May 11, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT
Manchester United misses out entirely on European play as Tottenham’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa dumps the Red Devils out of Europa League contention.
Everton joins Spurs as qualifiers through table position in fifth and sixth respectively.
The FA Cup final often decides whether the 7th-place finisher gets to play in the Europa League, but in this case Arsenal have already qualified for the Champions League, so the runners-up get the place automatically. Those runners-up are Hull City, so Steve Bruce will have to navigate the depths of the Europa League next year.
The fixture congestion coming from Europa League play is always a concern for mid-table clubs, and Bruce addressed the issue, adding that the draw of European play will bring players to the club.
“There’s a huge complication with Europe,” said Bruce. “However, let’s not derail it before we get into it. When the draw comes out in mid-July then to see our name in amongst it is fantastic. That’s when it will grab hold of people. Big clubs with huge traditions and histories. To be part of it is great.”
European play can be fatal for teams that aren’t equipped to cope with yet another competition, and Bruce will have to weigh an improbable run to the Europa League later stages with securing Premier League safety for yet another year.
It can be done, as Fulham showed a number of years ago with their incredible run to the competition’s final, just losing in extra time.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are no newcomers to the rigors of the competition, having played in the tournament for the last few years. They fell to Benfica in the Round of 16 this past season, a decent run having beaten clubs like Dnipro and Anzhi.
Spurs manager Tim Sherwood insisted the competition was coveted by the club, saying,
“I think that is hugely important for a club like Tottenham,” Sherwood told Sky Sports. “Everyone aspires to be in the Champions League, but we know how difficult it is to actually achieve that. We’ve got a big squad of players and when they’re all fit… they need a games programme and I think the Europa League gives them opportunities to play games, keep themselves mentally prepared and physically ready.”
For Everton, they will be upset at missing out on a chance at the Champions League, which would have been a big boost to the club.
However, Roberto Martinez will no doubt relish his chance in the competition, making the playoff round through their 5th place finish.
The draw of European play will be most benficial to the Toffees, who have the most holes to fill following the expiry of a number of important loan deals. Europa League play along with the promise of a fight towards Champions League qualification would go a long way in convincing players like Romelu Lukaku to stick around.
The double-edged sword of European play rolls on, but ultimately the achievement is a mark of a successful season for these three clubs.
Aug 1, 2014, 1:03 AM EDT
A nine-match weekend sees MLS return to NBC, with NBCSN set to broadcast games in Kansas City, San Francisco.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:07 PM EDT
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Jul 31, 2014, 9:03 PM EDT
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Jul 31, 2014, 8:12 PM EDT
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Jul 31, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT
Toe injury to sideline the U.S. international for an estimated 10 games.
Jul 31, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT
No. 1: Eddie Johnson. No. 2: These new-fangled rules.
Jul 31, 2014, 6:02 PM EDT
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Jul 31, 2014, 5:39 PM EDT
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Jul 31, 2014, 5:14 PM EDT
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Jul 31, 2014, 4:42 PM EDT
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Jul 31, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT
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Jul 31, 2014, 3:21 PM EDT
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Jul 31, 2014, 2:56 PM EDT
Cristiano Ronaldo and Christopher Renzi are looking horns over the CR7 trademark.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT
Guillermo Ochoa starred in the 2014 World Cup for Mexico, and now will try to fill Willy Caballero’s shoes at Malaga.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT
As deadly virus continues to spread, the Seychelles refuse to let Sierra Leone travel for qualifier.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
Seydou Keita has left Barcelona, but being in a different league has not stopped the animosity between the AS Roma midfielder and Real Madrid’s Pepe.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:27 PM EDT
Gerrard: “With all due respect to them, I said to Suarez that he was too good for Arsenal.”
Jul 31, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said several Premier League teams had interest in 19-year-old American striker Julian Green.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:26 PM EDT
Ching said his former USMNT teammate needs incentive-laden contracts to thrive, while Johnson claims Ching is jealous.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT
Jermaine Jones is not the only US midfielder rumored to come home, while two Red Devils are tipped for Madrid.
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