The lineup for the Champions League and Europa League finals was confirmed on Thursday, with Manchester United and Arsenal experiencing different emotions. United booked their place in the Europa League final on May 26 despite their 3-2 loss to Roma, while Arsenal were eliminated 2-1 on aggregate by a resolved Villarreal in a 0-0 draw.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have the chance to win his first trophy as United boss in the Polish city of Gdansk later this month, after his side went 8-5 on aggregate after their 6-2 win in the first leg at Old Trafford.
Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, is under increasing pressure after Arsenal failed to score in the Emirates against Villarreal, who is led by former Gunners boss Unai Emery.
Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League by winning the European club secondary competition are over, with the Gunners now likely to miss any European football in 2021/22.
Arteta’s side are ninth in the Premier League, 12 points behind Chelsea in fourth place, with four games to go.
The Blues not only currently hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, they also look forward to the FA Cup final against Leicester and the Champions League final against Manchester City later this month after seeing Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
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The battle for European places rages in the Premier League
The Europe Centerpiece final is currently scheduled at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on May 29.
So, as Chelsea, Man City and Man United all reach the finals, how does this affect the image of qualifying for the Champions League and Europa League in the Premier League?
Here, Express Sport will explain all the scenarios.
The Premier League photo
Man City are 13 points clear at the top of the table and on the verge of winning the Premier League title, having to beat Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in Saturday’s kick-off at 5.30 p.m. to claim the trophy.
United are second with 67 points and have a 99% chance of finishing in the top four, according to FiveThirtyEight, and securing a Champions League berth, regardless of the outcome of the Europa League final against Villarreal.
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Leicester are third with 63 points and have a 79% chance of qualifying, Chelsea fourth with 61 points with a 68% chance of qualifying via their league position. If Thomas Tuchel’s side don’t finish in the top four, they can still qualify for the Champions League by winning the final on May 29.
West Ham are fifth with 58 points, Tottenham sixth with 56 points, Liverpool seventh with 54 points, Everton eighth with 52 points and Arsenal ninth with 49 points.
The basics of qualification
According to UEFA rules, there can only be a maximum of seven English teams split in the Champions League and the Europa League.
Usually the top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League, with the fifth-place team entering the Europa League, alongside the FA Cup winner.
This season things are a bit complicated with a new competition, the Europa League, which will be launched in 2021/22. The rules state that the winner of the Carabao Cup takes part in it.
United are in the Europa League final after beating Roma
Places to be won
The lineup of Carabao Cup winners Man City and FA Cup runners-up – Chelsea and Leicester – means there will be European places up for grabs lower in the Premier League this season.
The rules state that if the FA Cup winners finish in the Premier League top five, which Chelsea and Leicester are likely to do, their Europa League group stage place will go to the next highest-ranked team. who is not already qualified.
Meanwhile, by winning the Carabao Cup, Man City have technically earned a place in UEFA’s third competition, the Europa Conference League for next season.
However, as they will be in the Champions League instead, their place will filter the Premier League table.
Alternative qualification methods
This season is guaranteed to have an English Champions League winner: Man City or Chelsea.
If they had bad seasons domestically, they would be assured of Champions League football next season by winning this year’s competition. But with City leading the Premier League and Chelsea also in the top four, both are likely to qualify anyway.
The same goes for Man United, who are second and likely to secure a Champions League spot thanks to their league position, and even if they didn’t, they could earn it by beating Villarreal in Europa League final.
However, there is bad news for teams outside of the top four and hoping to sneak a spot, however. Indeed, the rules state that if a club wins the Champions League or the Europa League and finishes in the top four, its qualification for the Champions League thanks to its position in the league is not transferred to another team.
Man City’s Carabao Cup final victory means Europa League berth is up for grabs
This means that if Man City beat Chelsea in the Champions League final, then their place does not go to the fifth team. The same is true if Chelsea win and finish in the top four.
Now that Arsenal is no longer in the Europa League, the only way England could have five teams in the Champions League next season is if Chelsea win this year’s final but fail to finish in the top four. .
So while a prized Champions League spot looks like a tough demand for those not in the top four right now, a consolation prize of a Europa League spot is still on hand, if FA Cup finalists Leicester and Chelsea both finish in the top four.
Meanwhile, a place in the new Europa League will be awarded thanks to Man City’s victory in the Carabao Cup.