With League Cup winners Chelsea set to play in the Champions League, their Europa spot will go to the sixth or seventh-placed team depending on who wins the FA Cup.
With no European prizes left to chase this season, England’s top clubs are focussed on winning m88 the Premier League title, although that goal looks beyond all but Chelsea.
Holders Arsenal face Reading in one FA Cup semi-final while either Liverpool or Blackburn Rovers, who meet in a quarter-final replay on April 8, face Aston Villa in the other semi.
Burnley might take heart from their recent 1-0 win over Manchester City, but QPR and Leicester look doomed to an immediate return to the Championship.
LONDON (Reuters) – Premier League
Chelsea are strong favourites to finish as champions for the first time since 2010 as they lead with 67 points, six clear of City with a match in hand.
Villa’s form has picked up since Tim Sherwood took over as manager six weeks ago, while Sunderland need a quick improvement under their new coach Dick Advocaat to avoid slipping into the bottom three.
The tightest league in Europe has seen the Championship lead change hands throughout the season with Bournemouth, who have never played in the top flight, currently top, a point ahead of Watford who occupy the other automatic promotion spot.
Chelsea have led the table since the third week of the season and, despite a slight dip in form with two draws in their last four games, appear too far ahead to be caught.
(Reporting by Mike Collett; editing by Toby Davis)
Coach Jose Mourinho is confident of a third title with the club after successes in his first spell in 2005 and 2006.
Six clubs — Hull City (28 points), Aston Villa (28), Sunderland (26), Burnley (25), QPR (22) and Leicester City (19) — are involved in the battle to avoid relegation.
The other battleground is the one for next season’s Champions League places and, while Arsenal and Manchester United have forged ahead of them, Liverpool, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur are still hoping for a top four finish.
Arsenal are a point further back after winning nine of their last 10, while United, fourth on 59, have also been in excellent form, winning their last four including a 2-1 win at Liverpool.
Arsenal and Liverpool, both in the top five with eight matches left, have the added incentive of trying to win the FA Cup but leaders Chelsea, champions Manchester City and a rejuvenated Manchester United are focussed just on the main prize.
The consolation for Liverpool, Southampton and Spurs if they miss out on the Champions League could be a Europa League place
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