Could Man United Qualify For Champions League As England’s Fifth Best Team?

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Manchester United did not enjoy their European campaign this season. It was one of their worst Champions League campaigns in the 30+ years of the revamped competition, as they finished bottom of their group, behind the likes of Copenhagen and Galatasaray. They also conceded the record-breaking 15 goals and finished with mere four points, beating only Copenhagen at home in the process. But now, with the season getting closer to its climax, the race for United’s new Champions League qualification is getting hotter.

Following their four consecutive league wins, Man United are in the sixth place in the Premier League, five points behind Aston Villa who are in fourth, and three points behind the fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. A top four finish would see Erik Ten Hag’s side reach the Champions League once again, an important feat especially after such a poor start to the campaign. Yet, it is from this season that it is possible for United to reach Champions League from the fifth place, as the top European competition is going through a radical revamp.

Starting from 2024-25, Champions League will have 36 clubs, four more than before, and two of those extra spots will be given to Europe’s best two leagues in terms of UEFA coefficients from the previous season. And this is where things get interesting. As things stand, those extra places would go to Italy and Germany, who are currently leading the race with 15,142 and 14,071 points. England are in third place with 13,875 and after Arsenal’s Champions League to Porto on Wednesday night, it is confirmed England cannot overtake Germany this week, whatever the results in the Europa League and Conference League on Thursday night.

Funnily enough, because of their poor start of the season, Man United will be among the clubs looking at this race with most eagerness, but they will not be able to help out. In fact, this situation in which England currently sits is partly because of their terrible Champions League campaign. They got straight up eliminated, the same as Newcastle did too, so England are a bit shorthanded in trying to get that fifth team to Champions League next season. Therefore, United will have to hope for Man City and Arsenal to do well in the Champions League, but also to cheer for Liverpool, Brighton and West Ham in Europa League, and Aston Villa in the Conference League.

If those six clubs do well, they will have big chances of getting past Germany in this season’s rankings, thus earning Premier League that fifth spot in Europe’s elite competition next season. And if that happens, than United’s race for Champions League qualification will be a much simpler one – they would have to overtake just one of the five teams in front of them, most realistically one of Tottenham and Villa. With the Birmingham side still being in European competitions, their form could keep faltering, while United will only be focused on the league and the FA Cup in the meantime.

Things are getting interesting and the next three months will be decisive for Manchester United’s future – not only for the competitions in which they will participate next season, but also for their transfer business in the summer. Champions League could lure some better players to Old Trafford.

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