What Manchester City's European ban being lifted means for Chelsea's quest for Champions League qualification

Matt Debono

Chelsea will have to claim a spot inside the top four should they want to qualify for the 2020/21 Champions League after Manchester City had their two-year European ban lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday. 

City's ban from UEFA competitions was lifted after there was 'insufficient conclusive evidence' to uphold the ban handed to them back in February following an investigation.

It therefore means the battle in the Premier League for a top-four remains on as City will finish in second. 

Chelsea, Leicester City, Manchester United and Wolves are all vying for a top-four spot, and it is set to go down to the wire.

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TABLE: As it stands in the Premier League:

Screenshot 2020-07-13 at 12.34.11

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It looked destined for Frank Lampard's Chelsea and Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City to clinch the final two spots but a drop in form from the two sides has seen Manchester United come into the equation, following a run of 11 games in the league without defeat. 

Third place is now in United's hands as they play their game in hand on Monday against an in-form Southampton side, which they are expected to win. 

But for Chelsea, they have been at fault for their own downfall. Eight goals conceded in their last four league outings, which has seen them fall to defeat against West Ham and Sheffield United. Somehow, Champions League qualification is still in their hands, but they have Bournemouth to thank for that. 

sheffield-united-v-chelsea-fc-premier-league (20)
Frank Lampard's side have been let off the hook as their Champions League bid lives on. 

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Fixtures left to play: 

Chelsea: Norwich City, Liverpool, Wolves 

Leicester City: Sheffield Utd, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United 

Manchester United: Southampton, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Leicester City

Wolves: Burnley, Crystal Palace, Chelsea

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Dominic Solanke, an Chelsea academy graduate, was on hand to net his first two goals of the season on Sunday evening against Leicester City to boost their survival bid, but also to put the Blues' destiny back in their hands with three games to go. 

Saturday's defeat at Sheffield United appeared to be the start of the end for Chelsea, but now looking at the run-ins, Lampard will favour their fixtures over the Foxes, despite a trip to Anfield and facing Wolves on the final day. 

Leicester face three of the top eight, and with one win in seven in all competitions they look to be on the decline. 

And with Manchester United meeting Rodgers' side on the final day while Chelsea face Wolves at Stamford Bridge, it is finely poised for plenty of twists and turns. 

If Chelsea, which they are expected to, beat Norwich City on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge, Champions League football for next season could all but be secured, but it will largely be down to a degree of luck following performances in recent weeks. 

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