Chelsea Europa League qualification permutations explained after Everton win in top four wait

Chelsea players celebrate against Everton
Chelsea have pushed themselves back into the top six conversation with European qualification possible -Credit:Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea are well in the hunt for the European places. Their 6-0 hammering of Everton has put Mauricio Pochettino's side not only back in the running to finish in the top six but also have it within their control.

With at least one game in hand on every side ahead of them in the table - and two matches on West Ham - the Blues are now in charge of their own destiny. Sat on 47 points from 31 matches they are one behind the Hammers in eighth, three off Manchester United in seventh, and the same from Newcastle in sixth.

Their goal difference has also been heavily boosted by their recent goalscoring exploits, already 15 better off than West Ham and 10 ahead of United. Newcastle's own impressive weekend victory - a 4-0 demolition of Tottenham - has them on +17.

Although Chelsea could lose ground on their rivals when they take on Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, the strong position remains following yet more dropped points for both West Ham and Manchester United. Pochettino has a tough fixture list ahead but must also welcome David Moyes to Stamford Bridge and travel to Brighton in a battle between the mid-table teams.

What is frustrating despite the commanding win on Monday night against the Toffees, is that Chelsea have already let their position slip. Draws to both Burnley and Sheffield United either side of their dramatic 4-3 win over the Red Devils have left them four points worse off than they would have expected to be.

With victories in those games as many would have expected, they would be in sixth in spite of the constant feeling that the club are teetering on the verge of turmoil. The table and recent form tell very different stories to the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge on matchday with a crisis still eternally just 15 minutes away.

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Now, with plenty to play for in the last month of the season, a spot in Europe is very much in the cards for Chelsea. Just how they get there is less clear.

There is ongoing confusion over which positions in the top five leagues will result in qualification for the Champions League, Europa League, and Conference League. Still waiting for the UEFA coefficient rankings to be decided, teams are currently playing a guessing game over just what their final league position will entitle them to.

England are currently in the mix with Germany to be granted an additional fifth place in the Champions League next season as part of the new model. Losses for Liverpool and West Ham in the Europa League quarter-final first legs last week have dented the hopes of this becoming a reality.

If it is to just be a top four in the Champions League then the equation is relatively simple. The team in fifth will qualify for the Europa League group stages and sixth will be in the same camp if the FA Cup winners have already qualified for Europe through their league position.

Given Manchester City and Manchester United as well as Chelsea are in the final four, the chances of this seem high. If not then the winner of the FA Cup gets a Europa League spot - a possible saving grace for Chelsea or United if they were to drop off massively in the coming weeks, and sixth would become a Europa Conference League playoff place.

Things then get a bit more complex in seventh. This will qualify a team for the Europa Conference League playoffs if the Carabao Cup winners have already qualified for Europe through their league position. Liverpool have already won this and would need to lose every remaining game to have even a minuscule chance of finishing outside the qualification spots.

However, seventh will not qualify a team for Europe if sixth place was to become a Conference League spot in the above scenario. There are then the five Champions League spaces to look at. Here is how that would look:

Top five - Qualify for the Champions League. Sixth - Qualifies for the Europa League group stages. Seventh - Qualifies for the Europa League group stages if the FA Cup winners have already qualified for Europe through their league position. If they have not, seventh becomes the Europa Conference League playoff spot. Eighth- Qualifies for the Europa Conference League playoffs if the Carabao Cup winners have qualified for Europe through their league position. If not, this position will miss out on Europe if seventh becomes the Europa Conference League spot.