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Champions League qualification: How many points are required for a Premier League top-four finish?

10:52 PM IST 10/02/22
Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd 2021-22
The battle for lofty finishes in the English top tier is always fiercely contested, but what is required in order to reach elite European competition?

The Premier League has established a reputation as one of the most entertaining and competitive divisions in world football, with lofty finishes and survival in the English top-flight proving hard to come by.

An established elite have dominated towards the summit, with title challenges becoming a little one-sided of late, but battles to secure Champions League qualification and avoid the drop remain as fiercely contested as ever.

Places in the top four and the riches that accompany entry to UEFA's premier continental competition are now chased down by almost half of the league, but how many points are required in order to hit that target? GOAL takes a look…

How many points are required for Champions League qualification in the Premier League?

The points required to qualify for the Champions League vary each year, depending on how competitive the Premier League season has been. For example, 60 points has been sufficient in the past, while in other seasons the required tally has been closer to 80 points.

Four teams have gained entry to the Champions League through their final Premier League standing since the 2001-02 campaign got underway.

One more spot was put up for grabs that season, with a place in the qualifying rounds and a shot at reaching the group stage there for somebody to snap up.

Automatic routes to the business end of European competition have been awarded since then, with English football even managing to have five Champions League representatives at times.

The likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City have put themselves in the mix on a regular basis, but Tottenham, Leicester, Everton, Newcastle and Leeds have all been in the hunt and West Ham have started to knock on a prestigious door of late.

How many points would they need in order to secure a ticket to the Champions League? History across the last 20 years suggests that 70 points has become the benchmark for those in the upper reaches of the Premier League table.

Season

Pts required for top four

2001-02

71

2002-03

67

2003-04

60

2004-05

61

2005-06

67

2006-07

68

2007-08

76

2008-09

72

2009-10

70

2010-11

68

2011-12

69

2012-13

73

2013-14

79

2014-15

70

2015-16

66

2016-17

76

2017-18

75

2018-19

71

2019-20

66

2020-21

67

Average

69.6

Champions League qualification has been secured with as few as 60 points in the past – by Liverpool in 2003-04 – while 79 were required from Arsenal in 2013-14.

A collective quality bar has been raised in recent times, but tussles remain tight as top-four contenders regularly end up taking points from one another over the course of a testing campaign.

How many points are required to avoid relegation out of the Premier League?

While sights are set high by those harbouring Champions League ambitions, at the other end of the table it is all about finishing outside of a dreaded drop zone that leads to the Championship.

Many would happily take a 17th-place finish before a ball is kicked, with the goal in each passing season being merely to remain part of English football’s elite.

Securing said standing is, however, easier said than done, with ever-improving standards making it increasingly difficult to keep heads above water.

A fabled 40-point mark remains the target for those battling for survival, although the average requirement for top-flight survival actually sits a little lower than that at around 38.

Season

Pts required to stay up

2001-02

40

2002-03

44

2003-04

39

2004-05

34

2005-06

38

2006-07

38

2007-08

36

2008-09

35

2009-10

35

2010-11

40

2011-12

37

2012-13

39

2013-14

36

2014-15

38

2015-16

39

2016-17

40

2017-18

36

2018-19

36

2019-20

35

2020-21

39

Average

37.7

West Brom were able to pull off their Great Escape in 2004-05, after being bottom of the table at Christmas, with only 34 points.

Across the same era in which four sides have qualified for the Champions League, West Ham went down in 2002-03 despite collecting 42 points.

That remains the highest mark in Premier League history, with 40 often more than enough to ensure that a tumble into the second tier is avoided.