Could fourth place in Premier League go to Europa League?

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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Wanna get nuts?

There’s a scenario in which the Premier League powers’ annual goal of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League via the Top Four goes up in smoke.

With only two PL clubs seemingly certain to finish in the Top Four — Liverpool and Manchester City — the race for the third is the one to watch in terms of UCL certainty.

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Why? If the Premier League’s fifth- and sixth-placed teams win the Champions League and Europa League, then the fourth-placed team will be bumped down to the Europa.

The odds of a PL club winning the UEL are very good, with Chelsea the oddsmakers’ favorite and Arsenal in the Top Three (Napoli is also considered a contender).

And should Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur win the UCL but finish outside the Top Four? Then place No. 4 in the PL is a UEL gig.

United has the worst schedule congestion of all Top Four contenders, and is the only one to face three other Top Six sides the rest of the way, so the idea of United somehow winning the UCL and finishing fifth or sixth is far from improbable.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Manchester City 29 23 2 4 76 20 56 14-0-1 9-2-3 71
 Liverpool 29 21 7 1 64 15 49 12-2-0 9-5-1 70
 Tottenham Hotspur 29 20 1 8 56 30 26 9-1-4 11-0-4 61
 Manchester United 29 17 7 5 58 38 20 8-5-1 9-2-4 58
 Arsenal 29 17 6 6 61 39 22 12-2-1 5-4-5 57
 Chelsea 28 17 5 6 49 30 19 9-4-1 8-1-5 56