Race for Europe: Villa in CL if Spurs don't win tonight


It’s not just the identity of the Premier League champions which will be decided in the final week of the season. Qualification for the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League is also set to be determined in the final week of games.

Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool have qualified for the Champions League.

They will be joined there by Aston Villa if Tottenham fail to beat Man City live on Sky Sports on Tuesday.

Villa’s draw with Liverpool on Monday keeps the door open for Ange Postecoglou’s side – but they will need to win both of their remaining games and hope Villa’s final-day trip to in-form Crystal Palace goes their way too.

Goal difference could prove decisive in any Villa-Tottenham head-to-head: Villa’s is currently eight goals superior.

Of course, a Spurs win over Man City would hand the initiative to their arch rivals Arsenal in the title race but that’s a whole different debate!

Aston Villa’s remaining fixtures

May 19: Crystal Palace (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm

Tottenham’s remaining fixtures

May 14: Man City (H) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 19: Sheffield United (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm

Who will join Tottenham or Villa in the Europa League?

Joining either Tottenham or Villa in the Europa League through their league position will be Chelsea, Newcastle or Manchester United.

As an aside, Newcastle could still equal Tottenham’s current haul of 63 points, but would only overhaul Spurs if Spurs lose both of their matches this week and they themselves win on both Wednesday and Sunday.

But realistically, the three teams finishing between sixth and eighth this season are likely to be Newcastle, Chelsea and Manchester United.

We will know a whole lot more about their final finishing positions by 10pm on Wednesday night after Chelsea play at Brighton and Newcastle and Man Utd clash at Old Trafford with the hosts needing to win to have any hope of finishing above Eddie Howe’s side (Man Utd’s goal difference is so far behind Newcastle’s that a draw will effectively condemn Man Utd to finishing no higher than seventh).

But, as explained in the next section, it may be that only one of Chelsea and Newcastle can qualify for Europe…

Newcastle’s remaining fixtures

May 15: Man Utd (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 19: Brentford (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures

May 15: Brighton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm

May 19: Bournemouth (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm

Man Utd’s remaining fixtures

May 15: Newcastle (H) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 19: Brighton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm

May 25: Man City (N) – FA Cup final, kick-off 3pm

But the FA Cup offers Man Utd another route into Europe at the expense of Newcastle or Chelsea…

If the winners of the FA Cup, which will be either Manchester United or Manchester City, finish in the top five of the Premier League – and therefore qualify for the Champions League or Europa League through their league position – their Europa League spot for FA Cup glory will be passed down to the next-highest ranked Premier League side not competing in Europe.

With United currently in eighth position, it means that Chelsea – in seventh – would miss out on European football entirely for a second successive season were Erik ten Hag’s side to lift the FA Cup.

Chelsea, however, moved level on points with sixth-placed Newcastle after their dramatic 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest, meaning they could have a straight shootout with the Magpies with two games remaining to secure continental football.

As it stands: Who qualifies for Europe if Man Utd win the FA Cup?

Champions League: Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Aston Villa

Europa League: Tottenham, Man Utd (as FA Cup winners)

UEFA Conference League: Newcastle

As it stands: Who qualifies for Europe if Man Utd DON’T win the FA Cup?

Champions League: Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Aston Villa

Europa League: Tottenham, Newcastle

UEFA Conference League: Chelsea

How does the new Champions League format work?

Next season's Scottish Premiership winner will face one qualification round to enter the Champions League, with three qualifiers facing the runners-up
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Next season’s Scottish Premiership winner will face one qualification round to enter the Champions League, with three qualifiers facing the runners-up

Taking the total number of teams from 32 to 36 in the Champions League, the biggest change will see a transformation from the traditional group stage to a single league phase including all participating teams.

Every club will now be guaranteed a minimum of eight league-stage games against eight different opponents (four home games, four away) rather than the previous six matches against three teams, played on a home-and-away basis.

The top eight sides in the league will qualify automatically for the knockout stage, while the teams finishing in ninth to 24th place will compete in a two-legged play-off to secure their path to the last 16 of the competition.

Teams ranked 25-36 are eliminated from all competitions.

Europa League and Europa Conference League changing too?

Similar changes will be made to the Europa League and Europa Conference League formats, with 36 teams in each.

Teams in the Europa League will have eight matches against eight different opponents in the league phase.

In the Europa Conference League – renamed the UEFA Conference League – teams will have six matches against six different opponents in the league phase. The UEFA Conference League games will be played between September and December.

The knockout phase of the competitions will take place through the second half of the season and culminate at the end of the campaign, as they do now.

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