After a long time, the Premier League has been a closely contested affair this season.
Leicester City have continued their fairytale this late into the season and look set to create history at the end of the season. But North-London clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are not too far away.
The Foxes have already qualified for Europe next season but the various interesting scenarios that can take place in the Premier League this season might see them end up in the Europe league if they fail to take any points from any of their remaining fixtures.
Though that is not looking possible, the clubs battling for the 4th spot will have a tough time this season.
Manchester City, Manchester United, West Ham and Liverpool are all in the race for that place but interestingly enough for a season like this, a 4th place finish may also not provide a sure Champions League spot.
Manchester City and Liverpool have done exceptionally well in Europe and Manchester United are still alive in the FA Cup. This has seen the qualifying spots from the Premier League turn into an equation.
According to the regulations from the UEFA, every country can have at the most 5 teams qualifying for the Champions League but the Premier League this season will see six to 7 teams fight for those spots.
The Europa League will have 3 clubs from England. The 5th and the 6th placed teams will join the winner of the FA Cup in the competition.
With a lot of games still to play and different results possible, there are plenty of scenarios to look at for European qualification next season.
Here are the various scenarios possible and the European qualifications explained:
If Liverpool win the Europa League:
The Reds miraculously overcame the men from Germany in the quarter-final to book a semi-final game against Villareal later this month. If the Merseyside outfit end up winning the competition, they will take up one of the 5 spots leaving the other 4 for the top-4 teams in the points table with the 4th placed team facing a play-off to reach the group stage.
This rule from the UEFA to allow 5 teams in the elite competition came about when Sevilla retained their Europa League title and joined Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Valencia in the competition.
If Liverpool finish in the top-5, the Europa League places will extend till the 7th place.
However, if Manchester United win the FA Cup and finish in the top-6 along with Liverpool, the 7th and 8th placed team will also qualify for the competition.
If Manchester City win the Champions League:
Though it is a long shot, Pellegrini’s side have shown the determination needed and have every chance to go all the way this season. If they do manage to lift the trophy and finish in a top-4 spot, the 5th placed team in the points table will qualify for the playoffs for the next year’s competition.
If they do not finish in the top-4 and win the UCL, they will take the final place from England in the competition leaving the 4th placed team to enter the qualifying stage of the competition.
If Manchester United win the FA Cup:
Winning the FA Cup provides a free entry into the Europe league next season. If the Red Devils, who will face Everton in the semi-final go the distance, and finish outside the top-4, the 7th placed team in the points table will also get a chance to play in the Europa league.
If they finish inside the top-4, only two clubs from England will play in the UEL next season.
If Manchester City and Liverpool both lift the European trophies:
This is the trickiest part of these scenarios.
If City manage to win the UCL trophy and finish inside the top-4 the remaining UCL spot will be filled by the highest ranking team after Manchester City. If United finish 5th in this scenario, they have a shot at the Champions League next season.
However, If City finish outside the top-4 and Liverpool also lift the UEL trophy, things get complicated. With two places already occupied, only the top 3 teams in the Premier League will play in the Champions League next season. This will leave the club that has finished in the 4th place without Champions League football next season.
However, they will qualify for the Europa League along with the club that is highest ranked after the 4th placed club.
Surely all these scenarios are hard to understand but they will surely make the current Premier League season more interesting if that is possible.
Who do you think will qualify for the Champions League and the Europa League next season?