Champions League and Europa League qualification explained for Premier League clubs | Football | Sport

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The make-up of the Champions League and Europa League finals were confirmed on Thursday, with Manchester United and Arsenal experiencing differing emotions. United booked their place in the Europa League final on May 26 despite losing 3-2 to Roma, while Arsenal were knocked out 2-1 on aggregate by a resolute Villarreal in a 0-0 draw.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have the chance to win his first trophy as United boss in the Polish City of Gdansk later this month after his team went through 8-5 on aggregate following their 6-2 win in the first leg at Old Trafford.

Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, is under increasing pressure after Arsenal failed to score at the Emirates against Villarreal, who are managed by former Gunners boss Unai Emery.

Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League by winning Europe’s secondary club competition are over, with the Gunners now likely to miss out on any European football in 2021/22.

Arteta’s side are ninth in the Premier League, 12 points adrift of Chelsea in fourth place, with four matches remaining.

The Blues not only currently hold the last Champions League qualification place, they are also looking forward to the FA Cup final against Leicester and the Champions League final against Manchester City later this month after seeing off Real Madrid in the semi-final.

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Arteta Klopp Mason

The battle for European places is raging in the Premier League (Image: GETTY)

Europe’s showpiece final is currently scheduled to take place in Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium on May 29.

So with Chelsea, Man City and Man United all reaching finals, how does that affect the picture for Champions League and Europa League qualification in the Premier League?

Here Express Sport will explain all the scenarios.

The Premier League picture

Man City are 13 points clear at the top of the table and on the brink of winning the Premier League title, needing to beat Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in Saturday’s 5.30pm kick-off to secure the trophy.

United are second on 67 points and are 99 per cent likely to finish in the top four, according to FiveThirtyEight, and secure a Champions League place, regardless of the result in the Europa League final against Villarreal.

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Leicester are third on 63 points and have a 79 per cent chance of qualification, with Chelsea fourth on 61 points with a 68 per cent chance of qualifying via their league position. If Thomas Tuchel’s side don’t finish in the top four, they can still qualify for the Champions League by winning the final on May 29.

West Ham are fifth on 58 points, Tottenham are sixth with 56 points, Liverpool seventh on 54 points, Everton eighth with 52 points and Arsenal are ninth on 49 points.

The basics of qualification

According to Uefa’s rules, there can only ever be a maximum of seven English teams split across the Champions League and Europa League.

Usually the top four sides in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League, with the team in fifth place going into the Europa League, alongside the winner of the FA Cup.

This season, things are complicated slightly by a new competition, the Europa Conference League, which launches in 2021/22. The rules state that the Carabao Cup winner goes into that.

Man Utd celebrating

United are in the Europa League final after beating Roma (Image: GETTY)

Places up for grabs

The make-up of the Carabao Cup winners, Man City, and the FA Cup finalists – Chelsea and Leicester – mean there will be European places up for grabs lower down the Premier League this season.

The rules state that if the FA Cup winners finish in the top five of the Premier League, which both Chelsea and Leicester are likely to, their Europa League group stage place will go to the next-highest ranked team not already qualified.

Meanwhile, by winning the Carabao Cup, Man City have technically earned a place in Uefa’s third competition, the Europa Conference League for next season.

However, because they will be in the Champions League instead, their place will filter down the Premier League table.

Alternative ways of qualifying

This season is guaranteed to have an English winner of the Champions League: either Man City or Chelsea.

If they were having bad seasons domestically, then they would be assured of Champions League football next season by winning this year’s competition. But because City are top of the Premier League and Chelsea also in the top four, both are likely to qualify anyway.

The same goes for Man United, who are second and likely to get a Champions League place via their league position, and even if they didn’t, they could earn it by beating Villarreal in the Europa League final.

However, there is bad news for those sides outside the top four and hoping of sneaking a place, though. That is because, the rules state if a club wins the Champions League or Europa League and finishes in the top four, their qualification for the Champions League through their league position is not transferred to another team.

Man City Carabao Cup final

Man City’s Carabao Cup final win means a Europa Conference League place is up for grabs (Image: GETTY)

That means if Man City beat Chelsea in the Champions League final, then their place does not drop down to the team in fifth. The same applies if Chelsea win and finish in the top four.

Now Arsenal are out of the Europa League, the only way England could have five teams in next season’s Champions League is if Chelsea win this year’s final, but fail to finish in the top four.

So, while a prized Champions League place is looking like a tough ask for those outside the top four right now, a consolation prize of a Europa League place is still in reach, if FA Cup finalists Leicester and Chelsea both finish in the top four.

Meanwhile, a place in the new Europa Conference League will be handed out thanks to Man City winning the Carabao Cup.





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