robert Lewandowski (5/1)

Perhaps the week's closest UCL affair pits Scudetto holders Napoli against the mighty Barcelona, with the first leg being played in Italy. Barcelona are slight 13/8 favourites to win this clash, given Napoli's poor Serie A form which sees them lingering in ninth place at the time of writing, and unable to defend their crown.

Lewandowski is so often the man Barca look to for inspiration, and is currently the third-highest UCL scorer of all time only behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The Pole has 15 goals in 32 matches across all competitions this campaign, but only one in the UCL so far. He has also only been the first goalscorer twice this season, but they have come in his last five appearances, and he will always pose a threat in the box.

Adam is a lead writer on Football Whispers. He is a big Arsenal fan, and also follows his local club Wealdstone, made famous by The Wealdstone Raider, of whom he has interviewed. Adam also follows darts, boxing, cricket and tennis, among many other sports.