With Chelsea beating Tottenham 5-1 at Wembley this afternoon, they will play Liverpool in the FA Cup Final on Saturday 5th May.
Mata celebrates scoring Chelsea’s second goal
But there was only one problem – the ball wasn’t over the line – picky picky
And that just so happens to be three days after Newcastle play Chelsea in the league at Stamford Bridge, on Wednesday, 2nd May.
That’s an advantage to Newcastle, because Chelsea will undoubtedly be resting some of their top players for the Final, so it should increase the likelihood of Newcastle getting a good result against Chelsea.
And we’ve had a number of emails today asking what happens if Chelsea win the FA Cup, or if they win the Champions League, and how would that impact Newcastle’s chances of European qualification.
First of all, our assumption is that we will finish in at least in 6th place in the league, and yes, that isn’t a certainty, but that’s our assumption. If we finish 7th then all bets are off.
With 15 points to play for, we are 12 points ahead of Everton, so a win against Stoke City next Saturday, will mean Everton can only equal our points total, and they would have to beat Manchester United next Sunday at Old Trafford to do that.
It’s possible Everton could overtake us, which a few readers have reminded us today – but very unlikely.
Our assumption is Newcastle finish at least 6th top.
So let’s assume Chelsea win the FA Cup – how does that affect Newcastle?
If Chelsea finish below Newcastle in the league, then that means we must have finished in at least 5th place, so we would qualify for the Europa League or the Champions League.
If Chelsea finish above us, then they have also qualified for the Europa League (at least), because they are in at least 5th place, so again it would not impact Newcastle.
It gets a bit more complicated if Chelsea actually win the Champions League, which they have never done so before, and this season’s side is hardly their best.
But let’s say Chelsea win the Champions League.
If they finish 4th top or higher nothing changes, and Newcastle are not affected, because Chelsea have already qualified for a Champions League position for next season.
But if they finish outside the top four, then the UEFA rules, as we understand them, say Chelsea will qualify for the Champions League at the expense of the 4th placed team.
But that 4th placed team is allocated an additional Europa League place and the three previous Europa League qualifiers would not be affected – so if we finish 6th top and Chelsea win the Champions League and finish outside the top four – we are still not impacted.
However, if we are unlucky to finish 4th above Chelsea and Tottenham, and Chelsea are European Champions we will be in the Europa League, so that’s one case that will adversely affect Newcastle.
That’s our understanding of the new rules UEFA introduced, after Liverpool won the Champions League back in 2005, but finished 5th in the Premier League, and therefore did not qualify - and as it happens - Everton were 4th that season.
UEFA was forced by public outcry to allow Liverpool into the the first qualifying round of the Champions League that year, after the English FA ( as usual) held up their hands and said they were unable to do anything about it.
The FA making a tough decision – you’ve got to be kidding me.
But then the following year, UEFA amended the rules, as we have explained above.
That’s our understanding so that Newcastle would not be impacted either way.
We can go into greater detail if necessary, but that’s the simple explanation, given our understanding of the updated UEFA qualification rules.