FA Cup final 2014: Why will Tottenham fans be supporting Arsenal this weekend?

Spurs supporters have a reason to hope their greatest rivals overcome Hull City at Wembley on Saturday

The rivalry between the teams dates back over a century, but Tottenham Hotspur fans could be forgiven for supporting Arsenal in this weekend’s FA Cup final. The Gunners’ nine-year wait for a trophy has long been a source of hilarity for their Spurs-supporting neighbours, but victory for Arsene Wenger’s side against Hull at Wembley would have a positive knock-on effect for the managerless side.

The three Europa League positions in England traditionally go the fifth-place side in the Premier League (who would enter the following season’s Europa in the play-off stages), the winners of the FA Cup (entering at the group stage) and the winners of the League Cup (entering at the third qualifying round). Because the League Cup was won by Manchester City - who had long secured a top four finish, and consequent Champions League qualification, which takes precedent – that Europa placing drops down to the League, meaning sixth place in this year’s Premier League qualifies for next year’s Europa.

Hull winning the FA Cup would take them straight into the Europa League group stages, leaving fifth-place (Everton) to go into the play-offs and sixth place (Tottenham) to start in the third qualifying round. Should Arsenal win this year’s tournament, however, they too would already have qualified for the Champions League place, leaving the FA Cup Europa place to go to Hull, as runners-up. This is where it gets complicated.

Because Hull would have qualified for the Europa through ‘lesser’ means, they would enter at the third qualifying stage instead of the group stages. That would push the sixth place Prem side (Tottenham) into entering at the play-off round, with the fifth place Prem side (Everton) going straight into the group stages. Still with us? Well done. Buy yourself a drink.

 

Entering at the third round stage would leave Tottenham contending with 19 matches should they reach the final in Warsaw next May – and a 10-month campaign. Should Tottenham enter a round later, in the play-offs, they would enjoy two weeks more preparation time for the season, and two less matches in Europe’s more maligned European competition. Swansea City, League Cup winners last season, entered the competition at the same stage in this campaign, with their results tailing off severely towards the end of the campaign as the number of matches took its toll.

Tottenham have enjoyed something of a love affair with the Europa League (or it’s Uefa Cup predecessor) in recent seasons, competing in the competition in five of the last seven campaigns. Their taking part in the competition – and it’s seemingly relentless slog of Thursday night matches - has often been blamed for Tottenham’s lack of consistency in the latter stages of the season. Spurs have continually struggled to achieve the required results in the Premier League to finish in the holy grail of the top four and the Champions League positions, and were beaten to qualification by Arsenal last season, finishing behind Everton and down in sixth place this time around.

One added carrot for next year’s Europa League is that the winners earn a place in the Champions League the following season. But do not be too surprised to see Tottenham fans smirking should Per Mertesacker lift the trophy on Saturday evening.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Travel
travel
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
News
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
news
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform