Premier League and Football League: Ups and downs

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I did not write this piece myself, it is in fact off the BBC Sport Website, but here’s a little insight into what can happen in the final month of the season in the top five divisions of English football…

Premier League

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The top four teams in the Premier League will qualify for next season’s Champions League, with the top three teams starting in the group stage, and the fourth-placed team entering in the preceding play-off round. Liverpool and Chelsea are close to making sure of their places.

If Chelsea win the Champions League but finish outside the top four, they will enter next season’s Champions League and the fourth-placed team will instead enter the Europa League.

English clubs have three places in the Europa League. The FA Cup winners (Arsenal or Hull) will enter in the group stage, the fifth-placed Premier League side in the play-off round, and the Capital One Cup winners in the third qualifying round.

Should Arsenal finish in the top four, Hull will qualify for the Europa League, whether or not they win the FA Cup.

Manchester City were the first team to book their place in Europe by winning the League Cup, but if they finish in the top four of the league (as looks increasingly likely), their Europa place will go to the sixth-placed Premier League team.

The top three countries in UEFA’s Respect Fair Play league get an extra Europa League place, which is given to the highest-placed team in the top flight’s Fair Play table that has not yet qualified for Europe.

In UEFA’s interim rankings on 31 December 2013, England were fifth in the Fair Play table.

The bottom three teams will be relegated to the Championship.

The current Premier League table  (as of 17/04)
The current Premier League table (as of 17/04)

The Championship

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The champions and runners-up will be promoted to the Premier League, and the next four teams will contest the play-offs.

Leicester City were promoted on 5 April after they won the previous night and other results went in their favour. They need six points from their last four games to win the title – if Burnley lose at Blackpool on Friday, Leicester can clinch top spot by beating QPR on Saturday.

Second-placed Burnley, assured of at least a play-off place, will be promoted on Friday if they win at Blackpool and Derby fail to beat Doncaster.

Derby can make sure of their play-off spot if they win on Friday, while QPR will do so if they win on Saturday and other results go in their favour.

The bottom three teams will be relegated to League One.

The current Championship Table (as of 17/04)
The current Championship Table (as of 17/04)

League One

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The top two teams will be promoted to the Championship, and the next four teams will contest the play-offs.

Wolves sealed promotion and an immediate return to the second tier with a 2-0 win at Crewe on 12 April. Brentford will join them on Friday if they win, Leyton Orient lose and Rotherham fail to win.

Brentford, Rotherham, Leyton Orient and Preston are all assured of at least a play-off place. Peterborough can clinch the final spot on Friday if they win, Swindon lose and both Milton Keynes Dons and Sheffield United fail to win.

At the bottom, four teams will be relegated to League Two.

The current League One table (as of 17/04)
The current League One table (as of 17/04)

League Two

Scunthorpe United's Sam Winnall is thwarted in his attempt to score against AFC Wimbledon

The top three teams will be promoted to League One, while teams finishing from fourth to seventh will contest the play-offs.

Scunthorpe will be the first League Two team to be promoted this weekend if they win on Friday, Fleetwood lose, and Burton fail to win on Saturday.

Scunthorpe, Rochdale and Chesterfield are already assured of a play-off place at worst and Fleetwood will join them if they win on Friday.

The bottom two teams will be relegated to the Conference Premier.

Torquay will be relegated this weekend if they lose on Friday, Exeter avoid defeat and the Wycombe-Northampton game does not finish as a draw, and then Bristol Rovers win on Saturday.

The current League Two table (as of 17/04)
The current League Two table (as of 17/04)

Conference Premier

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Luton Town were promoted to League Two as Conference champions on 15 April after nearest rivals Cambridge lost at Kidderminster.

The next four teams will contest the play-offs for the second promotion place – Cambridge United are assured of their place, while Halifax and Grimsby can join them this weekend if they win their games and other results go in their favour.

The bottom four teams will be relegated – Hyde’s relegation was confirmed on 11 March with a 3-0 defeat at Alfreton, and Tamworth joined them on 8 April after losing 2-0 at Luton.

The relegated sides will be replaced by the champions and play-off winners of the Conference North and South divisions. Eastleigh will win the Conference South title if they avoid defeat against Basingstoke on Friday, or if Sutton United fail to win at Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday.

Conference Premier table(as of 17/04)
Conference Premier table(as of 17/04)
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