Do Tottenham Really Want 5th Spot?
Tottenham ended their horrible run of form at Anfield on Sunday as an impressive 2-0 victory lifted them back ahead of Liverpool and into the 5th spot that will guarantee them European football next season. Goals from Rafael van der Vaart and a Luka Modric penalty were enough to see of Kenny Dalglish’s men and move Spurs into the driving seat for the 2011/12 Europa League.
With just one match of the season to go – a home match against relegation threatened Birmingham City – Spurs are certainly odds on favourites to be playing in Europe next year. However, with Champions League qualification now impossible, the question Spurs fans must ask is do they really want to qualify for the Europa League?
There was a time when playing in Europe was essential to attracting the best players and with Spurs hoping to hold on to the likes of Van der Vaart, Modric and Gareth Bale, it certainly would seem essential. But make no bones about it, the Europa League is no substitute for the Champions League and playing in the likes of Poland and Russia on a Thursday night is about as attractive a proposition as Vanessa Feltz in a string bikini.
For Stoke City, European qualification is a major honour and represents an exciting time for the club, but for a Spurs team fresh off defeating the likes of AC Milan and Internazionale, the Europa League may well be seen as a hindrance, not a bonus. The aim for all stars playing in Tottenham football shirts next season must be to finish in the top four and once again earn the right to mix it with Europe’s elite.
Unfortunately, arriving back late in the early hours of Friday morning is by no means ideal preparation for their Premier League campaign and it will undoubtedly lead to some dropped points along the way.
With Manchester City certain to strengthen this summer and Liverpool resurgent under Kenny Dalglish, Spurs need every bit of help and assistance they can get. Playing in Europe is certainly going to be the opposite of that and while the prospect of a European trophy will hold some appeal, it may do more damage than good to the long term prospects of Tottenham Hotspur.
Written by Eddie Smith, a sports blogger who writes about Premiership football kits.
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