Technically, Tottenham Hotspur has a chance to make the top four but it is about as good as mine of winning the National Lottery, non-existent.
As Manchester United puttered their way to defeat against Leicester City, the Foxes reached 66 points, which is a bridge too far for the Spurs. Maybe Chelsea, Liverpool, and West Ham could all lose enough games to allow for a Tottenham miracle but that is what it would be at this point a miracle. Now the question becomes if Tottenham has any European football at all.
Can Tottenham reach Europa League?
With the addition of the UEFA Europa Conference League, now only two Europa League places are given to the Premier League. The first and most obvious route is finishing fifth in the league.
Right now Tottenham is on the outside looking in on the top five teams in the Premier League. However, finishing fifth is the only way to guarantee a place at the Europa League table at this point for Tottenham.
Second path more likely for Tottenham to reach UEL
The second path to Europa League for a Premier League team is through the FA Cup. The final, which will be contested this weekend between Chelsea and Leicester City, does also come with a ticket to UEFA’s second-tier competition.
Given Tottenham cannot finish the top four, the Spurs need both Chelsea and Leicester to finish in the top five. I say top five because according to the Premier League, if the FA Cup winner finishes top five, then their place in the “UEL group stage” goes to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.
In other words, as long as both Chelsea and Leicester City finish in the top five, the sixth-placed team in the Premier League gets a ticket to Europa League. That final Europa League slot could go to the seventh-placed team in the event that Chelsea wins the Champions League but finishes outside the top four.
Only if Chelsea both win the Champions League and finish outside the top four can the Premier League have FIVE teams in the Champions League. If that happens, then the next two ranked teams would both get the call to Europa League.
The key is Chelsea winning AND finishing outside the top four because if the winner of the Champions League is in the top four, their place “does not transfer to another team”, according to the Premier League.
Of course, we must remember, even if everything breaks right for TWO teams to qualify based on the position for Europa League, Tottenham needs to pass at least one of either Liverpool or West Ham. Given the run-ins, both teams have that is a big task for the Spurs.
Spurs may get Conference League or nothing
Realistically, seventh may be as good as it gets for Tottenham. The loss to Leeds or any of the other 11 matches where Spurs dropped points from a winning position can be blamed. The idea of Chelsea pulling off some craziness to help Tottenham seems great but again very unlikely.
Most likely, the seventh-placed team is going to get the new 3rd tier competition Europa Conference League. Originally the EFL Cup was the Tottenham ticket to this competition but that did not work out. So now, they are potentially looking for the leftovers from Manchester City.
We already know City will finish top four – and likely win the league. So the EFL winner’s position in the playoff stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League is already going to someone else, that is a given.
Further, with the odds of either Chelsea and Leicester finishing in the top five very high, it is quite likely that the seventh-placed team goes to this new and unknown competition, where victory assures participation in the following season’s Europa League Group Stage. It almost seems like destiny for Spurs to go there or potentially finish eighth with no Europa at all.
Any way we look at things, this is not how anyone wanted the season to turn out, now about all Spurs can do is win out and hope for the best.