The topic of Tottenham and the Champions has unsurprisingly been a somewhat painful subject for Spurs' fans over recent seasons. Numerous near misses have been hard to take, especially as it's often their London rivals who pip them to qualification for Europe's elite club competition. 

2006, the year that saw their hopes of making it into the Premier League's top four, quashed by a dodgy lasagna, as Arsenal stole in to take fourth from their grasp as Martin Jol's depleted squad were defeated by West Ham. 

2012, the end of Harry Redknapp's reign at White Hart Lane, perhaps the cruelest of blows yet. Spurs fans jubilant at the end of a hard season which saw them trump Chelsea in the league, securing that coveted fourth spot, only for the Blues to have the last laugh, dumping Tottenham into the Europa League after that famous night in Munich where they lifted the European Cup for the first time. 

And then last year, more pain, as Andre Villas-Boas saw his side surrender a seven point lead over Arsenal with 10 games to play, to miss out to Arsenal on the final day once again. The chant of 'mind the gap' had come back to haunt them as they finished on 72 points, one behind the men in red. 

Spurred on by their latest disappointment, Villas-Boas has taken no time in strengthening his squad, with the arrivals of some top-quality players. Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue have all arrived, and it looks like there could be more to come. Although the imminent departure of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid could dampen spirits at White Hart Lane, there is renewed optimism around the club that this could finally be the year they can make that Champions League place their own.

But, with a potentially long season in store, their biggest obstacle could be their reward, or punishment as some would say, for their fifth place finish last season; the Europa League.

Tottenham, are considered one of the leading contenders to get their hands on the trophy, and rightly so. But this could ultimately be their downfall in a bid to secure Champions League football for next year.

Last season's dip in the Premier League could well have been down to their European excursions last season. Often playing on Thursday night, a two-day rest period was all they had before the next league game on Sunday. Meanwhile Arsenal's departure from the Champions League, meant they had a whole week to prepare between matches, surely a reason they were able to to capitalise on Spurs' misfortune.

If Tottenham plan to take the competition seriously, and their recent 5-0 victory in their opening game suggests they do, then this could potentially have a damaging effect on their player's form and fitness come the end of the season. 

You have to question whether or not they can realistically pursue success in both Europe and domestic competition as the season progresses. 

Yes, they do possess a strong squad of players, all of whom can be brought in and do a good job for the team when asked to play. But with the likes of Liverpool focusing firmly on the top four with no European competition to distract them, then Spurs could be in for a nervy end to the season once again. An early exit from Europe might seem like a disaster at first, but could prove to be a blessing in disguise come next May. 

Whether or not they can balance the two competitions remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, you won't hear many cries of 'mind the gap' this season until the job is done. 

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Topics:
#Tottenham Hotspur
#Premier League
#Football
#Europa League