Photo by JULIAN FINNEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Arsenal or Tottenham may be playing European football in 2021/22, after all. 

Now, this new-fangled Conference League is unlikely have supporters rushing to the season ticket offices or renewing their passports any time soon – you’d have been forgiven for forgetting this most superfluous of tournaments even existed – but the latest attempt to pad out an already sardine-packed footballing calendar may just offer two underachieving giants a chance to sneak into Europe via the back door. 

A seventh-place finish in the Premier League table would see either Arsenal or Tottenham enter the competition at the inaugural group-stage phase.

As it stands, managerless Spurs are in pole position, one point clear of their near neighbours with a game in hand. 

Where Will Your Club’s Best Youngster Be In 10 Years? Football Manager 2021 Experiment

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But who could Tottenham or Arsenal face in the competition absolutely nobody is talking about? Well, it’s not all Bala Town, Gzira United and Dinamo Batumi. 

Like in the Premier League, the seventh-best teams from Spain, Germany and Italy will also qualify. And that’s where things get interesting. 

Because, should things stay as they are over the final few games of the domestic season, Tottenham could be set for an imminent reunion with one Jose Mourinho.

The former Spurs boss will take over at Roma next term and defeat to Inter Milan on Wednesday night means the Giallorossi can finish no higher than seventh in Serie A. 

RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images

Arsenal, meanwhile, could meet a familiar face themselves. Unai Emery got the better of his old employers in the Europa League semi-finals this month but Mikel Arteta may be handed a golden opportunity to take revenge – albeit on a far-less glamourous stage. 

Of course, if Emery secures a fourth Europa League title, defeating Manchester United in the decider, his Villarreal side will be catapulted into the Champions League instead.  

German giants Borussia Monchengladbach could also feature in the Conference League, so to a Marseille side who have clambered back into continental contention under the madcap Jorge Sampaoli. 

In Portugal, Pacos de Fereira have sealed their place already, as have Vitesse Arnhem of Holland, Trabzonspor of Turkey and Aberdeen of Scotland. 

So while no one will be sprinting home from work in time for a midweek kick off taking place in Finland, Montenegro or Lithuania, the UEFA Conference League may just throw up a few glamour fixtures – and the odd awkward reunion. 

Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

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