English clubs have once again excelled in Europe this season and there was a very real possibility of two all-Premier League finals later this month.
Chelsea joined Manchester City in the showpiece match of the Champions League, however, Arsenal failed to secure a match against Manchester United in the Europa League final.
Two teams that will be particularly happy to see the Gunners falter against Villarreal are West Ham and Leicester, who were facing the prospect of not playing in the Champions League, even if they finished in the Premier League top four.
Had Mikel Arteta’s men beaten Villarreal they would have been one match away from taking the place of the Foxes and the Hammers in Europe’s premier club competition.
Confused? Here’s an explanation about how ninth-placed Arsenal could have qualified for next season’s Champions League.
Top four permutations
Manchester City look nailed on for Premier League glory this season so will be in next season’s Champions League while Manchester United, in second place, look good for it too.
Supposing those two are already confirmed, it would have got more complicated for the final two spots.
A maximum of five Premier League teams can compete in next season’s Champions League.
After 34 top-flight games this season, Leicester are third on 63 points, Chelsea are fourth on 61 and West Ham are fifth on 58.
Here’s what could have happened…
Thomas Tuchel’s Blues will qualify for the Champions League next season if they beat Man City on May 29 or finish anywhere in the top four.
If Man City go on to win the Champions League, England would not receive an extra qualification space meaning just the top four will make it plus Arsenal if they win the Europa League.
It’s been an underwhelming campaign for the Gunners but winning the Europa League would have seen them in next season’s Champions League.
That would have led to devastating consequences for West Ham and Leicester…
Should both Chelsea and Arsenal have claimed glory in Europe and West Ham edge out their rivals to finish fourth in the league, the Hammers would have missed out on next season’s Champions League.
Brendan Rodgers and co would have missed out on the Champions League if they finished fourth behind West Ham and both Chelsea and Arsenal won their European finals.
Currently third in the table, there are games against Man United, Chelsea and Tottenham to come, though there is also the FA Cup final – on 15 May against Chelsea – to look forward to.