• Analysis

Conference League could hand Arsenal, Everton or Spurs a major problem

Europa Conference League
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Arsenal and Tottenham are two of three Premier League clubs that could qualify for the Europa Conference League, but do they really want to?

Arsenal, Tottenham, and Everton head into the final day of the Premier League season with a chance of qualifying for the Europa Conference League.

Spurs currently hold the all-important seventh-place in the league standings. With West Ham three points above in sixth, Ryan Mason’s side will need a minor miracle to enter the top six.

Although Everton, who sit level on 59 points with Spurs, are only behind on goal difference in eighth. And ninth-placed Arsenal lie just a point behind the two clubs ahead of Sunday’s season finale.

Whoever ends up in seventh on Sunday night qualifies for the Europa Conference League, but do they really want that?

UEFA’s new tournament will kick-off on with a two-legged play-off round in August. The first leg takes place on the 19th of that month, with the second leg beginning a week later.

And considering the 2021/22 Premier League campaign begins on August 14, the team that qualifies for the Conference League will already face a congested schedule so early into the season.

What other problems could the teams face?

Competing in Europe is a big draw for a lot of clubs. Sometimes, though, it may be best to avoid it. Especially in Arsenal or Tottenham’s case, where no European football would at least offer them a chance to concentrate on the Premier League.

“We have experienced in the last few years how tough it is being in the Europa League, given the number of games you play and the short turnaround before Premier League matches,” said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta on the Conference League.

“I think there is a lot of history there with teams that have been involved in the Europa League, and the negative consequences it has on the Premier League positions.

“We’ve tried to give it the best possible go, we came up a little bit short, but this club has to be in Europe.”

Given that Conference League glory offers minimal prize money and no Champions League qualification, it would also have very little reward.

The extra games, meanwhile, would not only result in a lot more trips across Europe but also increases the risk of injury.