Villa celebrate at awards night after qualifying for Champions League


Aston Villa will play in the Champions League for the first time since 1983 after Tottenham were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City on Tuesday.

Unai Emery has enjoyed an impressive first full season at Villa Park, guiding his side to the Europa Conference League semi-finals and now confirming a top-four Premier League spot for the first time since 1996.

Tottenham are now unable to catch Villa ahead of their final game of the season at Sheffield United on Sunday, losing 2-0 to Erling Haaland’s double on Tuesday night.

Spurs have lost five of their last six games, meaning they’ll have to settle for Europa League football next season.

Villa’s qualification marks just the seventh time a non ‘big-six’ side have qualified for the Champions League in the Premier League era, following Blackburn, Newcastle (x3), Leeds and Leicester – with the Foxes qualifying eight years ago.

Villa have been in the top five since September and have spent more than 150 days in the top-four spots – their most in a Premier League season since 1998/99, when they ultimately finished sixth under John Gregory.

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Highlights from the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool

How does the new Champions League format work?

Villa will now enter the group stage of the revamped Champions League in September. For the first time, the competition will include one 36-team group, with each side taking on eight others, either home or away.

Teams who finish in the top eight of the group will automatically qualify for the last 16, with those ninth to 24th going into a two-legged play-off stage.

After that, the competition will continue in its existing knockout format, leading up to the 2024/25 final at Munich’s Allianz Arena on May 31.

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