Manchester United secure FA Cup final spot, but Europa League implications remain
Manchester United have secured their spot in the FA Cup final on June 3 after winning on penalties against Brighton. Their upcoming derby match against Manchester City will have implications for Europa League places.
The final will feature a Manchester derby for the first time as Manchester City defeated Sheffield United 3-0 on Saturday to secure their place. United will be looking to win their second trophy of the season after their Carabao Cup victory in February, while City remain in contention for a historic treble with the Premier League and Champions League still up for grabs.
Although the FA Cup is a prestigious competition, it also offers a route into European competitions. As both United and City currently sit within the top four of the Premier League, there is confusion regarding Europa League qualification.
Qualification for the Champions League is determined by the top four teams in the Premier League, regardless of the FA Cup result. However, the winners of the FA Cup automatically qualify for the Europa League group stage.
Currently, City and United are in second and fourth place respectively, making it unlikely that the FA Cup winners will qualify for the Europa League. In this scenario, the Europa League group stage place will go to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions.
As it stands, Tottenham in fifth place would automatically qualify for the Europa League group stage, while Aston Villa, currently in sixth place, would take the additional spot. Liverpool and Brighton are both in contention, but Villa currently hold a one and two-point advantage over the two teams respectively.