The dust has finally settled from the group stages of both UEFA competitions with the completion of Europa League match day six today. Going into this week, there were plenty of amazing possibilities that would have made Monday's draw insane, such as the possibility of having as many as five English sides in the second-tier competition since Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal still had work left to be done. That possibility has been blown up though, as only Manchester United failed to seal the deal and will now drop down to the Europa League to join Tottenham Hotspur as well as Liverpool for Monday's draw.
After thrashing Monaco on Matchday Six, 4-1, Spurs locked down their group and have made it into Pot 1, which is important because Pot 1 is looking to be a minefield.
Before we get into the possible matchups for Spurs, let's take a look at the way the pots have shaped up for Monday's draw. The eight CL teams were split up by the amount of points the accumulated in their respective groups and not by coefficient, meaning Porto, Manchester United, Olympiacos, and Bayer Leverkusen were all seeded. Taking that into consideration, here's what we're left with:
|Pot 1||Pot 2|
|Porto (POR)||Sevilla (ESP)|
|Manchester United (ENG)||Valencia (ESP)|
|Olympiacos (GRE)||Galatasaray (TUR)|
|Bayer Leverkusen (GER)||Shakthar Donetsk (UKR)|
|Molde FK (NOR)||Fenerbache (TUR)|
|Liverpool (ENG)||Sion (SUI)|
|Krasnodar (RUS)||Borussia Dortmund (GER)|
|Napoli (ITA)||Midtyjlland (DEN)|
|Rapid Wien (AUS)||Villarreal (ESP)|
|SC Braga (POR)||Marseille (FRA)|
|Lazio (ITA)||Saint-Etienne (FRA)|
|Lokomotiv (RUS)||Sporting (POR)|
|Basel (SUI)||Fiorentina (ITA)|
|Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)||Anderlecht (BEL)|
|Schalke 04 (GER)||Sparta Praha (CZE)|
|Athletic Bilbao (ESP)||Augsburg (GER)|
Now, while the pots themselves look simple, remember that the Round of 32 draw has the stipulation that teams from the same association cannot play against each other. After this round, all bets are off and associations don't matter. With all three English clubs in Pot 1, The only club that Spurs cannot draw in Pot 2 is Anderlecht, due to being in the same group.
Instead of doing a "Best Case/Worst Case" article, we decided it would be more fun to grade these teams on a graph that depicts how easy or difficult a matchup is and how boring or fun it would be. This is science we're talking about, even though the numbers are completely made up and are subject to discussion.
As you would expect, Borussia Dortmund is the one that sticks out the most. They are the scariest team on that list, but how much fun would those two legs be? As Kevin McCauley said in our after-match chat: "I want Dortmund. Bring it on. Let's play the best." I don't know if I share Kevin's enthusiasm, mainly because I want to see a Liverpool-Dortmund Round of 32 matchup.
The Turkish teams sit at the bottom of the "fun" chart because nobody wants to go on the road to either stadium, but they would be fair challenges, especially if we had to see Robin van Persie after he was exiled from Manchester United.
Midtyjlland would be fun simply for the nerd banter as they are big on their stats. Sparta Prague, Sion, Augsburg, and Saint-Etienne all sit low on both the fun and difficulty levels because there's nothing truly special about any of them other than getting to see Disco Benny at White Hart Lane again if Spurs draw Saint-Etienne.
The last highlighted team would be Villarreal, where our beloved Bobby Soldier now plays. We would have to deal with all the feels of him coming back to White Hart Lane and the kit exchange between him and Coco would bring waterfalls to everyone's eyes.
The fixture list is up in the air as to how this will affect Spurs. Currently, February 13 has Tottenham heading to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City before the away leg on February 18. The weekend of February 20-21 is Round 5 of the FA Cup, so this could end up being a short turnaround in preparation for a domestic cup tie if Tottenham are still in the competition. The home leg will be on February 25, followed by a visit from Swansea on February 28.
The Europa Draw is on Monday at Noon EST, so we have plenty of time to talk about this. Who do you want to see? Who is your nightmare matchup? Would you cry if we got to see Bobby back at White Hart Lane? We'll find out Spurs' fate in a few days.