How Manchester United can still qualify for Europe after Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag -Credit:Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Manchester United's quest to secure European football was dealt a blow after Chelsea's win over Nottingham Forest.

United are due to face Arsenal on Sunday at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Erik ten Hag's side are currently in eighth place and are battling with Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur for a spot in Europe.

Saturday night saw Chelsea face Forest at the City Ground. The London club claimed a dramatic 3-2 win thanks to goals from Mykhailo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson. The result sees United fall three points behind seventh-placed Chelsea going into Sunday's clash against Arsenal.

United have just three Premier League fixtures to try and secure European football. After facing Arsenal, the Reds still have to play Newcastle and Brighton, in games that may decide whether or not the club will be competing in Europe next season.

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It still remains to be seen what exact standings in the Premier League table mean for European qualification. Only Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool have secured their spot in the Champions League so far, with the remaining spot going to either Aston Villa or Tottenham Hotspur.

United will still have ambitions of qualifying for the Europa League next season. However, it's still not certain which positions in the table will grant qualification for the competition.

Should United beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final then they would automatically secure a spot in the Europa League. However, if the Reds fail to win the trophy then they will need to rely on their league position to qualify for Europe.

At the moment only fifth place in the Premier League is enough for qualification for the Europa League. The team that finishes sixth will then qualify for the Europa Conference League, but that could still change.

Should City win the FA Cup, then their spot in the Europa League which they would earn from the trophy would be transferred to the team that finishes sixth in the Premier League. At that point, the team that finishes seventh would then qualify for the Europa Conference League.

As a result, if United finish sixth in the Premier League this season, they are guaranteed to be playing Europa League football. If United finish seventh or eighth, then they would need to beat City to be able to qualify for the tournament's group stages.