After Manchester City’s and Liverpool ‘s recent dominance the Premier League is the most open it’s been for years.
Just 16 points separate 1st from 10th with an average of 16 games remaining this season.
Of course, as it has been since 2018, teams who finish 1-4 in the Premier League will automatically qualify for the Champions League.
But there is a situation whereby the team that finishes in fourth this season could actually miss out.
UEFA rules state the only a maximum of five teams from any given country can play in Europe’s elite competition.
So far so good. But there are other routes into the Champions League. Winning it gains you entry, as does triumphing in the Europa League.
Which means in the rare circumstance that two teams from the Premier League, who both finish outside the top four, win the Champions League and Europa League then fourth place would have to concede its spot. That team would drop into the Europa League.
Using the current Premier League table as context, if every position stayed the same and Chelsea (8th) went on to win the Champions League they would qualify for the tournament next season.
Arsenal, who are in 10th, are competing in the Europa League. Should they win Europe’s secondary competition they too would qualify for the Champions League next season.
If both of those things happened it would mean Liverpool, currently in fourth, would miss out.
While there is still plenty of time and ifs and buts, with the Premier League so open it remains a genuine possibility that the team who finishes fourth misses out on Champions League action next season.