Who qualifies for Europe? Premier League and Scottish Premiership permutations for Champions League, Europa League and Conference League

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The race for Europe is on, but which teams make it into the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference next season is still to be decided in both England and Scotland.

How many English teams qualify for European football?

There are seven European spots open to English sides – although that number could have risen to nine and the amount of teams in each individual competition could have shifted.

As a basis:

  • The top four in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League group stage
  • Fifth place and the FA Cup winners qualify for the Europa League group stage
  • The Carabao Cup winners qualify for the Europa Conference League playoff

However, because this season the FA Cup winner will be either Liverpool or Chelsea, and both those teams look set to finish in the top four, their Europa League qualifying spot for winning the FA Cup will be passed down to the next highest Premier League finisher who doesn’t qualify for Europe.

Similarly, because Liverpool won the Carabao Cup and are set to finish in the top four, their Europa Conference League qualifying spot from that competition will go to the next highest Premier League finisher without European football.

So that means sides which finish sixth and seventh in the Premier League table are in contention for a place in either the Europa League or Europa Conference League next season.

As it stands

Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal would qualify for the Champions League by finishing in the Premier League’s top four positions.

Tottenham would go into the Europa League, along with Manchester United (who would get in thanks to Chelsea or Liverpool passing on their spot from winning the FA Cup).

Seventh-placed West Ham would qualify for the Europa Conference League, thanks to Liverpool’s Carabao Cup winner’s spot being passed on.

Who’s already qualified?

Image: Arsenal secured a top-six finish in the Premier League with their win at West Ham, but they will be hoping to turn that into a top-four finish in the coming weeks

Manchester City and Liverpool have pulled clear at the top of the Premier League, and while their battle to win the Premier League title continues, they don’t have to worry about Champions League qualification.

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Meanwhile, the last two spots in the top four are still up for grabs with Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham in contention. However, whatever the outcome, it will be a top-five finish for all three teams.

When will top four be settled?

Image: Thursday's north London derby – live on Sky Sports – will have a big impact on the race for the top four

A dip in form for Chelsea has seen them dragged into the race for the top four, but all they need is four points from their final three games of the season to ensure Champions League qualification.

In a further boost to the Blues, Arsenal and Spurs play each other on Thursday – live on Sky Sports – meaning at least one of the north London teams will drop points and potentially nudge Chelsea even closer to a top-four finish.

Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal

Thursday 12th May 7:00pm Kick off 7:45pm

Arsenal can secure their place in the Champions League for the first time since 2017 with a win at Spurs, which would all but confirm Antonio Conte’s side are forced to settle for the Europa League next season.

If Spurs were to triumph at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday, they would move one point behind Arsenal with two games left of the league season.

But Spurs would still need Arsenal to slip up by drawing or losing against Newcastle or Everton, while ensuring they beat Burnley and Norwich, to leapfrog the Gunners into the top four.

Can Chelsea miss out on CL qualification?

Image: Chelsea have struggled in recent weeks amid uncertainty around ownership of the club

For so long Chelsea finishing third, let alone securing Champions League qualification, has felt like an inevitability, but there is a remote chance that they could miss out on the top four entirely.

Leeds United
Chelsea

Wednesday 11th May 7:00pm Kick off 7:30pm

Here are the scenarios:

  • If Spurs win the rest of their games – including beating Arsenal on Thursday – and Chelsea take no more than three points in their remaining three games, while the Gunners pick up five points from their other two games.
  • Alternatively, if Spurs lost at Arsenal, but won their other two games and Chelsea failed to pick up any more points.
  • Finally, if the north London derby were to end in a draw, and Chelsea failed to take more than a point in their final three games.

Chelsea (+39) boast a far superior goal difference to Arsenal (+14) and Tottenham (+20), meaning either of the north London clubs would likely need to beat their points total to finish above the Blues.

Could Man Utd be playing in the Conference League?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brighton’s win against Manchester United in the Premier League

Manchester United, West Ham and Wolves are the teams fighting for sixth – the final spot to secure a place in next season’s Europa League group stage.

Neither side is able to finish in fifth – even if Spurs lose their final three games.

United hold a three-point advantage over West Ham, but the Hammers have a game in hand, which is against Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday – live on Sky Sports.

West Ham United
Manchester City

Sunday 15th May 1:00pm Kick off 2:00pm

If they were to win that game, David Moyes’ side would be ahead of United heading into the final day of the season due to a far superior goal difference.

But even if the Hammers lose to City, they can finish sixth if United lose at Crystal Palace, and West Ham win at Brighton on the final day.

Wolves have an outside chance of finishing in sixth if they win all of their remaining three games of the season against Man City, Norwich and Liverpool.

They would need United to continue their poor form by losing at Selhurst Park on the final day and West Ham to pick up no more than three points from their two remaining games.

Bruno Lage’s side could, in theory, finish above West Ham if they got four points, but would need to overturn their 10-goal disadvantage in goal difference.

How can Celtic and Rangers both qualify for CL?

Image: Rangers are in the Europa League final – which could secure them a place in the Champions League

Celtic are on the brink of regaining the Scottish Premiership title – needing just a point at Dundee United on Wednesday to secure it – which would give them direct passage to the Champions League group stage next season.

Rangers can also join their Old Firm rivals in the Champions League group stage if they beat Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final on May 18 in Seville.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Hearts

If they lose in Spain, Rangers will still have a shot at reaching the Europe’s elite competition as their second-place finish secures them a place in the Champions League third qualifying round.

But even if Rangers were to fail to get through the Champions League qualifying rounds, they would still be assured of a place in next season’s Europa League group stage.

How many Scottish teams can qualify for Europe?

Image: Hearts have secured a Europa League playoff spot already

Five teams can qualify for Europe from Scotland this season.

Hearts – along with Celtic and Rangers – are guaranteed a place in the group stage of European competition for the first time in 17 years after reaching the Scottish Cup final, where they will play Rangers, and securing a third-place finish in the Scottish Premiership.

Usually in Scotland, the third and fourth-placed teams qualify for the Europa Conference League in the third and second qualifying rounds respectively.

Meanwhile, the winners of the Scottish Cup earn a Europa League playoff spot.

However, if the victors have already qualified for the Europa League or the Champions League – as Rangers have done – that playoff spot would fall to the team in third, which in this case is Hearts.

So even if Hearts lose the final, they will be playing in the Europa League playoff, with qualification to the Europa Conference League assured if they are unsuccessful.

That leaves Dundee United, Motherwell and Ross County to battle it out for fourth and fifth, which, in this scenario, earns the teams a place in the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds.

Follow the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League with Sky Sports

You can follow all of the action as Europe’s top competitions reach their climax with Sky Sports, with all the build-up and our dedicated live blogs, match reports, reaction and analysis on the Sky Sports website and App.

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