How Chelsea can qualify for European football after win over West Ham

Europa Hope Alive: How Chelsea can qualify for European football with Newcastle United and Man United outcome explained

Chelsea ensured that there is still plenty to play for in their final three matches of the season after battering West Ham at Stamford Bridge. Mauricio Pochettino’s men made it three wins with a clean sheet in a row at home, scoring 13 times in the process, leaving them well in the hunt for European qualification.

They have now responded to the 5-0 thumping from Arsenal with a strong second-half fightback away to Aston Villa followed by crucial derby victories over Tottenham and now West Ham in different circumstances. It leaves Pochettino with an opportunity to round off his first year at the club in a positive fashion.

The Blues moved ahead of Manchester United on Sunday with their win, also keeping the pace with Newcastle above them in sixth after Eddie Howe’s men put Burnley to the sword with their own emphatic performance on Saturday. It’s now four wins in five for the Magpies with four (and five) goals being scored in three of those.

Manchester United don’t play until Monday but will move ahead of Chelsea with even a point as they travel to Crystal Palace. Things are tight heading into the last fortnight though. Having occupied sixth for almost all of the campaign, Erik ten Hag’s men have dropped way off competing for the top four and a recent run of one league win in six has opened up an opportunity for Chelsea and Newcastle to gatecrash.

Even six weeks ago it was uncertain just how the European spots would be allocated as clubs planned for two eventualities. The Premier League had been in a season-long battle with Bundesliga and Serie A to secure an additional Champions League spot. This would have granted teams further down the table another opportunity to qualify for Europe.

However, a poor 2024 in the knockout stages for English sides has seen that possibility erode. The picture is now clear for just what each spot will grant a team. It leaves Chelsea, Newcastle, and Manchester United all fighting for one place, and then even then it might not be enough.

How can Chelsea qualify for the Europa League?

The top four teams will all be in the Champions League, as is now standard. Unlike in previous years, even if an English side had won the competition this season, the space earned from being victorious wouldn’t have been given to another side. However, it would have boosted the UEFA Coefficient and improved the chances of getting a fifth spot.

The top three are now set in stone with Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool. Aston Villa and Tottenham are still in a wrestle to finish fourth and secure their place.

Fifth will be a Europa League spot no matter what now. However, there could yet be some movement from there on.

Sixth place could be enough to qualify for the Europa League, which is what Chelsea are aiming for. However, if Manchester United were to finish seventh or below and then win the FA Cup, that would mean that finishing sixth is only enough to secure Conference League football instead.

If Manchester City win the FA Cup then sixth will become a Europa League spot as they are already in the Champions League. It means that Pep Guardiola’s side might have a much bigger fanbase come the final at the end of the month.

Chelsea will be in the Conference League no matter what as long as they finish seventh. Because Liverpool won the Carabao Cup, which qualifies a team for the lowest-ranked UEFA club competition. The entrance is via a play-off.

It means that there is still a chance that Manchester United can finish eighth and be in Europe with one of Chelsea and Newcastle in seventh not qualifying. The Europa League remains out of Chelsea’s hands in more ways than one, though their two rivals do have to play each other in the league next week.

A draw in that game would open up the chance to finish sixth, but even that may not be enough should Ten Hag manage to win the FA Cup. It’s still all to play for but could be too little too late in some senses.

One Comment

  1. If Villa win the Conference, then ninth place could qualify for a European place.
    Liverpool won Carabao so that lets seventh place in. If City win cup, then eighth
    place qualifies and if Villa finish fourth and win Conference, then ninth gets a
    Euro place.

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