There is a scenario that could see Tottenham miss out on next season’s Champions League – even if they secure a top-four finish.
Spurs are still firmly in the top-four race following their comfortable 4-0 win over Sheffield United last weekend.
However, there’s little margin for error as Ryan Mason’s side realistically must win their remaining four Premier League games of the season – against Leeds United, Wolves, Aston Villa and Leicester City, and hope the teams directly above them drop points.
Currently, the Foxes and Chelsea are the favourites to join the two Manchester clubs in the Champions League next season.
The north London outfit are seven and five points behind Leicester and Chelsea respectively, but Brendan Rodgers’ side have shown in the past that they can be vulnerable.
That could give Spurs hope of sealing a top-four finish especially as they face Leicester on the last day of the season and the Foxes still have to visit Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.
If Tottenham are able to climb into the top four, they may need to finish no lower than third to secure an automatic spot at Europe’s top table for next season.
This is because Chelsea are in the Champions League final and Arsenal could be Europa League finalists come Thursday night.
Due to a change in UEFA regulations back in 2013, no more than five teams from the same league can compete in Europe’s elite competition and Tottenham – just like six years ago – would be in danger of missing out if they don’t climb up the Premier League table in their remaining four games.
As a result, this provides a nightmare scenario for how Spurs could finish fourth and still miss out on the Champions League next season.
The nightmare scenario is if Chelsea win the Champions League AND Arsenal win the Europa League – and neither finish in the top-four – then only the top three in the Premier League would qualify for the Champions League.
To put it kindly, unless Spurs were to finish third then their participation in the competition next season would not be guaranteed as they’ll be praying for one of Chelsea and Arsenal (if they overcome Villarreal) to lose their respective finals.
With that said, Spurs aren’t the only side facing this nightmare scenario as West Ham United and Liverpool will be wary of what a top-four finish could mean.
And Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has already delivered his verdict on this happening.
“It is not nice if you are fourth and then you get kicked out because of another team winning the Champions League. That’s not cool,” he said, as per the Daily Mail. “These are the rules at the moment so we have to accept them and if they are wrong, then we have to change them.
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“But at the moment, we have to work with that.
“There is a good chance again of having two all-English finals in Europe. That makes it really tricky. You could end up with six teams (qualifying) in the Champions League.
“I have no problem with that. I would love it.”