Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League qualification explained: Who will be playing in Europe next season?

Seven English teams will be playing in Europe next season but how do sides qualify for the Champions League, Europa League, or the new Europa Conference League? And what happens if cup winners finish in the top four of the Premier League?

EVERTON

The European Super League has been quashed but the race is very much on to qualify for the Champions League, Europa League, or the new Europa Conference League.

Here's how qualification works - and why the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup winners make a difference to those chasing qualification through the Premier League.

It gets a little complicated but keep in mind, the maximum number of English teams in UEFA competitions is seven...

Champions League qualification

The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.

Winning the Champions League or Europa League also guarantees a place in the group stages.

Up to five English teams can qualify for the Champions League through these two methods but if Manchester United win the Europa League and finish in the top four, their qualification for the Champions League through their league position is not transferred to another team.

How fourth place now guarantees a Champions League place...

There was only one scenario that could play out and mean the fourth-placed finisher misses out on Champions League football.

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It would have occurred if Chelsea finished outside the top four and won the Champions League and Arsenal finished outside the top four and won the Europa League.

But Arsenal's Europa League exit to Villarreal in the semi-finals means the top four are now assured of a Champions League berth.

Europa League and Europa Conference League qualification

There are two Europa League spots available to English clubs. One goes to the team which finishes fifth in the Premier League, the second goes to the side which wins the FA Cup.

As well as the Champions League and the Europa League, the Europa Conference League launches next season.

The idea behind the Europa Conference League is to give more clubs a taste of European football, particularly sides from countries that struggle to qualify for the other two UEFA competitions. But there's a spot up for grabs for English clubs, too.

The winner of the Carabao Cup was guaranteed to qualify for the Europa Conference League play-off round. But after Manchester City lifted the trophy - having already secured a place in the Champions League qualifying spot - their place will be passed on to the next highest-ranked Premier League side which has not qualified for a UEFA competition.

Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho celebrate with the trophy after winning the Carabao Cup (AP)
Image: Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho celebrate with the trophy after winning the Carabao Cup

Meanwhile, Leicester remain on course to qualify for the Champions League through their Premier League position. That means their Europa League qualifying spot for winning the FA Cup will be passed on to the next highest-ranked Premier League side which has not qualified for a UEFA competition.

Provided Leicester remain in their current league place, the Premier League's seventh-placed team will qualify for the Europa Conference League next season.

Club by club - who needs what to qualify for Europe

Man City - 83 points, 36 games

Remaining games: Brighton (away), Everton (home), Chelsea (Champions League final)

Courtesy of being crowned Premier League champions, City will be in the Champions League next season - and they could, of course, still win the trophy this year in May 29's final.

Man Utd - 70 points, 36 games

Remaining games: Fulham (home), Wolves (away), Villarreal (Europa League final)

Manchester United's win at Aston Villa coupled with West Ham's defeat later on Sunday already meant United were certain to finish in the top four prior to their loss to Leicester.

They could have, in any case, qualified for the Champions League via the Europa League - United are in the final on May 26.

Meanwhile, with Leicester potentially reaching 72 points and Chelsea 70, United still need at least one more win to be sure of finishing second.

Leicester - 66 points, 36 games

Remaining games: Chelsea (away), Tottenham (home)

Leicester are now certain to play European football next season after winning the FA Cup.

But in which European competition will they be playing next season?

Leicester's victory against a much-changed Manchester United has put them within touching distance of Champions League qualification - just four points from their remaining two matches will be enough regardless of what the teams below them in the league table do. However, Leicester's win over United has reduced the number of teams that could still finish above them from four to three - it is no longer possible for Spurs to do so.

Chelsea - 64 points, 36 games

Remaining games: Leicester (home), Aston Villa (away), Man City (Champions League final)

Chelsea had three routes into Europe at the start of this week - the FA Cup, league position, and the Champions League final. But that number has been reduced to two after their FA Cup final defeat to Leicester.

And after their surprise home defeat to Arsenal, Chelsea still need six more points from their remaining Premier League games - Leicester at home and Aston Villa away - to guarantee a top-four finish.

Chelsea could still finish the season with 70 points while Leicester can reach 72. But both teams cannot reach those tallies given they play each other in the league next week, leaving the door open to the sides just outside the top four.

But Thomas Tuchel's team could still qualify for next season's Champions League by winning the competition outright this season - if you have not heard, Chelsea face Man City in the final on May 29.

Liverpool - 63 points, 36 games

Remaining games: Burnley (away), Crystal Palace (home)

After that winning goal by goalkeeper Alisson at West Brom, Liverpool have moved to within a point of the top four - and their situation is certain to improve on Tuesday night when the two teams directly above them - Leicester and Chelsea - play each other and one or both of them will drop points.

On paper, Liverpool's remaining two fixtures look inviting. Perhaps more critically, the fact that Chelsea meet Leicester this midweek means neither of those clubs can finish the season with more than 69 points - which is the maximum Liverpool can achieve.

But even if Liverpool were to win both of their remaining games, then it would not automatically follow that they will finish in the top four. One remaining scenario is that Chelsea could win both of their games to finish with 70 points while Leicester, after a defeat at Chelsea, would beat Tottenham on the final day to end the season on 69. In that case, Liverpool, assuming they win against Burnley and Palace, would finish level on points with Leicester. If that is what transpires, the fight for fourth would be decided on goal difference. At present, Liverpool's goal difference is +21 and Leicester's +21.

Fifth place, meanwhile, will send Liverpool into the Europa League, while the Reds are also in contention for a place in the Europa Conference League if they finish best of the rest among sides not qualified for the Champions League or Europa League.

Tottenham - 59 points, 36 games

Remaining games: Aston Villa (home), Leicester (away)

With five points to make up on Chelsea and only six to play for, Tottenham's hopes of Champions League football next season hang by a thread even after their win over Wolves. But Sunday's victory means that, unless there is a huge swing in goal difference, Tottenham will be sure of qualifying for Europe if they win their two remaining games.

And while it is goal difference which puts Tottenham - plus 22 - above West Ham - plus 10 - in the Premier League table at the moment, it is also worth noting that Tottenham's goal difference is so superior to Everton's - plus 4 - that it effectively counts as an extra point over Carlo Ancelotti's team as well.

Meanwhile, Tottenham are four points ahead of rivals Arsenal with both north London clubs having two games still to play. As such, a victory against either Villa or Leicester would be enough to guarantee local end-of-season bragging rights.

West Ham - 59 points, 36 games

Remaining games: West Brom (away), Southampton (home)

West Ham were back in genuine contention to qualify for the Champions League after Arsenal's win at Chelsea but David Moyes' side failed to capitalise away at Brighton and stand five points adrift of their London rivals with just six left to play for.

West Ham cannot catch Leicester in third, and only have an outside chance of pipping Chelsea or Liverpool to fourth spot, with the 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium leaving the Hammers needing favours from elsewhere.

As above, Arsenal's Europa League exit means the Hammers will avoid the nightmare scenario of finishing fourth but missing out on the Champions League - which would have happened had both Chelsea and Arsenal finished outside the top four and won the Champions League and Europa League respectively.

And they remain in contention for a place in the Europa Conference League if they finish best of the rest among sides not qualified for the Champions League or Europa League.

Everton - 56 points, 36 games

Remaining games: Wolves (home), Man City (away)

Everton have lost form at the worst possible time in their bid to land European football next season.

The win at West Ham on May 9 has been sandwiched by three defeats and the shock loss at home to relegated Sheffield United this weekend has suddenly plunged Everton's hopes of qualifying for Europe into a remote prospect.

But with two games to go, it is also the case that Everton could finish anywhere between sixth and 10th. However, one certainty delivered this weekend is that Everton will finish behind Liverpool in the league table.

Arsenal - 55 points, 36 games

Remaining games: Crystal Palace (away), Brighton (home)

Arsenal are mathematically unable to make the top four, and their best chance of qualifying for the Champions League was extinguished when they were knocked out of the Europa League by Villarreal in the semi-finals.

Amassing enough points to reach the Europa League or even Europa Conference League still looks unlikely, leaving the club without European football for the first time in 25 years. However, were they to follow up their win at Chelsea with victories against Palace and Brighton, then Arsenal would end the season with 61 points - which might be enough.

Leeds - 53 points, 36 games

Remaining games: Southampton (away), West Brom (home)

It's still mathematically possible for Leeds to finish the season in fifth, although it would require an utterly improbable set of results for that outcome to occur.

But, given Leeds' excellent recent form and the league position of their remaining opponents, two more victories from their final two games is far from improbable, in which case Leeds would end the campaign with 59 points - as many points as West Ham and sixth-placed Tottenham have with two games to go.

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