Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton face fixture nightmare at start of 2021-22 season due to Europa Conference League

THE team which qualifies for the Europa Conference League faces a nightmare start to the season because of the need to win a play-off round to enter the competition.

Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal are all fighting to seal a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League on the final day – with West Ham needing just a point to clinch sixth.

The reward for the side who come seventh is a spot in Uefa’s new third division tournament – meaning two extra games in the first fortnight of the new campaign.

For the English side in the competition enters in the final play-off stage, with the first leg of that on August 19.

That is the Thursday after the opening weekend of the 2021-22 Premier League season, with the second leg the following week.

It means players who face a shortened break and pre-season because of the Euros will then have to come back into a schedule including four games in the first 14 days of the new campaign.

The group stage of the competition begins in earnest at the end of September, with matches played on a Thursday.

West Ham must only avoid defeat at home to Southampton to avoid the early-season congestion of the Europa Conference League.

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Spurs are currently seventh but seemingly face a tough finale – at fifth-placed Champions League hopefuls Leicester.

Everton are below Tottenham only on goal difference but travel to runaway champions Manchester City.

That could let in Arsenal, who are a point below in ninth but have a home send-off against lowly Brighton.

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