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Pack Your Bags, Europe Awaits?


JohnCresswell
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So, will we manage to grab a European place after all? Leviramsey looks at the possibilities...

There is a certain geographic logic atop the Premier League's middle class: Everton in the north, Portsmouth in the south and Aston in the middle. Of course this geographic logic becomes chimerical when one considers distances and, perhaps more tellingly, that Blackburn and Manchester would have to be located somewhere between Caen and Guernsey in order for the metaphor to hold (with West Ham presumably lazing on the beach, looking out to the Bay of Biscay; actually, given how secure East London's finest (a high honor, to be sure) are in the table, Alan Curbishley may as well be relaxing on the beach drinking Txacoli). The foregoing perhaps goes to demonstrate that, whilst superficial metaphor is useless for gaining understanding, it is a useful tool when one is searching for a lede.

Before one can understand where they are going, it is advisable to survey the landscape. As it stands, Everton can, at best, finish in their current 5th place and at worst will finish 7th. Villa and Portsmouth could finish anywhere from 9th through 5th. Blackburn and Man City could get anywhere from 9th through 6th. 5th place will mean UEFA Cup football regardless of whether Cardiff ends up being English for UEFA Cup purposes. If, however, Portsmouth finish fifth and win the FA Cup, then sixth place will also license a set of fans to start polishing their passports over the summer (though not that hard... we wouldn't want to blind immigration officers on the Continent). A chance at being the final winner of the Intertoto Cup awaits for another one of this gang of five, and if UEFA is able to put aside their anti-English biases for long enough to conduct a draw for the Fair Play spots in the UEFA Cup, Man City or perhaps even Fulham may also end up in Europe.

The question that matters, though, is whether Villa will be in Europe. If not, we can do what Villans throughout the ages have done when we're not in Europe: ignore and/or denigrate the European competition(s) and not care which of our illustrious compatriots gets to have fun over the water.

To qualify for the Intertoto

If Portsmouth win the FA Cup, then we must finish ahead of Blackburn and Man City

If Cardiff win the FA Cup, then we must either

* finish ahead of Everton; or

* finish ahead of Blackburn and Man City with Portsmouth finishing no higher than sixth

To qualify for the UEFA Cup

If Portsmouth win the FA Cup, then we must finish above Everton

If Cardiff win the FA Cup, then we must finish above Everton and Portsmouth

The following table sets out the magic numbers for the Villa to finish above the designated clubs.

[table]

[row][col]Everton:[col]10

[row][col]Portsmouth:[col]5

[row][col]Blackburn:[col]2

[row][col]Man City:[col]2

[/table]

The magic number is the sum of points gained by the Villa and dropped by the designated club that guarantee Villa finishing above that club. For current goal difference differences less than or equal to 12, I have elected to require an extra point; otherwise I assume that there will be no change in the goal difference situation.

It's immediately clear that any game that any Villa win, 2 Villa draws, or dropped points by Man City (resp. Blackburn) will ensure that Villa finish ahead of Man City (resp. Blackburn).

Finishing ahead of Portsmouth is somewhat more demanding. Without needing goal difference, any of the following situations will see Villa finish ahead of Portsmouth:

2 Villa wins

1 Villa win combined with at least one instance where Portsmouth drop points

2 Villa draws combined with:

* at least 1 Portsmouth loss; or

* 2 Portsmouth draws

1 Villa draw combined with Portsmouth dropping points in both of their remaining games

2 Villa losses combined with:

* 2 Portsmouth losses; or

* 1 loss and 1 draw

Assuming that Villa can maintain the goal difference advantage (we are currently 11 net goals ahead), then a Portsmouth draw can be substituted for a single Portsmouth loss or a Villa loss can be substituted for a single Villa draw.

To finish above Everton without requiring goal difference:

2 Villa wins combined with Everton dropping points in both games

1 Villa win and 1 Villa draw combined with Everton losing both games

What with the recent seismic activity in Britain, it is not inconceivable that Aston could find itself above the 54th parallel before swinging eastwards to Europe. Those of an optimistic bent envision a tectonic shift where Aston makes it into the Arctic.

We're in for a wild ride and I, for one, hope to see polar bears ambling down Trinity Road when I make my pilgrimage. I'll be sure to pack a parka.

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If Cardiff win the FA Cup, then we must finish above Everton and Portsmouth

why do we have to finish above pompey? if cardiff win it and pompey finish 6th they ahvent applied for intertoto so if we finsished 7th we get it or am i wrong here?

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  • Moderator

The bit you're questioning is under the section "To qualify for the UEFA Cup " Demitri. You are right that we will get Intertoto, but that's not that section :)

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  • VT Supporter

[To finish ahead of Man City]

Villa win

2 Villa draws

any dropped points by Man City

[To finish ahead of Blackburn]

Villa win

2 Villa draws

any dropped points by Blackburn

[To finish ahead of Portsmouth]

2 Villa wins

Villa win

2 Villa draws

Villa loss or draw combined with a Portsmouth loss or draw

To finish above Everton without requiring goal difference:

2 Villa wins combined with Everton dropping points in both games

1 Villa win and 1 Villa draw combined with Everton losing both games

If a mod could make the strikethroughs look nice and proper like, that would be appreciated...

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  • VT Supporter

[To finish ahead of Man City]

Villa win

2 Villa draws

any dropped points by Man City

Villa will finish ahead of Man City

[To finish ahead of Blackburn]

Villa win

2 Villa draws

any dropped points by Blackburn

[To finish ahead of Portsmouth]

2 Villa wins

Villa win

2 Villa draws

Villa loss or draw combined with a Portsmouth loss or draw

To finish above Everton without requiring goal difference:

2 Villa wins combined with Everton dropping points in both games

1 Villa win and 1 Villa draw combined with Everton losing both games

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