Manchester City and Arsenal are both guaranteed to finish in the Champions League places, but nothing is assured beneath them as clubs jostle for position in the home straight of this engrossing Premier League season.
Newcastle have moved to the cusp of Champions League qualification after beating Brighton.
If Eddie Howe’s side beat Leicester on Monday Night Football, they will be certain of Champions League football next season.
Manchester United are closing on the final Champions League place after their win at Bournemouth, and have a game in hand over Liverpool, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Aston Villa on Saturday.
As with Newcastle, if Man Utd avoid defeat against Chelsea in their penultimate Premier League game on Thursday, live on Sky Sports, they will secure Champions League football for next season.
Manchester United’s remaining games: Chelsea (h), Fulham (h).
Newcastle’s remaining games: Leicester (h), Chelsea (a)
Liverpool’s remaining games: Southampton (a)
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Erik ten Hag’s side’s exit from the Europa League to Sevilla means England cannot have five Champions League representatives.
Maximum eight teams can qualify for Europe
The maximum that can qualify from domestic performance in the Premier League – either league position or by winning the FA Cup or Carabao Cup – is seven.
However, the places reserved for European titleholders are separate if a team does not qualify domestically.
With West Ham in the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League and unable to finish in the European places in the Premier League, it is possible that eight English teams could take part next season.
Sky Sports takes a look at the various permutations for those sides still harbouring European aspirations.
What is already set in stone?
At the start of the campaign, it was stipulated that the Premier League’s top four qualify for the Champions League, while fifth place and the FA Cup winners enter the Europa League. The winners of the Carabao Cup qualify for the Europa Conference League.
But Manchester United’s success in the Carabao Cup, coupled with an all-Manchester FA Cup final, has already distorted the picture and means that, as it stands, the European qualification picture is as follows:
- Champions League: Man City (Q), Arsenal (Q), Newcastle, Manchester United
- Europa League: Liverpool, Brighton
- Europa Conference League: Tottenham
The places are subject to change, however, depending on where Manchester United ultimately finish in the Premier League – plus West Ham’s possible Europa Conference League glory.
How will seventh place qualify for Europe?
This can only happen if Man Utd and the winners of the FA Cup finish in the top six of the Premier League. That would mean seventh gets the place in the Europa Conference League. It is impossible for eighth to qualify by league position.
How many teams will qualify for Europe based on Premier League position?
Fourth = Champions League. Fifth or sixth = Europa League. Seventh = Conference League.
- The top four in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League group stage
- Fifth place and the FA Cup winners qualify for the Europa League group stage
- The Carabao Cup winners qualify for the Europa Conference League playoff
However, as one of Man City and Man Utd are going to win the FA Cup and finish in the top five their Europa League qualifying spot for winning the competition will be passed down to the next highest Premier League finisher who doesn’t qualify for Europe, so sixth place.
Also, because Man Utd won the Carabao Cup and will likely finish in the top five, their Europa Conference League qualifying spot from that competition will go to the next highest Premier League finisher without European football, so seventh place.
What if West Ham win the Europa Conference League?
West Ham will earn a place in next season’s Europa League group stage should they prevail in Prague on June 7.
As the Hammers will not qualify for Europe domestically, England would have eight teams in Europe next season – even if West Ham were to be relegated.
And finally: Why Man City winning the Champions League could be good news for Ukraine…
It will not affect the Premier League representatives as City are going to finish in the top four regardless. A fifth Champions League spot is not filtered down via the league positions.
But a place in the group stage for the Champions League titleholders is left vacant. In this event, the champions of the country ranked 11th in the UEFA coefficient table at the end of the 2021/22 season – which is Serbia – would go direct to the Champions League group stage, rather than having to qualify.
However, with Russia ranked 10th and its clubs remaining excluded from European competition, the Serbian champions are already guaranteed a place in the group stage.
That means the champions of the 12th-ranked country – Ukraine – would be given a place in the group stage if City finally lift the Champions League trophy in Istanbul.