With West Ham United entering the business end of the season in the European mix, fans are starting to think about the permutations.
West Ham will go back into the top four tomorrow if they beat bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium.
Many have tipped West Ham to take advantage of this wide-open campaign given their brilliant transformation under David Moyes.
West Ham in European mix ahead of tough run
The Hammers are currently fifth and facing a tough run of fixtures.
West Ham fans are daring to dream of Champions League football for the first time.
But supporters would also be happy to qualify for the Europa League as it represents real progress.
European qualification is far from straightforward, though.
And West Ham fans will be thrilled to know fifth place could well be good enough to qualify for Europe’s top competition.
Hammers could make Champions League even if they finish fifth
That’s if a club who finishes in the top four wins it.
Man City – who look set to coast to the Premier League title – are currently the favourites to win the Champions League.
If they do, Pep Guardiola’s side would automatically qualify for the Champions League as holders.
That would push their spot obtained via the league down to fifth.
The same would be true if Chelsea or Liverpool went on to win the competition and finish in the top four – but that is a more unlikely scenario.
But Spurs or Arsenal could spoil the party even if Moyes’s side manage fourth-place finish
However before West Ham fans start getting too carried away, bitter rivals Spurs, Arsenal, Man United or Leicester could spoil the party even if Moyes’s side finish FOURTH!
Europa League winners are rewarded with a place in next season’s Champions League too.
English clubs can have a maximum five clubs in the Champions League (Premier League).
In the event that one of West Ham’s Prem rivals win the Champions League and another win the Europa League – and neither of these clubs finish in the top four of the Premier League – the club lying fourth in the table will drop into the UEFA Europa League group stage.
As title winners elect, City looked nail on for the top four. But the same cannot be said for Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal.
The permutations are enough to give West Ham fans a headache. And no doubt there will be lots of twists and turns between now and the end of the season.
But West Ham just need to concentrate on doing their bit and making sure they are in the mix come what May.
The ideal scenario would be a City Premier League and Champions League double and if an English club is to win the Europa League West Ham will need them to finish in the top four.
Unless of course Moyes’s side defy all expectations and finish second or third themselves.
One thing is for certain. This is a lot more interesting than a season of midtable mediocrity.
And it is much more enjoyable than a worrying relegation scrap.