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Champions League

Group Stage Exit Would Be a Failure for Tottenham Hotspur

Ruud Van Nistelrooy Tottenham Hotspur
Dutch former football player Ruud van Nistelroo, shows a piece of paper bearing the name of Tottenham Hotspur FC during the UEFA Champions League Group stage draw ceremony, on August 25, 2016 in Monaco. / AFP / Valery HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

After Thursday’s UEFA Champions League draw, Tottenham, by a stroke of luck, have found themselves in a good position to advance to knockout phase of Europe’s premier club competition as they were drawn into the same group that consists of CSKA Moscow (Russia), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), and AS Monaco (France).

With their last appearance in this competition being 6 years ago, Spurs are now considered group favorites this time around, contrary to when they faced Italian champions Inter Milan, Dutch champions FC Twente, and German club Werder Bremen back in the 2010-2011 season.

This group draw gives Spurs plenty of life to top their group. While it might not bring the glamour of the 2010-11 season as they brought down both Milan clubs, reaching the quarter-finals could be an easier proposition.

When analyzing the clubs Spurs will take on in the group stage, they took four points off AS Monaco in the Europa League last year and they haven’t done much to strengthen their side, other than signing center-back Kamil Glik from Torino in the Italian Serie A.

CSKA Moscow have been perennial underachievers in the competition, and losing forward Ahmed Musa will certainly hurt the Russian Premier League side. Bayer Leverkusen have the most quality of the three clubs to take points from Spurs, but with a strong spine, Spurs could earn majority of the spoils over the two legs.

As most fans and pundits expects Spurs to still be in the competition past the new year, failure to do so could be seen as a disappointment. While it is difficult to make the competition, battling it out with other league sides to secure an automatic place in the group stage, the football gods have given them hope by giving then the easiest draw of the group stage.

Whether battling it out in the late fall in Moscow, or playing away at the BayArena in Leverkusen, Spurs should not let this opportunity to make a deep run slip away. Having the joint-best defense and second in goals scored in the Premier League last campaign, Spurs have the tools to make this Champions League run a memorable one for the fans.

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