Premier League standings: The race for Europe and how Chelsea and Manchester United could still qualify


The race for the Premier League title may already be between two teams, but the battle for European qualification is still intense. With a game or two left to play, depending on which teams have a standout fixture, several teams are vying for a coveted place in next season's continental competitions. Here's a look at the remaining possibilities and permutations that could see these teams achieve their European dreams.

With fourth-placed Aston Villa close to qualifying for the Champions League and a nine-point difference between fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and eighth-placed Manchester United, the race to qualify for European football next season will reach an exciting end.


Manchester City and Arsenal are two of the three teams already in the Champions League (Image source: Imago)

Champions League: The top three have been decided but fourth is still open

Due to England's ranking in Europe, only the top four teams in the Premier League will qualify for the prestigious Champions League. This year, the race for three places is over, with Arsenal and Manchester City locked in a tight battle for the title, while Liverpool are guaranteed at least third place as other teams cannot mathematically catch up to them.

The race for fourth place is still open, although Aston Villa currently holds this position. However, Spurs are four points behind with two games remaining for both teams.

If Tottenham fail to win any of their remaining two matches, Villa will be guaranteed a place in next season's Champions League, and if the Villas pick up two points in their final two matches, they will secure fourth place.

Even if Villa lose their two matches, Spurs will still need to win both of their remaining matches or have four points and goal difference to leapfrog them.

Europa League: Fifth place is key


Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle United compete for Europa League places || imago

Whichever team finishes fifth in the Premier League, currently Tottenham, is guaranteed a place in next season's Europa League (UEL) group stages.

Currently, the team that finishes sixth at the end of the season will earn a place in the UEFA European Conference League (UECL). Newcastle United and Chelsea are currently ranked sixth and seventh respectively.

This is where it has taken them from UEFA Cup winners Liverpool, who are guaranteed a place in the Champions League, to the club in the highest position in the league not qualifying for the European club competition (currently sixth).

Tottenham are in fifth place, and while they could still clinch fourth place, a fifth-place finish would see them automatically qualify for the UEL group stages. This competition provides an opportunity to play against top European clubs and a potential route back to the Champions League if they win.

However, there is more drama surrounding that automatic Europa League spot, as sixth-placed Newcastle United and seventh-placed Chelsea could still finish above Tottenham if they fail to pick up any points from their final two games.

Tottenham: With a goal difference of +12, which will decrease if they lose their remaining two matches, Newcastle, who have +22 GD, and Chelsea, who also have +12 GD, could both finish above Tottenham if they win both matches.

Newcastle: They could finish in fifth place if Tottenham lose their last two games and win both of their matches, as the Magpies have a way to go over GD.

ChelseaTo finish fifth, the Blues will need to win their remaining two matches while hoping for Tottenham to lose their last two matches and Newcastle to fail to win their remaining two matches.

If Spurs lose their last two games and Newcastle win both, the Blues will need to win both games and swing on goal difference to leapfrog Newcastle into fifth place.

However, a sixth-place finish could lead to Europa League qualification depending on the result of the FA Cup final.

The FA Cup final will have an impact


Manchester derby in the FA Cup final || Image credit: imago

Manchester United's presence in the FA Cup Final adds a wrinkle to the equation. If they win the title, the UEFA European Conference League qualifiers linked to the Carabao Cup (which Liverpool won) will be cancelled.

Here's how to play out the scenarios

Scenario 1: Manchester United finish in the top six

If Manchester United can finish in the top six of the Premier League alongside winning the FA Cup, they will qualify for the Europa League. This would push the sixth-placed team (currently Newcastle United) into the Europa League as well. The seventh-placed team (currently Chelsea) will next be in the Champions League.

Scenario 2: Manchester United finish outside the top six

If Manchester United finish the season outside the top six but win the FA Cup, they will still qualify for the Europa League. However, this only gives them one spot. The team that finishes fifth in the league will then be the other representative in the Europa League. The sixth-placed team will then inherit the Champions League qualification spot (originally from the Carabao Cup).

European Conference League: How the qualifiers unfold

The UEFA European Conference League, a relatively new competition, provides an opportunity for teams outside the traditional European elite to compete on the continental stage. Here's how to qualify for this competition:

6th place (normal scenario)

In the most obvious scenario, the team that finishes sixth in the Premier League will qualify for the Champions League qualifiers. This is because the position awarded in the Europa Conference League to the Carabao Cup winner (Liverpool) has been transferred.

6th place (FA Cup impact)

As previously mentioned, if Manchester United win the FA Cup and finish outside the top six, the sixth-placed team will actually qualify for the Europa League group stage instead of the qualifiers. The seventh-placed team will then inherit the Champions League qualifying spot.

Seventh place

The team that finishes seventh in the Premier League, assuming Manchester United does not win the FA Cup and finish there, will qualify directly for the Europa League qualifiers.

With only a few games remaining, the battle for European qualification promises to be an exciting climax to the Premier League season. From the fight for the final Champions League spot to the fight for Europa League and Europa League places, there is plenty of drama left to unravel. The final whistle of the season could see many teams celebrate a ticket to Europe while others narrowly miss out.



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