How can United qualify for Europe?

Friday 17 May 2024 10:59

Manchester United go into the final day of the Premier League season in eighth place.

That would not be enough to qualify for European competition, with the Reds needing to overtake Newcastle United and finish seventh to secure a place in next season’s UEFA Conference League.

After Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Magpies, we are now level on 57 points with Eddie Howe’s men, although they do have a vastly superior goal difference – the Reds would require an unheard-of 24-goal swing to nullify that advantage.

This means that United have to better Newcastle’s result on Sunday, when both sides have potentially tricky looking away trips to close out the campaign.

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We visit Brighton & Hove Albion, who are seeking an unprecedented fifth successive league win against us, while Newcastle travel to Brentford.

The Magpies’ away form has been patchy this season, although four of their five victories on the road have come since the turn of the year, at Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Fulham and, a fortnight ago, Burnley.

Thomas Frank's men have only lost to Manchester City and Liverpool at home in 2024, while Mason Mount's goal in our 1-1 draw in March is the last time their defence was breached at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Although they cannot reach Tottenham in fifth, Newcastle will also be motivated by the possibility of overtaking Chelsea, who sit one place and three points above them.

While the Blues, who host Bournemouth on Sunday, are out of United’s range (a 16-goal swing would need to close), they could still finish anywhere between fifth and seventh, although the latter may not be enough for a continental spot, given there is still an Emirates FA Cup final to be held...


5. Tottenham  37 10 63 
6. Chelsea 37 13 60
7. Newcastle 37 21  57
8. UNITED 37  -3 57

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Of course, if United don’t manage to qualify for Europe via our Premier League finish, we will have a second chance at Wembley next Saturday.

The Emirates FA Cup winners are guaranteed a spot in the expanded Europa League group phase, so if the Reds do lift the cup in London, we would join the fifth-placed Premier League team in that competition.

Sixth place would qualify for the Conference League, with the seventh-placed side in this scenario missing out on Europe altogether.

A Manchester City win in the final would see that Europa League berth go to sixth in the league, as Pep Guardiola’s side have already qualified for the UEFA Champions League.

In this situation, seventh would make it to the Conference League, which was established as the third continental competition in 2021.