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How Premier League clubs’ qualification for Champions League, Europa League will play out

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With two English teams in the Champions League final, and another two in the Europa League final, we take a look at how European qualification in the Premier League will shape up for next season.

Here’s how European qualification can pan out with these various scenarios, each based on Tottenham finishing inside the top four. Barring a remarkable set of final-day results on Sunday, in which Arsenal win and Tottenham lose with a goal difference swing of eight, Spurs will finish inside the top four.

Champions League winners: Liverpool or Tottenham
Europa League winners: Chelsea
FA Cup winners: Watford

The top four in the Premier League would go to the Champions League, with Watford and fifth in the Premier League to the Europa League group stage. Sixth in the Premier League (Arsenal or Manchester United) would enter the Europa League in the second qualifying round, with ties to be played on July 25 and Aug. 1. The team that enters UEL qualifying will have to play six matches just to reach the group stage.

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Champions League winners: Liverpool or Tottenham
Europa League winners: Chelsea
FA Cup winners: Manchester City

The difference here comes from City winning the FA Cup. As they will not need to take the place in Europa League group stage, that drops to the Premier League. So Arsenal and Manchester United would both be in the UEL group stage, with Wolves (who will finish seventh) in the second qualifying round.

Champions League winners: Liverpool or Tottenham
Europa League winners: Arsenal
FA Cup winners: Watford

The Premier League would have five teams in the Champions League — the top four plus Arsenal. There would be only two teams in the Europa League, Watford and Manchester United.

The UEFA Champions League and Europa Legue trophies are displayed.
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If the Gunners win the Europa League, the Premier League “loses” the position they would have qualified for, so United cannot benefit from Arsenal winning it by being bumped up to the group stage. Where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team enters the Europa League will depend purely on their league position — sixth would still mean the second qualifying round.

Champions League winners: Liverpool or Tottenham
Europa League winners: Arsenal
FA Cup winners: Manchester City

Here, City winning the FA Cup guarantees Manchester United will be in the Europa League group stage. Fifth and sixth would both be direct qualification slots, with Wolves in the UEL second qualifying round. Arsenal would, of course, be in the Champions League.

What if Arsenal do finish fourth?

This presents a very simple scenario if Liverpool win the Champions League, with the top four in the Champions League. There would be no knock-on effect from the Gunners winning the Europa League. If Man City win the FA Cup, then fifth and sixth go the Europa League group stage and seventh to the second qualifying round. However, if Watford win the FA Cup they go to the group stage along with fifth, while sixth starts in the second qualifying round.

If Tottenham win the Champions League and finish fifth, then the Premier League would have five teams in the UCL with Spurs as holders. The Europa League positions would be affected in the same way as explained above with Arsenal winning that competition and finishing outside the top four.

What happens to the UCL place reserved for the titleholder?

The winners of the Champions League this season — Liverpool or Tottenham — will almost certainly qualify for the competition via the league.

This will have no effect on the number of Premier League teams in next season’s draw, as the holders only take the place reserved for them if they need it themselves. So, for instance, Liverpool winning the final does not mean fifth in the league also goes into the UCL.

If the Champions League winners qualify domestically, it means the champions of Austria, FC Salzburg, will go directly through rather than having to qualify. There will also be promotions through qualifying for the Czech champions (final qualifying round), PAOK of Greece (third qualifying round), plus Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv and APOEL, the winners of the league in Cyprus (both second qualifying round).

And what about the UCL place for UEL winners?

So we’re talking about Chelsea winning the Europa League here. It’s the same scenario, with teams promoted through qualifying rounds. The third-placed team in France goes through to the group stage, with Austrian runners-up LASK Linz and second place in Turkey elevated to the third qualifying round.

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