Finishing fourth in the Premier League and still not in the Champions League? That opportunity exists for Leicester City and West Ham United, the clubs that are doing well in the English league this season. Chelsea and Arsenal can throw a spanner in the works with success in Europe.
Chelsea and Arsenal can win the Champions League and Europa League in May. Chelsea drew 1-1 with Real Madrid on Tuesday in the semi-finals of the Champions League. A goalless draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday is enough for a place in the final against Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.
A 1-0 win over Villarreal is enough for Arsenal on Thursday, after Mikel Arteta’s team lost 2-1 to the Spanish subtopper on Thursday. Manchester United is very likely to wait in the final, which won the first leg against AS Roma 6-2. Arsenal are currently 10th in the Premier League, but winning the Europa League comes with a ticket to the Champions League group stage as a reward.
West Ham United
If Chelsea and Arsenal win the Champions League and Europa League, but Chelsea don’t finish in the top 4, a problem arises. England is not allowed to register 6 clubs for the Champions League. The number 4 will then have to enter the Europa League. Chelsea are currently 4th, but the lead over West Ham United is only 3 points with 5 rounds to go. The chance is still small for the time being, but there is still a chance that Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur will also grab a CL ticket when it still finishes in 4th place.
Rest of the tickets
The numbers 5 and 6 qualify for the group stage of the Europa League. The number 7 will enter the preliminary rounds, as (upcoming champion) Manchester City won the League Cup and the FA Cup final on May 15 is between Chelsea and Leicester City.
Liverpool in 2005
England may forgive 5 tickets for the Champions League. It happened twice that an English club won a European prize, but did not finish among the top 4 clubs in the competition. In 2005, Liverpool won the Champions League, but finished 5th in the competition. At the time, the rule was that each country could send a maximum of 4 clubs to the Champions League, but UEFA ended that that summer because the European Football Association believed that the winner should always be able to defend the title.
Manchester United in 2017
Liverpool then settled in the preliminary rounds with The New Saints from Wales, FBK Kaunas from Lithuania and CSKA Sofia from Bulgaria. Manchester United became 6th in the Premier League in 2017, but José Mourinho’s team did win the Europa League (by beating Ajax in the final) and was still allowed to enter the Champions League straight away.
The position in England after 33 matches
1. Manchester City – 77 points
2. Manchester United – 67 points
3. Leicester City – 62 points
4. Chelsea – 58 points
West Ham United – 55 points
6. Liverpool – 54 points
7. Tottenham Hotspur – 53 points