Despite a spate of injuries in recent weeks, Manchester United have still had plenty to celebrate.
Even with Zlatan Ibrahimovic going down for nine months, a recent run of solid results have seen Jose Mourinho’s men launch a genuine top four challenge.
They looked dead and buried not long ago, but three wins in a row – including the 2-0 win over Chelsea – has them breathing down the neck of the rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.
But what happens if United do clinch a top four spot and go on to win the Europa League – in which they’re at the semi-final stage?
As we all now know, clubs are taking the Europa League a lot more seriously these days – the reason for which being, the champions get a spot in next the season’s Champions League.
So United will naturally be gunning for glory as they take on Celta Vigo in their two-legged semi-final, before facing Ajax or Lyon in the final.
If however, they win the tournament and are inside the top four, England will have just the four teams in Europe’s elite competition.
If United lose either in the semi-final or the final stage of the Europa League, they will not qualify for the Champions League, unless they finish inside the top four.
But, if they manage to win the second tier of European football but fall short in their quest to reach the top four, they will play in the 2017-18 Champions League.
Should this scenario unfold, England will have five entrants to the Champions League, rather than four – with United joining the top four Premier League clubs.
Which Premier League clubs get a Europa League spot for 2017-18?
There are a host of different scenarios as to who will be in Europe’s second tier next season.
For starters, the Premier League’s fifth-placed club – should United not win the Europa League and finish outside the top four – will go into the pot.
Then there’s the EFL Cup – or League Cup – winners… however that tournament was already won by Man United earlier this season.
On top of that, the FA Cup winners get a spot… however that could either go to Chelsea – certain to get a Champions League spot – or Arsenal, who may or may not make the top four this term.
Should any of the above sides break into the Champions League for any reason, by law the highest-ranking non-qualified league club (down to 7th) takes their place in the Europa League.
If the Premier League has five Champions League entrants by virtue of Man United winning Europe’s secondary competition, English football will only have two clubs qualify for the Europa League.
That means that the 8th placed Premier League team cannot qualify for Europe under any circumstances.
As the season draws to a close, the scenarios will become a lot more clear…