Here’s a question about football: What does London have to offer that Barcelona, Munich, Milan or Lisbon cannot match?
The answer is that none of these cities, home to some of Europe’s most successful clubs, can claim to have continuously qualified for the group stage of the Champions League for a century, but London can.
London has had at least one club in the group stage every season since Arsene Wenger’s Premier League and FA Cup winners qualified for the Champions League in 1998. Only Madrid and Manchester City have a long uninterrupted run, and even cities with multiple clubs, such as Athens, Istanbul and Moscow, don’t have all the seasons of the 21st century. In the second half of the 20th century, at least one representative appeared in the group stage.
But the Londoners are in danger of losing their Champions League record in this century. The 2020-21 Premier League season is halfway over and West Ham United are leading London’s bid to have at least one team at the top of the European standings. It is perhaps more a sign of the decline of the capital’s traditional giants – Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur – than of the rise of David Moyes’ side, which is fifth, four points behind fourth-placed Leicester City.
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However, Sunday’s 3-1 home defeat against Liverpool was a humbling reminder for the Hammers of the progress they still need to make to become a team capable of qualifying for Europe; few at West Ham expected the London Stadium to host the Champions League next season. Moyes’ squad is making progress and a place in the Europa League can be considered a success.
But that’s a different story at Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs. For any club, missing out on the Champions League would be a major blow, both financially and in terms of prestige. They will also find it much harder to attract players at the highest level to close the gap with the clubs from Manchester and Liverpool in the coming seasons.
On Thursday, Spurs take on Chelsea in a match that is crucial for the ambitions of both teams. Spurs are six points behind Leicester after Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Brighton, but on a handicap. Chelsea are just as many points clear of Jose Mourinho’s side with one game to go. Arsenal have won five and drawn two of their last seven games in the Champions League, but are still eight points clear of the rest of the field for the tenth round.
Can any of London’s big three find a way to join the four already working on the breakthrough? Manchester City and Manchester United appear to be on course to qualify for the Champions League, as does reigning champions Liverpool. So the only hope for London is that Leicester can survive the same slump that cost them the top four last season.
Jose Mourinho could be trying to get Tottenham back into the Champions League without Harry Kane. ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images
Arsenal should do more than anything, but at least he found form and purpose under Mikel Arteta. In December, the Spaniard’s future was in doubt after the club’s worst start to the season since 1974, but the coach’s decision to back youngsters Emil Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saca was rewarded with an unbeatable run in which all players – young and old – were in the limelight.
Arsenal’s absence from the Champions League since 2016 and inability to provide the core funding that comes with participation in UEFA’s elite competitions continues to hamper rebuilding efforts in the post-Arsenal Wenger era. But the squad certainly has too much work to do after its initial form, and it faces another season outside the Champions League.
Spurs and Chelsea can still close the gap and the result of Thursday’s game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will reveal which of them can challenge Leicester for fourth place. Chelsea FC have already kicked things off in a big way at Stamford Bridge: He fired coach Frank Lampard and replaced him with Thomas Tuchel, former coach of Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.
After Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich spent more than £220m on new acquisitions last summer, he approved Lampard’s dismissal, knowing Tuchel would have time to turn the situation around and find a way to inspire Timo Werner and Kai Havertz to find the attacking qualities that motivated their recruitment. Of the two games played so far under Tuchel, Chelsea have taken four points from their two games so far and have failed to take two, suggesting signs of progress. But we can rectify that with a defeat against Tottenham Hotspur.
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However, Spurs should be the favorite to raise the London flag in the Champions League. Mourinho has experience in the Premier League and has established himself in the Champions League. Spurs have one more game ahead of them and if they win, they pass West Ham and are three points behind Leicester. But Spurs have suffered a dramatic fall in recent weeks, with just two wins in their last nine league games. Since the 2-1 loss to Liverpool on the 16th. In December, Mourinho’s team dropped like a stone, scoring just nine goals in seven games.
With Harry Kane out with an ankle injury and Gareth Bale in much lesser form since being loaned out by Real Madrid, Spurs are in danger of going down in the league as their goal-scoring deficit continues to widen.
Like Arsenal before them, Spurs need Champions League football to fund their new stadium. Failure to qualify would once again cast doubt on the club’s ability to retain players like Kane and Son Heung-min. But at the moment, none of the London heavyweights can qualify for the Champions League, and City’s unbroken run in the league is in jeopardy.
frequently asked questions
How much money did Spurs get in the Champions League?
The increase in revenue and operating profit shows how profitable the Champions League can be. The $127 million (£108.4 million) in revenue compares to $72 million (£62.2 million) in 2018, when it was eliminated in the Round of 16.
Is Tottenham better than Arsenal?
The Gunners have won 13 leagues, 13 FA Cups, two League Cups and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. Spurs, on the other hand, have won two league titles, eight FA Cups and four League Cups. … In 181 games, Arsenal have won more and beaten Tottenham 76 times.
Who else owns the Spurs or Chelsea trophies?
Rivalry between Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC – Wikipedia