Chelsea and Newcastle European fate finally confirmed after Man United win FA Cup

Cole Palmer of Chelsea helps Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United to his feet as he sits on the floor during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on April 04, 2024 in London, England.
-Credit: (Image: (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images))

Chelsea will play in the UEFA Conference League next season despite finishing the Premier League season in sixth. Following five consecutive wins to end the season, the Blues did enough to earn a European qualification spot, however, exactly which competition they would be playing in was unknown due to Man United's FA Cup involvement.

Erik ten Hag's side finished eighth and thus were to miss out on any form of European football, however an FA Cup triumph would change that. If United were to lift silverware in the capital, they would take Chelsea's Europa League spot and the Blues would instead compete in the UEFA Conference League which is the exact scenario that has played out.

Man City entered the final at Wembley as huge favourites but a poor first 45 minutes saw them two goals behind at half time. For the opening goal, Josko Gvardiol attempted to head the ball back Stefan Ortega but a miscommunication saw his cushioned pass float over the City goalkeeper which allowed Alejandro Garnacho to pass home into an empty net.

Marcus Rashford thought he had doubled United's lead but the offside flag stopped that goal from being given. Just minutes later though United had two with Kobbie Mainoo finishing a flowing move after an expertly disguised pass from Bruno Fernandes.

Pep Guardiola made several changes in an attempt to change matters with one of those in Jeremy Doku making a huge impact. As the reigning champions searched for a route back into the game Erling Haaland struck the bar and Andre Onana made two brilliant saves from Kyle Walker.

Eventually, Jeremy Doku pulled one back from distance but United held out to win the FA Cup and subsequently earn their spot in next season's Europa League. Tottenham, as a result of finishing fifth, had their spot in Europe's second club competition confirmed earlier this month but Chelsea will instead play in the Conference League with a two-legged play-off to come in late August to even earn a spot in the group stages.

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As a result of Chelsea dropping down, Newcastle will miss out entirely on playing European football over the coming months. Aston Villa participated in the third edition of the new European tournament and reached the semi-finals which certainly shows Chelsea it is a feasible trophy to win.

Exactly who will be leading them into the Conference League is currently unclear following the departure of Mauricio Pochettino earlier this week.

Kieran McKenna and Enzo Maresca are currently the leading candidates to take on the vacancy with interviews to be held next week. Brentford's Thomas Frank is another option with reports also suggesting their is a fourth mystery name being considered.