Premier League giants are facing summer fixture chaos if Manchester City don’t win the FA Cup.
City are already destined for the Premier League top four to secure their place in the Champions League next season, and their win in the EFL Cup means sixth place is also guaranteed a Europa League spot.
If City don’t win the FA Cup, the winners will come from outside the top six with Wolves , Watford and Brighton also remaining in the draw.
That would mean whoever loses out in the race for the top six and finishes sixth would enter the Europa League at the second qualifying round, rather than at the group stage.
As a result, either Arsenal , Manchester United , Chelsea or Tottenham would have to start their season as early as July 25, when the qualifying fixtures take place.
The only way this could be avoided is if the sixth place team win either the Europa League or Champions League to therefore secure a spot in the Champions League group stage.
All four major clubs have already been booked in for summer pre-season tours, which could be severely disrupted if they have to play a Europa League qualifier.
It would be a major blow for whichever club is affected, given overseas tours have become lucrative business for the Premier League big boys in recent years.
Chelsea have already announced they will play a match in July in Japan, plus Tottenham are expected to take part in the International Champions Cup in Singapore then Shanghai.
Arsenal are reportedly going to tour the USA between July 13 and July 26, with Manchester United taking on Perth Glory and Leeds United in Australia on July 13 and July 17 respectively.
All of these plans are at risk of being severely disrupted if they lose out in the fierce top four battle and finish sixth then don’t see rivals Manchester City lift the FA Cup.
Pep Guardiola’s side take on Brighton in the semi-finals and the winners of Watford v Wolves await the victors in the final.