CHELSEA may not qualify for the Champions League next season – even if they finish fourth in the Prem.
England could have five clubs on show in Europe’s elite competition next season with only three qualifying directly from the Premier League.
In theory, if the teams finishing fifth and sixth in the Premier League win their continental trophy, fourth place would be dumped out.
As things stand, it’s possible Tottenham could win the Champions League and Arsenal the Europa League.
It’s also very possible Manchester United and Chelsea bag the final top four places.
In that scenario, say United pip the Blues into third, Maurizio Sarri and Co would be the unfortunate victims of a cruel twist of fate.
Uefa qualification rules grant four automatic Champions League group stage spots to the four best-performing countries over the past five years.
But, from 2014-15, the winners of the Europa League have, like the Champions League holders, automatically earned a place in Europe’s major competition.
However, the maximum number of places any country can have in the CL is five.
As things stand, Manchester City and Liverpool looked nailed on to secure the top two spots in the Prem.
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But then, only five points separate third-placed Spurs and sixth-placed Chelsea with nine games left and 27 points to play for.
Tottenham, of course, fell foul of finishing fourth and failing to qualify for the Champions League in 2012, as Chelsea won “Old Big Ears”.
And now it could be the turn of another of the Prem’s Big Six to miss out.
To make matters worse, Man United’s epic win over PSG has made this scenario even more likely, as they could also win the Champions League, finish outside the top four and deny the fourth placed team their spot.