A Champions League Play-Off Match? It Might Just Happen…

A Champions League Play-Off Match? It Might Just Happen…
May 17, 2017

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As the Premier League table stands, Manchester City, Liverpool, and also, Arsenal will be contesting for the final two spots for Champions League football next season. The Citizens lead the pack in 3rd position with 75 points whilst the Reds currently sit in 4th with 73 points and the Gunners only a point behind.

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With the points, goals scored, and also, goal difference so close between the three teams, it is in fact possible for a play-off match to take place at a neutral venue to decide which club gets Champions League football next season, or what stage they enter. Let’s take a look at the potential outcomes come the final day…

Manchester City v Liverpool – Battle for 3rd place

The most likeliest of outcomes between the three would see Manchester City and Liverpool face one another in a fixture to decide who finishes 3rd in the Premier League table. Under Champions League rules, the top three teams in England automatically advance to the group stages of the competition whilst the fourth-placed team must go through the qualification stages. In this scenario, the two English clubs would contest for an automatic Champions League qualification rather than be forced to go through the group stage.

However, in order for the fixture to take place, Manchester City and Liverpool would need to match one another on points, goal difference, and also goals scored, all of which City lead under. In order for the following play-off game to take place, the Citizens would be required to draw 3-3 against Watford on Sunday whilst Liverpool beat relegated Middlesbrough 3-0, at minimum. If this scenario were to happen, both clubs would sit on 78 points, have a goal difference of 36, and also have scored 78 goals across the season.

If the blue side of Manchester were to draw their fixture but score less than three goals, Liverpool would still be required to score at least three goals to steal 3rd place.

Arsenal v Liverpool – Battle for Champions League Qualification

Another potential fixture that could happen would see Arsenal face Liverpool in a battle for Champions League qualification. In order for all of their relevant statistics to match in this example, it would mean that Manchester City would be safe and automatically advance to next season’s competition.

Strange things have always happened on the final day of the Premier League season, if relegated Middlesbrough were to beat Liverpool at Anfield by two goals to nil, Arsenal would have draw 1-1 with Everton to gain a play-off match for next season, with the loser getting demoted to the Europa League. In this situation, both the Gunners and the Reds would sit on 73 points for the season, have a goal difference of 31, and also have scored 75 goals across the season.

In order for Liverpool to gain a spot in Europe’s top footballing competition, they would be required to beat Middlesbrough on Sunday, any other outcome would leave the gap wide open for Arsenal to steal.

Manchester City v Arsenal – Battle for 3rd place/Champions League Qualification

The least likely of play-off situations would see Manchester City and Arsenal to contest for either a 3rd place position or, Champions League place for next season. Despite leading in 3rd aforementioned, Manchester City could still, but highly unlikely, finish 5th come the final day of the season. Nonetheless, a play-off game against the Gunners appears more likely than the mention before instant drop to Europe’s B tournament.

If Mazzarri’s Watford beat the Citizens 4-0 on Saturday with Arsenal cruising to a 1-0 victory against Everton, the duo would have 75 points, a goal difference of 32, as well as scoring 75 goals across the season. What makes this situation even more intriguing is that Liverpool would inflict what the meaning of this play-off would mean for the two teams.

If Liverpool fail to win on Sunday, that would mean that they would finish outside of the top 4 with the play-off between Manchester City and Arsenal contesting for the 3rd spot in the league. If Liverpool were to win, however, then the play-off game would then switch to a battle for the final spot in the Champions League.

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