Tottenham are hoping to return to the Champions League after a two-season absence.
Spurs’ run to the 2019 final was followed by a disastrous 2019/20 campaign that saw them humiliated by RB Leipzig in the last 16 just before the pandemic hit, while they finished sixth in the Premier League that term.
Under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, Tottenham looked well-positioned to mount a title challenge the following season, but their campaign unravelled in 2021 and the Portuguese coach was given his marching orders as Spurs just about recovered to finish seventh – their lowest final position since 2009.
Nuno Espirito Santo was in the job for mere months before he was sacked in November, and now Antonio Conte is the man tasked with leading Tottenham back into Europe’s top club competition.
Here’s what Spurs need to do to secure Champions League qualification.
The good news for Tottenham is that, after Arsenal’s 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace, they are in charge of their top-four fate.
The Gunners do retain a game in hand over their north London rivals, but would need to win it by at least five goals in order to close the goal difference gap and even then Spurs will have a superior goals scored record.
There is also a six-pointer north London derby coming on May 12 in what will be the third-last game of the season for both sides.
But ultimately, if Tottenham win all of their remaining games or have a superior record to Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham down the stretch, then they will definitely finish in the top four. Their destiny is in their own hands.
Tottenham Premier League fixtures
Aston Villa vs Tottenham (17:30) – 9/4/2022
Tottenham vs Brighton (12:30) – 16/4/2022
Brentford vs Tottenham (17:30) – 23/4/2022
Tottenham vs Leicester (15:00) – 30/4/2022
Liverpool vs Tottenham (19:45) – 7/5/2022
Tottenham vs Arsenal (19:45) – 12/5/2022
Tottenham vs Burnley (12:00) – 15/5/2022
Norwich vs Tottenham (16:00) – 22/5/2022
Ok, scratch that, their fate is 99.99999% in their own hands.
Spurs fans are still scarred by the events of 2012 where they finished fourth in the Premier League but were denied a spot in the Champions League after Chelsea won that season’s European Cup.
Fortunately for Tottenham, those rules have since been amended, but not enough to give them complete security.
UEFA now allows a maximum of five teams per nation to qualify for the Champions League. England became the first country to reach this total for the 2017/18 campaign – Chelsea, Spurs, Man City and Liverpool qualified via their Premier League finishes, while Man Utd gained entry after winning the Europa League.
It’s on the cards that the Premier League could see five clubs qualify once again with West Ham unlikely to finish in the top four but still going strong in the Europa League.
However, there is one rather unlikely scenario which would see Spurs miss out on the Champions League even if they finished fourth again.
If West Ham were to win the Europa League and Chelsea were to win the Champions League while both finishing outside of the top four, then the side that finishes fourth will have to surrender their spot.
But it seems unlikely that this hypothetical will become a reality as it would require the Blues to slip beneath Spurs, another side to usurp the Lilywhites into third place and for Thomas Tuchel’s men to overturn their 3-1 quarter-final deficit against Real Madrid, all while David Moyes’ Hammers march on to Europa League glory.
It’s a safe bet that this won’t come into play.