Tottenham and Manchester City battle and make the Premier League title race

Hey there! The Premier League title race was arguably at its weirdest in North London on Tuesday, while FIFA is making big moves in the women’s game ahead of the FIFA Congress in Bangkok on Friday. I’m Pardeep Cattry with a globe-trotting update.

📺 Footy fix

All times U.S./Eastern

Wednesday, May 15
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 WSL: Tottenham vs. Chelsea, 2:15 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL: Brighton vs. Chelsea, 2:45 p.m. ➡️ Peacock
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL: Manchester United vs. Newcastle, 3 p.m. ➡️ USA Network
🇮🇹 Coppa Italia: Atalanta vs. Juventus, 3 p.m. ➡️ CBS Sports Network, Paramount+
🇫🇷 Ligue 1: Nice vs. PSG, 3 p.m. ➡️ beIN Sports
🇺🇸 MLS: Orlando vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m. ➡️ Apple TV+

Thursday, May 16
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Championship playoffs: Leeds vs. Norwich, 3 p.m. ➡️ ESPN+
🇺🇸 La Liga: Almeria vs. Barcelona, ​​3:30 pm ➡️ ESPN+

⚽ The Forward Line

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Manchester City take top spot

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Manchester City finally made up their game in hand on Tuesday, when they picked up a hard-fought 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Despite the scoreline extending City’s unbeaten run in the league that stretches as far back as December and confirming their status as the favorites to win the title yet again, very few things about the match were actually straightforward.

Though Erling Haaland’s second half brace led City to victory, Spurs manager Ange Postecoglou’s tactical shifts seemed to stump Pep Guardiola’s side for the entirety of the first half. The hosts led possession and limited City to just three shots and 0.35 expected goals, and as James Benge writes, they also took an aggressive approach that created some real trouble for the reigning champions.

  • Beneficial: “Before Erling Haaland’s 51st-minute opener, most of the threat City had created had been from offside positions or a miscued Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg clearance. Before his penalty in the 91st, they had been matched for possession, territory and expected goals. Ange Postecoglu had not compromised his approach in possession but the aggressive deploying of James Maddison and in particular Pape Matar Sarr as pressing forwards gave Guardiola plenty of headaches. Better final balls in the first half and the chances were there for a counterattacking Tottenham.”

Spurs’ strong showing ultimately made a weird situation weirder. The on-field display almost played a supporting role to the off-field discourse surrounding the match, which included Arsenal fans pleading with their bitter rivals for a victory that would assist them in the title race and Tottenham supporters hoping their team would avoid the favor. The two storylines had their meeting points at multiple times during the actual match, but Son Heung-min’s shot in the 86th minute — when the score was still 1-0 — perhaps did the best job of exemplifying the strange scenario.

  • Beneficial: “How close it was to all falling apart though, a horror-struck Tottenham faithful seeing one of the greatest finishers of his generation with the simplest of chances only to roll it into the right leg of Stefan Ortega. There will never be any convincing Arsenal fans that he did not miss on purpose. It was not like it was the only moment where Tottenham nearly handed the title to their great rivals. Dejan Kulusevski nearly poked the ball through Ortega’s legs.”

As if surviving this overwhelmingly bizarre episode of the North London rivalry was not enough, Postecoglou arguably kept the conversation longer than it needed to in his post-match remarks. He took offense at the constant suggestions that Spurs fans might actually want their team to lose, saying that “the last 48 hours has revealed to me that the foundations are fairly fragile.” He did not get into specifics, adding that “you can make your own assessments of what’s happened.” Benge argues, though, that there’s little that’s fundamentally wrong with the supporter sentiment over the last few days.

  • Beneficial: “It does not require much parsing out. Arsenal’s win over Manchester United on Sunday had thrust Spurs supporters into a waking nightmare. Aston Villa’s failure to overcome Liverpool the following day hadn’t snapped them out of it. … Perhaps, however, this one night sits outside the Tottenham story. The conflicted feelings of the fanbase, even those rooting for loss, are natural. The prize on offer is hardly the sort that fans would bite your hand off for either. Another season of Champions League revenue, Champions League ticket prices and not having much of a chance of winning the Champions League (though Borussia Dortmund’s dart to Wembley is a reminder that a middling side can often break out from the pack). Spurs supporters have had quite enough of not winning trophies without handing them to the other lot down the Seven Sisters’ Road. They’ve had years enough of ‘we won the league at White Hart Lane’ without the sense of being unwilling accomplices to Arsenal glory. If their season offers nothing to celebrate, well at least neither does their rival’s.”

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🔗  Midfield Link Play

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🌍 FIFA makes big changes in the women’s game

Two days before FIFA will make its host selection for the 2027 Women’s World Cup, the sport’s governing body is making other big changes to the calendar amid the women’s game’s rapid growth.

Chief among them is the creation of a Women’s Club World Cup, which FIFA announced on Wednesday. Though few specifics are available, the initial edition of the competition will feature 16 teams and take place in January and February of 2026. It’s in line with other expansionary efforts across the sport to further professionalize the women’s game — FIFA hosted the biggest edition of the Women’s World Cup last year with 32 teams, while Concacaf will hold the first edition of the W Champions Cup this year. It also resembles FIFA’s recent expansion of the men’s Club World Cup to 32 teams, with the expanded version of that competition to take place next year in the United States.

Amid increasing concern in the women’s game around fixture congestion, FIFA also reduced the number of international windows from six to five for the cycle running form 2025 to 2029.

As it pertains to the host selection for the 2027 Women’s World Cup, FIFA could also forge some new paths in the women’s game with its choice on Friday. Brazil are the favorites to win the rights, but even if the FIFA Council chooses the joint bid from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, it will bring the competition to new places. The 2027 competition, wherever it lands, will likely act as a transformational moment for the growth of the women’s game in the host nation, especially after a successful 2023 competition in Australia and New Zealand. Last year’s event set Women’s World Cup attendance records and generated $570 million in revenue, per Front Office Sports, which will make 2027 an all-important follow-up act for the game’s top stakeholders.

🔗  Top Stories

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL permutations: With the title race, qualification for the Europa and Conference Leagues and relegation still hanging in the balance, here’s what scenarios could play out on the final day of Premier League action.

🏆 Italian Cup: Here’s a preview of Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final between Atalanta and Juventus, plus a look at the sights and sounds in Rome.

🇫🇷 Mbappe’s big summer: Here’s a look at the whirlwind 48 hours leading up to Kylian Mbappe final home game as a Paris Saint-Germain player, plus coverage of a Real Madrid front line that might be too stacked once he shows up.

🇮🇹 Bologna in UCL: Bologna officially qualified for the Champions League, marking their first time in Europe’s top club competition since 1965. Here’s a look at the journey that got them to the sport’s highest levels.

🇺🇸 Reversing fortunes: Over the weekend in the NWSL, the likes of the Portland Thorns, North Carolina Courage and Houston Dash showcased that their early season form might not define them — for better of for worse.

🇨🇦 Marsch to Canada: Jesse Marsch is the new head coach of Canada’s men’s national team and will lead them at this year’s Copa America and the 2026 World Cup.

🦩 No Messi, big problem?: Lionel Messi is a doubt for Inter Miami’s match against Orlando on Wednesday, which could impact the team’s five game winning streak.

🇩🇪 Leverkusen’s unbeaten run: Bayer Leverkusen are now in the midst of Europe’s longest unbeaten streak at 50 games, so sporting director Simon Rolfes broke it down in an interview on Morning Footy.

👍 The best of the best: Here’s a ranking of the top 10 free transfers in the game, as well as a look at Christian Pulisic’s best club campaigns as his strong first season with AC Milan comes to a close.

⚽🏀 The Messi and Clark effects: As the WNBA aims to capitalize on the popularity of Caitlin Clark, it might be able to mix and match their approach with MLS as it centers Lionel Messi’s star power.

💰  The Back Line

💵 Best bets

  • Premier League: Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Chelsea, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Cole Palmer to score (+130)
    — Cole Palmer’s an easy pick to score in the midst of a 20 goal season in the Premier League, and it’s especially true considering Chelsea’s recent form. They have lost just once in their last 13 league games and with a chance to play in Europe next season, there’s plenty of incentive for Palmer to play a big part on Wednesday.
  • Premier League: Manchester United vs. Newcastle United, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
  • 💰 THE PICK: Alexander Isak to score (+130) — Newcastle United head to Old Trafford with just one loss in their last eight in the league, a run in which they scored four or more goals against four different opponents. Alexander Isak has played a major part in their success in attack, with eight goals during that chunk of time. He seems likely to add to his account on Wednesday, especially against a porous United defense.

📺 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.

📦 Box 2 Box (Weekday afternoons): The news-driven show quickly recaps all the latest headlines from around the world with panelists previewing the top matchups of the day. Catch Box 2 Box on CBS Sports Golazo Network on the CBS Sports app, PlutoTV and Paramount+.

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+.

🎽Shop Now: Elevate your game-day style, shop curated collections inspired by Golazo Network. Paramount will receive a portion of sales.

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