Explained: Arsenal and Man City have handed Manchester United unlikely Champions League boost

Man Utd still have a faint hope of qualifying for the Champions League next season

Manchester United have been handed a boost in their faint hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has previously spoken of the importance of qualifying for the top continental club competition, but faces the very real prospect of not being part of it during his first full season with the club.

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United are currently sixth in the Premier League, 11 points behind Tottenham in fourth with just seven matches of the campaign left to play. Currently, a top-four finish is still required to qualify for next season's Champions League, however it looks increasingly likely that a fifth-place finish could also be enough.

An additional place will be granted to the two countries with the highest Uefa coefficient, with England now level with Germany in second after draws for Arsenal and Man City in midweek. A win is worth two points and a draw one, with extra points for qualification to the next phase of a tournament.

Those points are then divided by the total number of clubs each country had in Europe this season (England produced eight and the Germany seven). It means both countries are now level on 16.500, while Italy lead the way with 17.714. England's coefficient also looks set to improve again on Thursday night with West Ham, Liverpool and Aston Villa all in action. Germany only have Bayer Leverkusen playing.

It means the Premier League is well-placed to gain a fifth Champions League qualification place next season, which would currently be occupied by Aston Villa. Unai Emery's side are also 11 points ahead of United but have played one game more.

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In that case, the Midlands side would only need 11 points from their remaining six fixtures to guarantee Champions League football next season, given that United can now only finish on a maximum of 70 points.

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