With the 2022/23 season drawing to a close, many teams are already preparing for next year.
Manchester City have beaten Arsenal to the Premier League title, and the top four is now set going into the final round of matches.
City and the Gunners have secured their place in next season's Champions League and they've now been followed by Newcastle – who will return to Europe's elite tournament for the first time since 2003/04 – and Manchester United, whose 4-1 demolition of Chelsea clinched their spot.
The Sporting News looks at which teams Premier League clubs could face in the 2023/24 Champions League and their route to the group stage.
MORE: Manchester United 4-1 Chelsea match report and how it unfolded
Is Premier League 4th place automatic qualification for Champions League?
Prior to the 2018/19 season, the team that finished fourth in the Premier League needed to win a qualifier to make the Champions League group stages.
Since 2019, however, all top four teams in the Premier League automatically qualify for the group phase. This rule was also extended to the Bundesliga, Serie A, and La Liga due to league coefficient points.
There is one scenario in which a team finishing fourth in the English top flight would not qualify for the Champions League:
- a team outside the top four wins the Champions League, AND
- a team outside the top four wins the Europa League
This is because European governing body UEFA allows a maximum of five English teams to enter the tournament.
And since the defending Champions League winner and the Europa League winner are both guaranteed a spot in the competition automatically anyway, that would mean the top three and the two cup winners reach the group stage with fourth place missing out.
Official verdict from Premier League for European competitions tonight…— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 25, 2023
Manchester United will play Champions League football next season. 🔴🇪🇺 #MUFC
Liverpool will be in Europa League. 🔴🇪🇺 #LFC pic.twitter.com/cGY2YrW4Am
Which pot will Newcastle be in for the Champions League draw?
Now that Newcastle have qualified to the Champions League, they are likely to be drawn into a difficult group.
The Magpies have not participated in any European competitions since 2013, meaning their current UEFA coefficient score is zero. This would leave them in Pot 4 of the draw, with Celtic being the only other team confirmed to be in that same pot at the moment.
Eddie Howe's side could face the likes of Barcelona or Napoli, who have been placed in Pot 1 as champions of their respective leagues, while record champions Real Madrid have been placed in Pot 2. This year's semifinalists AC Milan are set to be a Pot 3 team.
No two teams from the same country can face each other until the quarterfinal stage, meaning Newcastle cannot face Man City, Arsenal or Manchester United in the group stage.
MORE: Van Dijk: Liverpool can attract top players without Champions League
UEFA club coefficients and how they work
A club's coefficient score is calculated by their European record across the previous five seasons. The deeper a team goes in the Champions League, Europa League, or Europa Conference League, the more points they earn.
Man City currently have the highest coefficient, while fellow Champions League finalists Inter Milan are ranked 10th on the top 10 list.