UEFA Champions League qualification: Will fifth place be enough for Tottenham?

As the end of the Premier League season nears closer, the typical battles for the three key finishes are commencing: the title race, the relegation battle race, and the race for qualification to the Champions League.

However, whilst the former two are definitively decided by Premier League fixtures alone, the latter may be influenced by external competitions.

An expanded Champions League format in the coming 2024/25 campaign means two extra spots will be handed out to the two countries with the best performing teams in this years UEFA competitions. Therefore, should England be one of the two best performing countries, the additional English representative would go to the fifth placed team in the table – as the top four clubs are already guaranteed a spot,

Though, England receiving that extra place is certainly not a foregone conclusion,. UEFA’s season country co-efficient currently places Italy as the best performing country, with Germany at second and England in third. As such, despite Opta Analyst’s predictor still giving England a 57.8% chance of finishing in the top two (vs Germany’s 41.8%), the nation of both the current Champions League and Europa Conference League holders would not do so as it stands.

Following Tottenham’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle this Saturday, and Aston Villa’s astounding 2-0 victory away at title challengers Arsenal on Sunday, Ange Postecoglou’s side will likely be the sufferer of these rankings, with Villa currently sitting three points above them in fourth place.

Furthermore, although Spurs do hold a game in hand, The Lilywhites are still set to play Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City in the run-in, thus leaving them potentially reliant on Premier League rivals to get the job done in Europe – especially against German sides – if they want Champions League football next season.

However, the first-leg results are unlikely to encourage Tottenham’s hopes of this outcome.

Liverpool’s shocking 3-0 home loss to Atalanta gives them a mountain to climb in Bergamo – even with The Reds’ record of miraculous European comebacks. Aston Villa 2-1 win only gives them a narrow lead as they travel to Lille. Meanwhile, City’s tie against Real Madrid still strongly remains in the balance at 3-3.

That leaves West Ham and Arsenal, both of whom face German competition. Yet, with West Ham needing to overturn a 2-0 deficit against the unbeaten and newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen, Arsenal are perhaps the English side with the most power over the UEFA coefficient rankings.

Currently drawing 2-2, The Gunners will travel to Munich this coming Wednesday to face Thomas Tuchel’s side, as they look to reach the Champions League Semi-Final for the first time since 2009. Consequently, this leaves Tottenham fans in a somewhat strange situation as they hope for elite European competition next season…

Do they root for Mikel Arteta’s side to give fifth place greater chance of Champions League football? Or do they trust in securing fourth place themselves and rally for their former stalwarts Eric Dier and club-record goal scorer Harry Kane to lead Bayern to victory and knock out their bitter North London rivals?

Travis Levison | Get Football

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