Why Premier League is now at risk of missing out on fifth Champions League spot

It was a ‘painful’ week for English clubs as Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham all crashed out of Europe

Jamie Braidwood
Friday 19 April 2024 09:11 BST
Arsenal's Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich 'painful', admits Arteta

The Premier League’s hopes of gaining an extra Champions League spot in next season’s revamped competition have been dealt a blow following another poor week of results in Europe.

The Champions League is being expanded to a 36-team tournament from 2024/25 and two of the extra four places will be awarded to countries whose teams perform best in this season’s European competitions.

As confirmed by Uefa on their website, England currently sits third in the race, behind Italy and Germany, which would mean Serie A and the Bundesliga receive a fifth Champions League place next season.

England were considered favourites to claim the fifth Champions League spot, with Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa all considered among the favourites to win European titles this campaign in their respective competitions.

But Villa are the last English team left standing after quarter-final defeats for Manchester City against Real Madrid and Arsenal to Bayern Munich in the Champions League - followed by Liverpool and West Ham crashing out of the Europa League.

It means there is now a real chance that England’s coefficient will not be high enough to claim one of the two extra spots - with Villa now the only team who can win European honours after advancing to the Europa Conference League semi-finals under Unai Emery.

Tottenham Hotspur currently hold fifth place in the Premier League. Ange Postecoglou’s side are three points behind Villa, who hold the final automatic spot, with a game in hand, but have to play Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City before the end of the season. Manchester United and Newcastle are 10 points off fifth.

Fifth place would guarantee entry to next season’s Champions League should England finish into the top two of this season’s Uefa club coefficient table. The standings are worked out by the total number of club coefficient points obtained by each club from an association divided by the number of clubs from that association.


If applied last season, England would have finished in the top two along with the Netherlands. England’s coefficient was boosted by Manchester City winning the Champions League and West Ham winning the Europa Conference League.

Italy have already done enough to claim one of the two spots and lead the coefficient standings. They are top with a score of 19.428, Germany are second on 17.928 and England are third on 17.375.

Both Manchester United and Newcastle United crashed out of the Champions League group stages before Christmas, and Manchester City and Arsenal only made it through to quarter-finals.

Germany, however, have two Champions League semi-finalists, with Bayern Munich joined by Borussia Dortmund after they knocked out Atletico Madrid. Bundesliga champions Leverkusen then made it three European semi-finalists after a 1-1 draw at West Ham.

Despite its three Champions League teams being knocked out before the quarter-finals, Italy’s coefficient is looking strong because of its performances in the Europa League and Conference League.

Roma and Atalanta are through to the Europa League semi-finals, while Fiorentina have reached the Conference League semi-finals.

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