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Happy Friday! Jonathan Johnson here ahead of another major weekend of action in the soccer world which includes El Clasico, FA Cup semifinals, River Plate vs. Boca Juniors and even Paris Saint-Germain vs. Olympique Lyonnais.  Let's get right to it!

📺 Footy fix

All times U.S./Eastern

Friday, Apr. 19
🇮🇹 Serie A: Cagliari vs. Juventus, 2:45 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+

Saturday, Apr. 20
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 FA Cup: Manchester City vs. Chelsea, 12:15 p.m. ➡️ ESPN+
🇺🇸 NWSL: Washington Spirit vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC, 1 p.m. ➡️ CBS, Paramount+
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Arsenal, 2:30 p.m. ET ➡️ USA Network
🇺🇸 USL: Chattanooga Red Wolves vs. Northern Colorado, 7:30 p.m. ➡️ CBS Sports Golazo Network

Sunday, Apr. 21
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 WSL: Manchester City vs. West Ham United, 9:15 a.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 FA Cup: Coventry City vs. Manchester United, 10:30 a.m. ➡️ ESPN+
🇦🇷 Argentina: River Plate vs. Boca Juniors, 2:30 p.m. ➡️ CBS Sports Golazo Network
🇪🇸 La Liga: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 3 p.m. ➡️ ESPN+

⚽ The Forward Line

💔 Premier League collapse as City and Arsenal miss UCL semifinals

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The UEFA Champions League semifinals are now set after another memorable week of quarterfinal action which might have -- somehow -- topped the previous week's opening legs. With a total of 32 goals across eight games this past round, we were not left wanting more goals as Paris Saint-Germain's victory over Barcelona hit 10 goals over both legs and Borussia Dortmund's triumph against Atletico Madrid fell one short Tuesday. Just 24 hours later, Manchester City were dumped out on penalties by Real Madrid after a thrilling eight-goal exchange and Bayern Munich edged Arsenal with a comparatively low five goals across the two games scored there. 

  • Chuck Booth: "Thomas 'Tactics' Tuchel rolled out two left backs with Alphonso Davies suspended for the home leg against Arsenal and they proceeded to put Bukayo Saka in their pocket and advance to the final four of the Champions League. While everything in league play has been forgettable for Bayern Munich, it won't matter if they win the entire tournament, cementing Tuchel's strength in knockout competitions. Harry Kane may be the focal point for Bayern but there is so much talent in the squad that they can give anyone trouble on their day. Like Dortmund, their issue is that they'll be matched up against Real Madrid defensively. Bayern have had wobbles but when Tuchel is coaching a team, they usually win in the Champions League as his 40-10-15 all-time record in the competition would suggest. They have quite the chance."

Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta's men endured a bad week for Premier League clubs on the continental scene but it was to get worse so more on that shortly. Spain are safeguarding their historic second spot in Europe's overall rankings and staying ahead of Italy but the gap is not that wide and Barca's exit to PSG could ultimately be costly while also creating an intriguing dynamic ahead of El Clasico this weekend with a jubilant Real and a despondent Catalan side. Bayern and Dortmund, however, contributed towards the impressive Bundesliga showing which now has Germany closing on an extra UCL berth at the expense of their English rivals. 

Don't miss USL on CBS Sports Golazo Network


🔗 Midfield Link Play

🏆 Liverpool, West Ham and Milan fall in UEL

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Arguably what has cost England most on the continental scene this past week or so has been Liverpool and West Ham United's failure to reach the UEFA Europa League semifinals. The Reds have seen two potential pieces of silverware slip through Jurgen Klopp's fingers with the UEL following the FA Cup this week after an unexpected defeat to Atalanta BC over two legs was confirmed which also partly accounts for Serie A's excellent showing this year which has earned an extra Champions League berth for the league. The Hammers' demise was just as costly -- if not more so -- given that it came against German opponents in newly crowned Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen with England's interest in the top two European competitions now over.

  • Booth: "In January when Jurgen Klopp announced his intentions to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, taking a step back from day-to-day management, it felt like the club would use that news as a rallying cry to win a treble, taking part in the Premier League, EFL Cup, FA Cup and Europa Leauge. Thursday, as the Reds crashed out of the Europa League at the hands of Atalanta, winning the second leg 1-0 but falling on aggregate 3-1, it means the EFL Cup victory over Chelsea may be their only silverware of the season. Despite only being two points behind Manchester City in the league, there's a feeling of inevitability now that the league lead has now slipped out of the Red's hands."

Italians are very much in the mix for an all-Calcio final with Atalanta and Roma on either side of the draw, although it was a surprise to see Milan fail to advance past Daniele De Rossi's side with that feat likely contributing towards the former Italy international being extended as Giallorossi boss this week. A bigger surprise still was Olympique de Marseille getting through to face Atalanta which is an improbable semifinal pairing given that many expected it to be Liverpool vs. SL Benfica before this week's second legs. OM needed penalties to see off the Portuguese giants as Ligue 1's impressive resurgence continues with Les Phoceens making history along with PSG in reaching European semifinals in the same season for the first time in their collective history. Lille OSC almost made it three from three but Aston Villa -- England's only remaining UEFA candidates now -- managed to scrape to a 2-1 loss in France before Emi Martinez took center stage to help Unai Emery's men progress from the spot to keep faint Premier League hopes alive.

🔗  Top Stories

1️⃣ Ranking UCL finals: Dreaming up finals featuring Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at Wembley with many different subplots.

🤓 Thomas "tactics" Tuchel: How the German genius could lead Bayern Munich to season-saving success in Europe after seeing off Arsenal to set up Real Madrid date.

🇩🇪 Germany extend Julian Nagelsmann: What next for Bayern after Germany extend former Bavarian boss who had emerged as a candidate for a shock return to Allianz Arena after Euro 2024?

🥲 Arsenal's pride: The Gunners should take heart from their Champions League run which ended against Tuchel's Bayern and should be seen as a start instead of an end.

🧙‍♂️ Christian Pulisic as a No. 10: Does the USMNT star need to build on his career season in Italy with a change in position to become more of the focal point of the team?

2️⃣ Ranking UEL finals: Dream scenarios featuring Bayer Leverkusen, AS Roma, Atalanta BC and Olympique de Marseille in the Dublin final.

🇮🇹 Thiago Motta's Bologna: Meet Italy's possible new UEFA Champions League representatives led by the former Italy international midfielder and Joshua Zirkzee.

👏 NJ/NY Gotham focus: One of the clubs expected to make light of the NWSL schedule anxiety and go on to unprecedented success.

💰 The Back Line

💵 Best bet

  • La Liga: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Sunday, 3 p.m.
  • 💰 THE PICK: Barca win and both to score (+500) -- El Clasico is falling at an interesting moment with Real buoyed by their UEFA Champions League success against Manchester City in midweek and Barcelona totally crushed by their defeat to Paris Saint-Germain. The reaction to such adversity will be key for Xavi's men and the gap between themselves and Carlo Ancelotti's side could actually aid the Catalan giants here. Expect to see a motivated Barca looking to take their anger out on Real while Los Blancos could be a little complacent given their eight-point lead in La Liga which would still be five even with a loss. Given the Blaugrana's recent form up until Ronald Araujo's red card vs. PSG, could this be some sort of consolation victory for Barcelona fans?

📺 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 new unfiltered interview show returns 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 appPluto TV and Paramount+.