Arsenal make a statement, now it’s Liverpool and Man City’s turn to respond; Is Arne Slot right for LFC?

Hey there! The Premier League title race has yet to quit and so another exciting batch of games is upon us, all while the managerial merry-go-round is in full swing. I’m Pardeep Cattry with an England-centric midweek check-in.

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All times U.S./Eastern

Wednesday, April 24
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL: Everton vs. Liverpool, 3 p.m. ➡️ Peacock
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL: Manchester United vs. Sheffield United, 3 p.m. ➡️ Peacock
🌍 CCC: Columbus Crew vs. Monterrey, 8:15 p.m. ➡️ FS1

Thursday, April 25
🇮🇹 Serie A: Udinese vs. Roma, 2 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL: Brighton vs. Manchester City, 3 p.m. ➡️ USA Network

⚽ The Forward Line

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Liverpool, Manchester City eye response after Arsenal win

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Arsenal opened the latest chapter in the Premier League title race with a resounding 5-0 win over Chelsea on Tuesday, taking them three points clear of Liverpool and four ahead of Manchester City in the process. This marks the Gunners’ second win in a row since a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa that put in a huge dent in their quest for the title, and to Nigel Reo-Coker served as a statement of intent from Arsenal in the final weeks of the season.

  • Reo-Coker: “It was men vs. boys and it was just an embarrassment. Arsenal were sensational and [Martin] Odegaard was in fine form. The passes that he was making, he really was up for it. Arsenal were doing what they have to do if they’re trying to chase for a Premier League title. They have to stay perfect, simple as that.”

There’s one very big wrinkle in Arsenal’s return to form, though — Liverpool have the chance to level on points with them today with a victory, while Manchester City can overtake them once they make up their two games in hand.

First up are Liverpool, who also are back to winning ways after a draw against Manchester United and a loss to Crystal Palace marked major setbacks in their chase for Premier League glory. Sunday’s 3-1 win over Fulham offers up enough confidence before a high-stakes matchup against rivals Everton, who are in the midst of a relegation battle that might be impacted by one final points deduction. This is Liverpool’s game to lose, especially since Jurgen Klopp had the chance to rest some of his top attackers over the weekend. Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez are amongst those who were on the bench against Fulham and will likely feature in a game that could be a big one for Salah’s golden boot chances — he has 17 goals, three behind joint leaders Erling Haaland and Cole Palmer. Diogo Jota, though, will miss the game after picking up an injury over the weekend.

On Thursday, it’s City’s turn to re-assert themselves in the title race after a break from league play to win their FA Cup semifinal on Saturday. Pep Guardiola will have to cope without Haaland, who missed the FA Cup victory over Chelsea and will not be ready in time for the trip to Brighton, though the manager insists “it is not a big issue.” John Stones exited Saturday’s win with an injury but will be available for Brighton, while Phil Foden is also in the clear despite reportedly missing Tuesday’s training.

Considering the cast of characters available for City, which includes the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Julian Alvarez, they are expedited to pick up the win on Thursday as the title race titles in their favor. It’s not just that the remaining points on the board favors them — they have a comparatively easier schedule than Arsenal and Liverpool, and are already the oddsmakers’ favorite to do so. The title race is very much in their control, especially in the midst of their 29-game unbeaten run across all competitions.

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🔗  Midfield Link Play

🔴 Slot leads race to replace Klopp

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The battle to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool is seemingly reaching its conclusion, but perhaps not the one many were expecting. Feyenoord’s Arne Slot is now the Reds’ choice to be the new manager, per The Athletic, with the two clubs already engaged in negotiations around his exit. The Dutch side have reportedly already rejected Liverpool’s first offer for Slot’s services, which was $9.6 million.

Slot impressed with Feyenoord after winning the Eredivisie last season and was in the mix for the vacancy at Tottenham Hotspur shortly afterward, which he reportedly turned down before Ange Postecoglou took the post. The Dutchman also took Feyenoord to the final of the UEFA Europa Conference League final in 2022 and won this season’s KNVB Cup, offering a good match both in terms of style and accomplishments for an ambitious Liverpool side. There may be some risks translating his talents from the Netherlands to England, but Michael Lahoud argues that the easy comparison between him and Manchester United’s Erik ten Hag is not apples to apples.

  • Lahoud: “I think the big difference between [him] and Erik ten Hag — Manchester United didn’t have an identity before ten Hag got there, and ten Hag has yet to stamp his identity on this side. Counter-attack football, it’s a wash. When you look at the profile of players that Liverpool have, they match what Arne Slot wants to do in terms of pressing, in terms of wingbacks getting up, in terms of midfielders. Quinten Timber Igor Paixao — what he’s gotten out of them in European football and in league football, in cup football, it really matches the profile and philosophy.”

The choice to hire Slot comes after Sporting Lisbon’s Ruben Amorim was the longtime favorite for the role, but conversations reportedly never advanced and he has since been linked to the West Ham job. Many also had Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso, a former Liverpool player, in the mix but he opted to stick around in Germany for a follow-up after lifting the Bundesliga for the first time in the club’s history.

The risks associated with Slot are ones that could be assigned to any one of the candidates in the running to succeed Klopp, who was essentially a one-of-a-kind choice when he had already established himself as one of the game’s elite managers thanks to his spell at Borussia Dortmund and was also easily available. No such candidate exists this time around, but Liverpool’s search for a new manager was also an exercise in identifying the next generation of top-tier coaches. These names could pop up again as a large batch of clubs recruits a new manager — Bayern Munich are still on the hunt for their successor to Thomas Tuchel, while Manchester United could be on the look following an abysmal season under ten Hag.

Slot might have found his seat in this round of managerial musical chairs, but the game is far from over — and a big summer awaits.

🔗  Top Stories

🇮🇹 Champions of Italy: Inter became Serie A champions on Monday with a win over AC Milan, a stunning turnaround for Simone Inzaghi who was almost fired and under pressure to deliver results this season.

🇺🇸 Dest injury: USMNT defender Sergino Dest faces up to nine months out with a knee injury, which could leave Gregg Berhalter in a tough spot for this summer’s Copa America.

⚫⚪ Allegri out?: Juventus could be another club looking for a new manager after a lackluster season under Massimiliano Allegri, in which their style of play reminds Nigel Reo-Coker of “the dinosaur age.”

NWSL rewind: Attacking prowess was very much on display over the weekend in the NWSL, with the likes of the Washington Spirit and the Orlando Pride succeeding — while NJ/NY Gotham FC and the San Diego Wave need to go back to the drawing board.

🔴 Forest’s complaint: Here’s an explainer on Nottingham Forest’s complaint about the officiating in their loss to Everton, which prompted an investigation from the FA following several social media posts from the club.

🏆 Concacaf Champions Cup: Here’s a preview of the Columbus Crew’s CCC semifinal against Monterrey, in which they have much to prove as the last remaining MLS team in the competition.

🔮 Mbappe’s future: With Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid still standing in the UEFA Champions League, here’s what a final between the two could mean for the ongoing saga of Kylian Mbappe’s impending departure from the French capital.

💰  The Back Line

💵 Best bets

  • Premier League: Manchester United vs. Sheffield United, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Bruno Fernandes to score (+160)
    — Despite the embarrassment of avoiding crisis in the FA Cup semifinals against Coventry City, Manchester United are the favorites to get the job done against last place Sheffield United. That does not necessarily mean Erik ten Hag’s team will avoid chaos, but even on their worst days, they tend to score and with five goals in his last five games, Bruno Fernandes is perhaps the likeliest of United’s squad to grab another on Wednesday.
  • Premier League: relegation battle
  • 💰 THE PICK: Nottingham Forest to be relegated (+150) — The odds may not be in Everton’s favor in Wednesday’s Merseyside derby against Liverpool, but with a fairly easy schedule compared to some of the other teams around them and the benefit of currently being above the relegation zone, their odds to go down sit at +1200. That’s potentially bad news for Nottingham Forest, who are only out of the bottom three thanks to goal difference and are coming off a loss to Everton over the weekend.

📺 What’s on CBS Sports Golazo Network

☀️ Morning Footy (Weekdays 8-10 a.m.): Hosts Susannah Collins, Charlie Davies, Nico Cantor and Alexis Guerreros help fans get their day started on the network’s flagship morning show with highlights, interviews and the biggest soccer storylines. Morning Footy is also available in podcast form, so you’ll never have to miss an episode.

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3️⃣ Attacking Third (Monday, Thursday): The leading women’s soccer podcast and social brand is now a live studio show. The NWSL season is back and our coverage of the women’s game is stronger than ever. Our analysts will be breaking down the USWNT, NWSL and European domestic season all year long.

👟 Kickin’ It (Tuesdays): CBS Sports Golazo Network’s unfiltered interview show releases Tuesday. Hosted by Kate Abdo, Clint Dempsey, Mo Edu and Charlie Davies, the group chat candidly with the biggest names from the Beautiful Game and share their stories from on and off the pitch. 

Call it What You Want (Monday night): A weekly podcast where Jimmy Conrad, Jesse Marsch and Charlie Davies cover all things USMNT and the state of the beautiful game in the United States.

🥅 Scoreline (Daily): Scoreline is the newest place for fans to catch up on all the biggest news and results impacting global football, match highlights from the top soccer competitions and all the can’t-miss goals from the day’s action, starting Thursday and airing seven days a week.

📺 How to watch: CBS Sports Golazo Network is a free 24/7 channel exclusively dedicated to offering unparalleled coverage of all the top soccer competitions worldwide. You can stream for free on the CBS Sports app, Pluto TV and Paramount+.

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