The winners of the Carabao Cup receive a spot in the second qualifying round of next season’s UEFA Europa League, but where will the spot go should Manchester City beat Aston Villa ?
Pep Guardiola’s side have received a two-year ban from European club competitions for breaches of club licensing and financial fair play regulations, but that has been appealed to the court of arbitration for sport.
With that in mind, the subject of the League Cup’s Europa League spot comes into question, with those lurking below third in the Premier League all involved.
If City do take the cup for a third season in a row then the highest placed team in the final league table, that has not already qualified for Europe, will be placed into the second qualifying round.
Aston Villa went into the match hoping to secure Europa League qualification
That will come as a blow to any Villa fans that fancied a return to European football, with their potential status as runners-up irrelevant despite City’s ban.
The news could eventually come as a boost to the likes of Wolves, Sheffield United or Burnley, with Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal aiming for Champions League qualification.
Dean Smith said of his side’s trip to Wembley earlier in the week: “I see it as a massive opportunity, the lads have done so well to get to the final.
Sheffield United are among the teams with realistic hopes of European qualification
“Football is about winning things, sport is about winning things and we’ve got an opportunity now where we’re going to be massive underdogs against a world-class team but I can probably only name one or two teams who wouldn’t be underdogs against Manchester City.”
“Whether we win or lose it certainly won’t define the season because there’s another 11 games to go.
“Each game we play in we have to go and perform to get points.”