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Day: June 6, 2020

Manchester City’s UEFA ban could end up being bad news for Arsenal and Tottenham in the long run

Manchester City is in the midst of an appeal over their ban from the Champions League

When Manchester City was banned from European football, the immediate response of fans of clubs chasing Champions League places was the delight that they had been handed a potential backdoor into UEFA’s elite competition. Football fans from all over the world can buy online Champions League Tickets to enjoy its stunning performances.

The city is likely to finish second if and when the Premier League concludes, and even if they suffered a disastrous end to the year, they would almost certainly still finish in the top four. That means the fifth place will qualify for next season’s Champions League if their current ban is upheld.

Manchester City's UEFA ban could end up being bad news for Arsenal and Tottenham in the long run
Manchester City’s UEFA ban could end up being bad news for Arsenal and Tottenham in the long run

For Arsenal and Spurs, this offers them a route into the competition that they previously might not have thought was possible. As the table stands at present, both north London clubs are eyeing a fifth-place finish.

With Chelsea perhaps out of reach of both Arsenal and Spurs, it was presumed City’s ban, which they are contesting, was good news for both clubs. And in regards to their chances of Champions League qualification, it is. Neither would consider their chances high without City’s exclusion, while it offers both an easier route to Europa League qualification too.

However, there is another element that should be considered. While City’s ban offers Arsenal and Spurs the opportunity to secure Champions League qualification, it also offers every other team in the Premier League that same chance. And at present, the team that will benefit is Manchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side is a direct rival of Arsenal and Spurs to reclaim top-four status and build a team capable of challenging for a league title.

The financial windfall of playing in the Champions League, as well as the greater pedigree it gives a club, makes it far easier to attract the biggest names in the transfer market. It is the first step that every team must make when they are looking to rebuild, as United, Spurs, and Arsenal all are.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool experienced this when they snuck into the top four in his first full season in charge as securing qualification for Europe’s elite competition allowed them to invest in the squad at a greater level than they would have done had they remained in the Europa League. It was that summer the club signed Mohamed Salah. They then added Virgil van Dijk six months later.

Of course, other factors played a part. But Liverpool’s qualification for the Champions League and subsequent success in the competition as they finished as runners-up and then champions in back-to-back seasons helped catapult Klopp’s rebuild into the stratosphere.

Manchester City's UEFA ban could end up being bad news for Arsenal and Tottenham in the long run
Manchester City’s UEFA ban could end up being bad news for Arsenal and Tottenham in the long run

Both Spurs and Arsenal are hoping for this boost, and they view City’s impending absence from European competition as a helping hand to get there. But if results play out against them during the final stages of the season, it could drive a further wedge between them and their leading rivals.

The city will return at full strength, and they will gear all of their resources towards the domestic season, Liverpool is now a formidable unit, while Chelsea and United would have the opportunity to add talent to their squads that Arsenal and Spurs cannot either afford or attract.

While it will be a positive development for whoever takes that final Champions League place, City’s absence could also spell disaster for those left on the outside looking in.

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Johnny Sexton eager to face the Springboks for the Lions' third tour

Johnny Sexton eager to face the Springboks for the Lions’ third tour

Irish veteran pilot Johnny Sexton says he hopes for a third tour of the British and Irish Lions. Rugby enthusiasts can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Sexton, who turns 35 on July 11, played for the Lions on his two previous tours in Australia 2013 and New Zealand 2017 and hopes to make it a touring hat-trick next year in South Africa.

Johnny Sexton eager to face the Springboks for the Lions' third tour
Johnny Sexton eager to face the Springboks for the Lions’ third tour

Sexton was the last guest on All Blacks legend Dan Carter interview series on Instagram, where they discussed a wide range of topics, including the Irishman’s ambition to take on the Springboks in 2021.

“I’d be lying if I said it’s not something I haven’t thought about too much,” Sexton said.

It is the pinnacle of any player’s career in the Northern Hemisphere, and doing it three times would be incredibly special, but all I can really control is being in my best shape in the next three or four months, or for as long as it is. Before returning, and try to use this time positively.

I have to look at it positively and say that I hope that this time I will put my body in the best shape it has been in for some years and that it will start working from next year and see what happens.

Johnny Sexton eager to face the Springboks for the Lions' third tour
Johnny Sexton eager to face the Springboks for the Lions’ third tour

“But it would be a dream to do it again. But it takes a lot of things to happen for that to happen. I need to play well for Leinster, I need to play well for Ireland and then I hope to put my name on the showcase for that tour.”

Sexton has played 91 tests for Ireland and six for the Lions.

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