Manchester United route to Europe as every permutation explained after horror Crystal Palace defeat

Rasmus Hojlund of Manchester United looks dejected after his side concedes the first goal scored by Michael Olise of Crystal Palace
Manchester United's route to Europe as every permutation explained -Credit:Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

As the race for European football approaches the home straight, Manchester United will need to shift into fifth gear.

The Red Devils have been given a major blow to their chances of claiming Europa League qualification following a 4-0 defeat to Crystal Palace. Oliver Glasner's side began in the ascendancy, with Michael Olise firing the Eagles ahead inside the opening quarter of an hour.

Jean-Philippe Mateta then doubled Crystal Palace's lead shortly before half-time, netting his ninth goal in his last 11 Premier League games. Palace raced into a 4-0 lead just over 20 minutes after the restart through Tyrick Mitchell and Olise's second of the night.

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United are now in eighth position, with 54 points from their 35 games this season. They are six points from Tottenham Hotspur in fifth place and a whopping 13 from Aston Villa in fourth.

Despite this, the season is far from over with three more games left to play – one of which being an FA Cup final at the end of the month. So, with that being said, the Manchester Evening News has looked at the different ways the Red Devils can secure European football.

Premier League

Italy and Germany have claimed the extra Champions League qualifying spots, so only the top four in the Premier League will go into next season's new-look tournament. Aston Villa need just three more points from their final two games to join Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Only Tottenham Hotspur can rival Unai Emery's side for a place in the top four. Fifth place will qualify for next season's Europa League, with the team going straight into the new setup rather than playing any additional pre-qualifiers.

Now, fifth place isn't out of the realms of possibility for Manchester United, but it's certainly a tough task. With Spurs, Newcastle and Chelsea also looking to the climb the Premier League table, the FA Cup final throws the Red Devils a lifeline.

FA Cup

The winners of the FA Cup will also claim a place in the Europa League. If the winners of the competition finish in the top five of the Premier League – and therefore qualify for the Champions League or Europa League through their league position – the Europa League spot will be passed down to the next-highest ranked English top-flight outfit not competing in Europe.


So, here are the permutations. If Manchester United don't finish in the top five but win the FA Cup they qualify for the Europa League, with sixth place claiming a Europa Conference League spot.

If the Red Devils don't win the FA Cup then Europa League qualification will be awarded to fifth and sixth, while seventh claims Europa Conference League. Therefore, Manchester United can afford to not win the FA Cup so long as they finish in the top seven.

Current Standings

Manchester United currently sit in eighth place on 54 points, meanwhile, Newcastle rank in sixth on 56 points and Chelsea are in seventh on 54 points. Each of the three sides has three games left before the end of the Premier League season.

Remaining Fixtures

Manchester United

Arsenal (H) – Sunday, May 12

Newcastle United (H) – Wednesday, May 15

Brighton (A) – Sunday, May 19

Newcastle United

Brighton (H) – Saturday, May 11

Man United (A) – Wednesday, May 15

Brentford (A) – Sunday, May 19


Nottingham Forest (A) – Saturday, May 11

Brighton (A) – Wednesday, May 15

Bournemouth (H) – Sunday, May 19