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London clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have discovered their opponents in their respective UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League Play-Off games this month.
During the UEFA draw in Nyon (France) today; Tottenham Hotapur (led by manager Andre Villas-Boas) found they are to play Georgian outfit Dinamo Tbilisi – one of the most prominent clubs in Soviet football and a major contender in the Soviet top division. They are to play each-other in their UEFA Europa League play-off game to battle it out in two legs for a place in this year’s group stage. Arsenal however (led by Frenchman Arsene Wenger) found they are to play Turkish side Fenerbahce – a difficult side to face due to their emphatic fans and pressurized stadium atmosphere. They are to play each-other for a place in the illustrious UEFA Champions League group stage to rub shoulders with Europe’s finest footballing sides.
The Europa League games will be played on 22nd and 29th August with Tottenham travelling to Georgia first. The return fixture will take place at Spurs’ White Hart Lane stadium in North London on the 29th just days before they face bitter London rivals Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League. Arsenal however will face Fenerbahce in Turkey on either the 20th or 21st of August with the return fixture a week later at the Emirates Stadium.
This will be Tottenham’s third recurring season in the Europa League after their brief stint in the UEFA Champions League in the 2010/11 season. Arsenal however are enjoying their recurring place in the European elite competition participating in their 17th season in the contest.
By Sean Cook