Seven English teams will play in Europe next season but who will qualify for Champions League, Europa League and new Europa Conference League? Top-four battle is on -with Chelsea, Liverpool, and Leicester fighting for two spots.
The race is on as the Premier League season heads towards an exciting conclusion – who will qualify for the Champions League, Europa League and the new Europa Conference League?
The top-four battle is going down to the wire, after Chelsea and Liverpool leapfrogged Leicester during midweek.
One of those sides will be in the Europa League, and West Ham, Tottenham, and Everton are battling to grab the other spot available in that competition.
Then there’s the Europa Conference League, with Arsenal also in the running for that brand new competition.
We have pulled together the permutations below. It gets a little complicated but keep in mind, the maximum number of English teams in UEFA competitions is seven…
The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.
Winning the Champions League or Europa League also guarantees a place in the group stages.
Up to five English teams can qualify for the Champions League through these two methods but if Manchester United win the Europa League and finish in the top four, their qualification for the Champions League through their league position is not transferred to another team.
How fourth place now guarantees a Champions League place…
There was only one scenario that could play out and mean the fourth-placed finisher misses out on Champions League football.
It would have occurred if Chelsea finished outside the top four and won the Champions League and Arsenal finished outside the top four and won the Europa League.
But Arsenal’s Europa League exit to Villarreal in the semi-finals means the top four are now assured of a Champions League berth. At the moment, that is Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Europa League and Europa Conference League qualification
There are two Europa League spots available to English clubs. One goes to the team which finishes fifth in the Premier League – currently Leicester – while the second goes to the side which wins the FA Cup.
Leicester lifted that trophy but will qualify for either the Champions League or Europa League through their Premier League position. That means their Europa League spot for winning the FA Cup will be passed on to the next highest-ranked Premier League side which has not qualified for a UEFA competition – currently sixth-placed West Ham.
As well as the Champions League and the Europa League, the Europa Conference League launches next season.
Europa Conference League explained
The idea behind the Europa Conference League is to give more clubs a taste of European football, particularly sides from countries that struggle to qualify for the other two UEFA competitions. But there’s a spot up for grabs for English clubs, too.
The winner of the Carabao Cup was guaranteed to qualify for the Europa Conference League play-off round. But after Manchester City lifted the trophy – having already secured a place in the Champions League qualifying spot – their place will be passed on to the next highest-ranked Premier League side which has not qualified for a UEFA competition.
That means the Premier League’s seventh-placed team will qualify for the Europa Conference League next season – currently Tottenham.
Club by club – who needs what to qualify for Europe
Man City – 83 points, 37 games
Remaining games: Everton (home), Chelsea (Champions League final)
Courtesy of being crowned Premier League champions, City will be in the Champions League next season – and they could, of course, still win the trophy this year in May 29’s final.
Man Utd – 71 points, 37 games
Remaining games: Wolves (away), Villarreal (Europa League final)
Despite a dismal recent run of form, which has seen United take just one point from three home games against Leicester, Liverpool and Fulham, they have been confirmed as runners-up following Leicester’s defeat at Chelsea.
They could have, in any case, qualified for the Champions League via the Europa League – United are in the final on May 26.
Chelsea – 67 points, 37 games
Remaining games: Aston Villa (away), Man City (Champions League final)
Even after their win over Leicester on Tuesday night, Chelsea still require a victory at Aston Villa on the final day to be certain of qualifying for the Champions League next season. Wins for Liverpool and Leicester on the final day and even a draw for Chelsea would send them into the Europa League instead.
In any case, Thomas Tuchel’s team could still qualify for next season’s Champions League by winning the competition outright this season – if you have not heard, Chelsea face Man City in the final on May 29.
Liverpool – 66 points, 37 games
Remaining games: Crystal Palace (home)
Liverpool are on the brink of pulling off an achievement which Jurgen Klopp described as “almost impossible” in March: finishing in the top four.
After that winning goal by goalkeeper Alisson at West Brom, Leicester’s defeat at Chelsea, and a Liverpool win at Burnley, the Reds have moved above Leicester into fourth place on goal difference. Beat Crystal Palace at home and they will, almost certainly, be back in the Champions League next season. The only caveat is that they could be overtaken by Leicester on goal difference. But Leicester would need to beat Spurs by at least five goals for that to happen.
Fifth place, meanwhile, would send Liverpool into the Europa League.
Leicester – 66 points, 37 games
Remaining games: Tottenham (home)
Leicester are now certain to play European football next season after winning the FA Cup. But in which European competition will they be playing next season? The Champions League or the Europa League?
The defeat at Chelsea, just days after the FA Cup win, leaves Brendan Rodgers’ side vulnerable to a second successive season in which they suffer late Champions League qualification pain.
Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Burnley moved them into fourth and above Leicester on goal difference. The Foxes must win at home to Tottenham on the final day and hope Liverpool or Chelsea fail to win. If not, they will be in the Europa League again.
West Ham – 62 points, 37 games
Remaining games: Southampton (home)
West Ham’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League are over following Chelsea’s win against Leicester. Liverpool’s win at Burnley also ruled out fifth place.
But they are perfectly placed to clinch the second Europa League spot by finishing sixth. They just need to avoid defeat against Southampton on the final day.
However, a loss could see Tottenham or Everton leapfrog them, and leave West Ham in the Europa Conference League. Or out of the European spots all together, if both Tottenham won and Everton (with a big goal difference swing) won.
Tottenham – 59 points, 37 games
Remaining games: Leicester (away)
Chelsea’s win over Leicester means Tottenham can no longer qualify for the Champions League, while Liverpool’s win at Burnley and Tottenham’s defeat at home to Aston Villa ruled out fifth place.
In fact, Europa League football is out of their hands too. They must beat Leicester on the final day and hope West Ham lose at home to Southampton.
Tottenham would go into the Europa Conference League if they stay seventh – but could miss out on Europe all together if they fail to win and Everton better their result or Arsenal win.
Everton – 59 points, 37 games
Remaining games: Man City (away)
The Europa League is just about still achievable for Everton. But they would need West Ham to lose on the final day, and Tottenham to fail to win. And beat Man City at the Etihad themselves… Nobody said it would be easy.
The Europa Conference League is also a possibility. To do that they would have to displace Tottenham in seventh by bettering their result and that of Arsenal.
Arsenal – 58 points, 37 games
Remaining games: Brighton (home)
Arsenal are facing up to the first season in 25 years without European football… unless they can pull off a final-day surge into the Europa Conference League.
The Gunners must beat Brighton on the final day, and hope Tottenham and Everton fail to win their matches against Leicester and Man City, respectively.