Fifth place in the Premier League could be enough for Tottenham to qualify for the Champions league because of Manchester City’s ban from the competition, according to the Guardian.
City have been fined £25 million by UEFA and barred from competing in the Champions League for the next two seasons after falling foul of Financial Fair Play regulations. As a result, social media has been abuzz with speculation among fans of the clubs chasing fourth place.
Those supporters are hopeful second place City’s absence from the Champions League means a fifth place finish in the Premier League will be enough to qualify for Europe’s elite competition.
And now, the Guardian is claiming that is indeed the case, as long as City finish in the top four – which looks almost certain – and their ban is not overturned on appeal. Even if City do appeal it’s likely that their ban and/or fine could be reduced rather than scrapped entirely.
Not that this means that any Champions League challengers can take it for granted that a fifth placed finish will be enough to see them qualify. Any legal challenge by Manchester City to this decision could well result in the ban having to be postponed, while a decision is being made. That may result in fifth place being the target for the 2020/21 season, rather than this one.
Spurs have been outside of the top four all season but have closed the gap on Leicester City and Chelsea since Jose Mourinho took over as manager. Chelsea look like the side most likely to slip up, but Tottenham aren’t the only team looking to take advantage – Sheffield United are currently fifth while Everton and Manchester United can both go above Mourinho’s men this weekend.
The advantage that Sheffield United and Everton have is that neither are involved in European competition this season and can therefore consistently field their first choice teams in the Premier League. Neither should be ruled out for a fifth placed finish, even if the top four is a steep task.
Tottenham face RB Leipzig in the Champions League last-16, while Chelsea go up against Bayern Munich. Champions League odds suggest that Spurs have a chance of progressing, but Chelsea will probably go out. Ironically, such results could benefit Chelsea’s hopes of qualifying for the competition next season, with Manchester United looking set for a lengthy run in the Europa League.
In any case, City’s plight is good news for Tottenham, who should be motivated by the possibility of their season objective becoming slightly more simple than before.