Presuming Tottenham Hotspur finish with Champions League football next season, how might their campaign weigh up against their 2010/2011 adventure?
The most important thing for Spurs this season is to finish in the top four. Forget everything else, the Champions League is the most important thing in terms of the immediate financial and physical development of the club.
They have a different manager than they had in their 2010/2011 adventure which saw them win their group ahead of Inter Milan, FC Twente and Werder Bremen.
They could find it a lot more difficult second time round as Andre Villas-Boas seems to be a much more calculated and less risk taking manager than Harry Redknapp was during his first crack at the competition.
Spurs also scored the most goals in that group with 18 while they conceded 11 at the other end. They could struggle to score that many second time round considering the imminent and apparent departure of Gareth Bale.
Teams now seem to be harder to score against in Europe; Chelsea were the highest scorers in the group stage this season with 16 goals.
What this suggests that Spurs will need a better defence than they had last time in order to edge those narrow matches against the higher and lower profile teams in the competition.
As for their knock out play, they reached the quarter-final stage last time round, which again they could find a lot more difficult to achieve next season.
Villas-Boas certainly gives them a great chance of progressing because tactically he is a very efficient manager and he has experience in this competition already in his relatively young career.
Therefore, Spurs can hope for a repeat of that narrow 1-0 away win in Milan which set up the tie against Real Madrid. The difference is Spurs would arguably be a lot less likely to lose 4-0 away at Real Madrid if they met next season.
However, the main aim for the side at the moment is making sure they get there because there is only a four point gap from fifth place, which is currently occupied by Arsenal who would want nothing more than to get one over on Tottenham.
It’s going to be two from Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal. If Spurs can make sure they are one of those sides then their history in the Champions League is good and they are arguably better suited to approach the tournament from a tactical and efficient point of view.
Will Spurs finish fourth? How do you think they’ll get on next year?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald