West Ham United’s chances of finishing in a European spot have been massively boosted by the weekend’s FA Cup results.
The Hammers will wake up this morning kicking themselves after throwing away a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Arsenal.
Had West Ham held on for all three points they would have gone level with fourth-placed Chelsea.
West Ham can still dream of a Champions League spot with just nine games to go.
West Ham can still dream of Champions League but Europa would also be a fine achievement
But Europa League qualification would still be a superb achievement.
And West Ham’s hopes were given a boost following favourable results in the FA Cup over the weekend.
The top four Premier League teams qualify directly for the group stages of the Champions League.
So there would be no qualifying necessary – as has been the case sometimes in the past. That’s good news for David Moyes and West Ham if they can win the race for fourth.
Moyes has grim memories of such a scenario having led Everton into the top four only to lose the qualifier to Villarreal back in 2005.
FA Cup results give West Ham realistic chance of Europa if they can finish top six
The fifth-placed team in the Premier League qualifies for the group stage proper of the Europa League.
But competition is hotting up with West Ham involved in what now looks a five team fight for Europe.
But here’s where West Ham’s European hopes have been boosted by the FA Cup results.
The winners of the FA Cup qualify for the group stage proper of the Europa League.
But if the FA Cup winners finish in the top five of the Premier League, their Europa League group stage place will go to the sixth placed team.
And with three of the four teams left in the FA Cup currently in the top five – Man City, Chelsea and Leicester – that looks an increasingly likely scenario, meaning West Ham should get into the Europa League with a sixth place finish.
Hammers must avoid seventh place and UEFA’s woeful new competition for minnows
West Ham will also qualify for Europe with a seventh place finish IF one of the top five wins the FA Cup and Spurs finish in the top six. That’s because Tottenham play Man City in the league cup final.
But the Hammers must avoid finishing seventh at all costs.
That’s because – if Spurs finish top six – it will likely see them qualify for UEFA’s new panned and woefully named Europa Conference League.
The new European competition kicks off its inaugural campaign next season and is designed for the minnows of European football.
It will consist of 184 teams over the course of the season, including at least one from each of the 55 UEFA associations – 46 clubs will have fallen down from the Champions League or the Europa League.
Leagues represented will include Wales, Northern Ireland, Moldova and Armenia and the final is in Albania next May.
It is being dubbed the new Intertoto Cup – which ironically is the last European competition West Ham won back in 1999.