Chelsea and Arsenal could stop Leicester from qualifying for Champions League

Leicester could be prevented from entering next season’s Champions League – even if they finish in the top four of the Premier League.

The Foxes have enjoyed two very successful seasons under Brendan Rodgers, last year spending most of the campaign in the top four before finishing fifth.

That form has continued this season, with Rodgers’ side able to move 10 points clear of West Ham in fifth if they defeat Southampton on Friday.

If they are able to seal a top four finish, which seems overwhelmingly likely, that would usually be enough to see them qualify for next season’s Champions League.

But this is a season like no other and as well as the lack of crowds, Leicester are also facing up to the possibility of lacking a place in Europe’s top club competition.

That development is due to the success of Chelsea in the Champions League and Arsenal in the Europa League.

The Blues scored a crucial away goal in the first leg of their semi-final against Real Madrid to put them in the driving seat to secure a place in May’s final.

The Gunners also managed to get on the scoresheet away from home, though Villarreal are 2-1 up heading into next week’s second leg.

If both teams do go on to reach the final of their respective competitions and win them, it could see Leicester denied a deserved place in the Champions League.

Due to UEFA rules, which allow a maximum of five clubs from the same country in the competition, fourth place would only be good enough for the Europa League if both Chelsea and Arsenal finish outside the top four.

Automatic entry to the Champions League is granted to both the holders and to the winners of the Europa League.

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  • So, if Leicester finished fourth and neither Arsenal nor Chelsea overtook them, the Foxes will play in the Europa League.

    It is a situation that infamously happened to Tottenham in 2012, when coincidentally, Chelsea won their first Champions League title, but finished sixth in the league.

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