The decision by UEFA to exclude Tottenham Hotspur from the Europa League could have serious consequences for Arsenal.
Spurs were unable to play their last group stage encounter against Rennes earlier this month due to an increase in positive Covid-19 instances, with the Lillywhites’ attempts to postpone the match also failing.
UEFA has already issued their decision on the game, confirming that Spurs would forfeit the match 3-0.
“The 2021/22 UEFA Europa Conference League group stage match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Stade Rennais FC – scheduled to be played on 9 December 2021 in London, United Kingdom – could not be played due to several positive cases of COVID-19 that were identified from players and staff of Tottenham Hotspur FC,” the statement read.
The decision to eliminate Tottenham from the competition could be a major setback for Arsenal’s top-four ambitions, given that they were the only team competing for a Champions League spot this season that was not in Europe, with Manchester United and West Ham both qualifying for the knockout stages of their respective competitions.
Antonio Conte’s team is presently seven points behind its local rivals with three games in hand, with the lack of European football making those fixtures simpler to play in the coming months.
Despite having the luxury of only playing once most weeks, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta stated that it was difficult to see the north Londoners’ rivals competing against other elite European sides.
“It hurts a lot in the last few days to put TV on and see those teams there (the Champions League), and not see Arsenal there,” Arteta remarked in September.
“It was excruciatingly uncomfortable.” Definitely 100 percent. I don’t want to be left out of those competitions with Arsenal.”