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First Europa League spot to be confirmed with the Carabao Cup final between Manchester City and Aston Villa on Sunday March 1, live on Sky Sports

Attentions are starting to turn towards Champions League and Europa League qualification for the 2020/21 season. But how does it work and which teams could make it?

In the 2019/20 season, seven Premier League teams were involved in European competition and all made it through the knockout rounds.

Here's how qualification works for each competition, what the FA Cup and Carabao Cup could mean and who needs what to make it into Europe...

How to qualify for the Champions League

Let's start off simple. In a regular season, the top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. Those days of Champions League qualifiers for finishing third and fourth have gone.

Winning the Champions League and Europa League respectively also guarantees a place in the group stages, with Liverpool and Chelsea having done so last season. Both teams also finished in the top four, which would also have secured their place in the competition.

Only seven teams from England can compete across both competitions.

How to qualify for the Europa League

There are three ways to qualify for the Europa League, with the most conventional being a fifth-place finish in the Premier League.

But cup wins also count. An FA Cup victory secures a place in the Europa League group stage, while a Carabao Cup win ensures a spot in the second qualifying round of the competition.

If the winners of the FA Cup finish fifth or higher in the Premier League, their spot in the Europa League group stage goes to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.

The same applies to the Carabao Cup. If the winners finish in the top five - or top six if the FA Cup winner finishes in the top five - their spot in the second qualifying round of the Europa League goes to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.

For example, last season, Manchester City won both cups and the Premier League. Therefore, their spot in the group stage from the FA Cup victory was given to Manchester United - who finished in sixth - and seventh place Wolves entered into the second qualifying round.

The first Europa League place will be decided when the Carabao Cup final takes place on Sunday March 1, live on Sky Sports, as City look to defend their title against Aston Villa at Wembley.

But fourth may not guarantee a Champions League place...

Tottenham fans look away now. Spurs, of course, were demoted to the Europa League in 2012 despite finishing fourth after sixth-placed Chelsea won the Champions League.

Should the winners of the Champions League and Europa League both come from England - as they did last season - and finish outside the top four, the team finishing in fourth place would drop into the Europa League.

As it stands, this could happen with three teams currently outside the top four but still in both competitions - Tottenham in the Champions League and Manchester United and Wolves in the Europa League.

My team could finish in seventh, do they have a chance?

Absolutely. As already mentioned, Wolves finished in seventh last season and qualified for the Europa League second qualifying round with Manchester City winning the domestic treble.

The previous season, Burnley also finished seventh and competed in the qualifying rounds. Chelsea won the FA Cup and also finished in fifth, handing their Europa League group-stage place from their cup win to sixth-placed Arsenal.

City also won the Carabao Cup and Premier League, with their second-round qualifying place from their cup win going to the next highest placed team yet to qualify for a UEFA competition, which was Burnley.

Who needs what this season?

Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester

If Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester remain in the top three, they will qualify for the Champions League group stages. Third-placed Leicester have a 12-point gap to fifth place - which would drop them into the Europa League - while Liverpool and City could also qualify by winning the Champions League.

All three teams are still in the FA Cup, which would secure a spot in the Europa League group stages, but this would drop down to sixth place if they finish in the top four. City can also secure their place in the Europa League second qualifying round with a win in the Carabao Cup final.

Race for fourth

Chelsea are currently fourth. The team that finishes fourth will qualify for the Champions League group stage, providing that, if the competition is won by an English team, they do not finish outside the top four. They will also qualify for the Champions League if they win the title.

The Europa League would require a fifth-place finish or to win the FA Cup. Should a side finish lower than fifth, they could still qualify for the Europa League by default of another side in the top five winning the FA Cup or the Carabao Cup and being the next highest side to not have qualified for a UEFA competition.

Much like Wolves last year, Sheffield United are eyeing a place in European competition in their first season back in the Premier League. They are two points off fourth - which would likely secure them a spot in the Champions League group stages - and their current fifth place would send them straight into the Europa League group stages. They would also make it into the Europa League if they win the FA Cup.

If Sheffield United slipped behind Tottenham into sixth or below Everton into seventh they would need any of the teams above them to win a cup. If it is the FA Cup, they will go into the Europa League group stages as the next highest side to not have qualified for a UEFA competition, while the Carabao Cup would see them into the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

Manchester United and Wolves

Manchester United and Wolves are similar to Sheffield United, but have an extra lifeline - winning the Europa League, which would secure them a place in the Champions League for next season.

United are also still in the FA Cup, and could qualify for the Europa League group stages with a win.

Only seven Premier League teams can play in Europe. Currently, United occupy seventh on goal difference with Wolves in eighth and should both FA Cup and Carabao Cup places drop down the table, then it would be the seventh-placed side that will nab the European spot.

Aston Villa


Theoretically, if Aston Villa win the Carabao Cup but are relegated at the end of the season, they could enter the Europa League second qualifying round while also playing in the Sky Bet Championship.

But Sheffield United, Manchester United and Wolves will not want to see them lift the trophy on Sunday March 1. This would mean that the team finishing seventh would definitely not reach Europe next season with Aston Villa highly unlikely to finish higher than any of them this season.

A Manchester City win means there is a higher likelihood of the Carabao Cup spot dropping down the table, with sixth and seventh places set to benefit.

Elsewhere...

The middle of the Premier League table is tightly packed and a number of other sides can also sneak into European contention.

Arsenal are the team to watch in the chasing pack. They are still in the FA Cup and the Europa League, and a win in either would see them compete in Europe next season. Newcastle are also in FA Cup contention and could make it to the Europa League with a victory.

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