Do We Want Spurs In The Europa? by Dan Smith
We are half way through the group stages of the European Competitions. We are in such a healthy position in ours we can already start to think about the knock out stages and possible opponents. In terms of the Champions League there’s a realistic chance that both Spurs and Man United may fail to advance to the last 32.
While it’s fun to laugh at Spurs from a banter point of view, do we really want to be facing them in the Europa League?
Gone are the days where winning the former UEFA Cup was so simple the likes of Middlesbrough and Fulham were getting to finals. UEFA decided a couple of years back to change how clubs would be seeded. In the old criteria we would often be in Pot A ahead of champions of other nations based on our past results. This would mean bizarre scenarios such as Man City being Champions of their country but ranked as the weakest out of the 4 Premiership representatives. Now the policy is you are rewarded for where you finish domestically.
Morally it’s the correct change, unfortunately for us it coincided with are relegation into the second-tier tournament.
Designed to make their premiere competition more competitive it has had a domino effect. It’s now positioned where a top name is almost guaranteed to drop down from one cup to another. There’s even a chance PSG could become possible opponents. While some gooners would welcome playing Spurs over two legs, the reward is too big. Winning the Europa remains our most realistic way of getting back into the Champions League.
As much as you need quality to win silverware you need luck as well. That good fortune could be who enters the last 32 after xmas. It’s bad luck enough that Chelsea are also playing Thursdays. Man, United took this route to get back into the CL. The hardest team on paper they faced was Ajax. We on the other hand were unfortunate not to dodge Atletico Madrid, who were clear favourites the moment they got knocked out of the Champion’s League. So the fewer big names finish third in their CL groups the better for us. The easier route to the final the better.
While a North London Derby semi-final would be a cracking atmosphere the risk of them knocking us out and having that to gloat over? The juice wouldn’t be worth the squeeze.