Some West Ham United fans have been concerned the club will have to play a Europa League qualifier before the Premier League season starts if they finish sixth.

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One win for West Ham from the last two games against West Brom and Southampton will seal at least Europa Conference League football next season.

But David Moyes has even admitted he is unsure over the new competition – which is geared towards Europe’s smallest nations and leagues and effectively replaces the old Intertoto Cup (Football London).

West Ham United v Everton - Premier League
Photo by Andy Couldridge Pool Getty Images

West Ham will not have to play dreaded Europa League qualifier

What looks highly likely now is a straight fight between West Ham and Spurs for sixth place and Europa League football.

But many Hammers supporters have voiced fears West Ham would face two-legged qualifying play-off on the eve of the new Premier League season.

And it is easy to see why given the club were knocked out in Europa League qualifying matches – by the same team no less in Romanian outfit Astra Giurgiu – in consecutive seasons in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Prior to that West Ham also exited the UEFA Cup in the very early stages having lost to Palermo in 2007 in the first round and going out in the second round back in 1999 to Steaua Bucharest.

West Ham United v FC Astra Giurgiu - UEFA Europa League
West Ham United knocked out of Europa League qualifying by Astra Giurgiu. Photo by Kieran Galvin NurPhoto via Getty Images

Hammers have flopped at pretty much the first hurdle of last four European outings

But there will be no such pitfalls this time around IF West Ham do their bit and secure fifth or sixth place.

That’s because the fifth-placed team in the Premier League qualify for the group stage proper (Premier League).

And the winners of the FA Cup qualify for the group stage proper.

 

But because FA Cup winners Leicester are guaranteed a top five finish on 66 points, their Europa League group stage place will go to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League – ie: sixth place.

The Europa League has been revamped and now has just 32 teams instead of 48 with group stage winners go straight through to the last 16 knockout round.

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth Pool Getty Images

Better Spurs result and West Ham take sixth spot going into final day

It will include Dimitri Payet’s Marseille, West Ham’s Italian friends Lazio and could even boast European giants Juventus – who played the Hammers back in 2016 to officially open the London Stadium.

West Ham know they must do their job first though. Starting away at already relegated West Brom tonight.

Rivals Tottenham face a tricky game against an Aston Villa side boosted by the return of Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins.

Spurs kick off at 6pm and West Ham will be hoping for a favour from Dean Smith’s men before they take on the Baggies at 8.15pm.

If West Ham better Tottenham’s result they will move up to sixth and be in control of their Europa League destiny when they welcome 10,000 fans back for the season finale against Southampton on Sunday.

Meanwhile Spurs travel to Leicester who will likely need to win to have a chance of hanging on to a Champions League spot.

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