Chelsea Hold Arsenal’s Champions League Ticket

The UEFA Champions League and Europa League finals are to be contested by four English teams for the first time in the history of the two competitions.

Liverpool and Tottenham will meet in the Champions League final in Madrid on 1 June, with Chelsea and Arsenal play in the Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan on Wednesday, 29 May.

With the winners of both tournaments getting in next season’s Champions League, what does that mean for English qualification places? BBC Sport takes a look at what it portends for Arsenal and Tottenham aspiring to play in the prime competition?

Who qualifies for Europe usually?

The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League, while the FA Cup winners, the Carabao Cup winners and the fifth-placed side in the top flight go into the Europa League.

If the winners of the two cups finish in the top four, their places go to the teams sixth and seventh in the league.

But the winners of the Champions League and Europa League – both guaranteed to be English – also qualify. So what happens here?

Will England get an extra Champions League spot?

England will only get a fifth team in the Champions League if a club who finish outside the top four win one of the tournaments.

Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League this season. That means they need to win the Europa League to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

If they lose their final, they will be in the Europa League group stages next season.

What happens if a team wins either cup and finishes in the top four?

Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham all finished in the top four. If any of those teams win their tournament, their Champions League spot does not transfer down to the next Premier League side.

What happens to their spot may surprise you.

If Chelsea win the Europa League, it means Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg go straight into the group stages instead of qualifying. That is because the Austrian Bundesliga, at 11th, is the top-ranked league not to have an automatic Champions League qualifier.

With both Champions League finalists in the top four, the third-placed team in France’s Ligue 1 – likely to be Lyon or Saint-Etienne – go straight into the group stages instead of the qualifiers. France is the highest-ranked league, at fifth, to have a team enter the qualifiers.

So Chelsea can deny Arsenal a place?

Yes, effectively Chelsea can stop Arsenal qualifying for the Champions League twice – through both the Premier League and Europa League.

Maurizio Sarri’s side’s group spot for next season is booked through the league, which means all they are playing for in the Europa League final is the prestige of winning the trophy.

If they win, they are still in the Champions League and Arsenal miss out. If Arsenal win, then they will both be in next season’s Champions League.

Who else gets in the Europa League?

Arsenal, unless they win the Europa League, and Manchester United have booked their places in next season’s tournament.

If Manchester City win the FA Cup, then seventh place in the Premier League – Wolves – will go into the Europa League second qualifying round on 25 July.

But if Watford win the FA Cup, then the Hornets will go straight into the group stages – and sixth place in the Premier League goes into the qualifiers instead.

That would mean United’s first leg would clash with their pre-season plans abroad.

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