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Race for European places: How things stand

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With fourth-placed Aston Villa closing in on a UEFA Champions League (UCL) spot and only six points between Tottenham Hotspur in fifth and Manchester United in eighth, the race to qualify for European football next season is set for a thrilling conclusion.

If Spurs fail to win any of their three remaining fixtures, Villa will be guaranteed Champions League football next season if they pick up one point across their final two matches to secure fourth spot. Even if Villa lose both of their fixtures, Spurs still would need seven points and a swing in goal difference to leapfrog them, or to win all of their remaining fixtures.

Whoever finishes fifth in the Premier League, currently Spurs, is guaranteed a place in the UEFA Europa League (UEL) group stages next season.

As it stands, the team in sixth place at the end of the season, currently Newcastle United, will earn a spot in the UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL). This is the spot that is transferred over from the EFL Cup winners, Liverpool, who are guaranteed a place in the Champions League, to the club in the highest league place not qualifying for a UEFA club competition (which is currently sixth).

Impact of FA Cup winners

However, whether sixth place qualifies for the Europa Conference League or Europa League depends on the outcome of the FA Cup final between Man Utd and Manchester City.

If Man City lift the FA Cup on Saturday 25 May, the place in the Europa League group stages that the FA Cup winners earn is transferred to the highest-placed league spot without qualifying for a UEFA competition. As the UEL is of a higher rank than the UECL, sixth place in the Premier League will qualify for the Europa League, with the Europa Conference League spot moving down a place to seventh.

Should Man Utd triumph at Wembley Stadium and finish fifth or sixth in the Premier League, they will qualify for the Europa League, while the other team finishing in the top six will join them in that competition, with the club in seventh going into the Europa Conference League.

But if Man Utd beat Man City in the FA Cup final and finish seventh or eighth in the Premier League, only the side in fifth will join United in the Europa League, with the team finishing sixth playing in the Europa Conference League next season.

No extra place if Villa win Conference League

If Villa win this season’s Europa Conference League, which earns a place in next season’s Europa League, that place will not be passed back to the Premier League table.

Unai Emery’s side lost 4-2 at home to Olympiacos in last Thursday’s semi-final first leg, with the second leg in Greece this Thursday.

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