Newcastle United & Man Utd fear Champions League blow as Tottenham & Aston Villa watch on

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Newcastle United face two challenging tests against PSG and AC Milan as they aim to progress from the ‘Group of Death.’

Newcastle United currently find themselves bottom of their Champions League group as they prepare for two difficult tests against PSG away and AC Milan at home.

The Magpies initially made a strong start to the group with four points from their opening two games, but they now have a mountain to climb after back-to-back losses to German giants Borussia Dortmund.

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Newcastle’s hopes of remaining in Europe have diminished as a result of their drop in form, which has largely been caused by an avalanche of injuries across the pitch. But the Magpies' struggles in the Champions League may not only come as a blow to this year’s campaign - they could also reduce next season’s chances of competing in Europe’s elite competition.

Changes to the Champions League structure see the introduction of a Swiss-style format next year, which uses a league table like system rather than the group stage that fans have come accustomed to.

The major shakeup sees the introduction of four extra teams to the competition. Meaning there will be 36 teams in next year’s tournament rather than the traditional 32.

Two of the four extra qualification places will be awarded to the two countries who collectively performed best in European competitions.

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This is calculated by UEFA's association club coefficient table and an average score is produced by dividing the total number of points won throughout the year by the number of clubs involved.

The Independent explains that UEFA awards points for group-stage wins and round-of-16 participation and if applied last season, England would have finished in the top two along with the Netherlands. The Premier League’s coefficient was boosted by Manchester City winning the Champions League and West Ham winning the Europa Conference League.

A total of eight teams are involved in Europe this season and Newcastle and Manchester United’s slow starts in Europe could potentially damage England’s coefficient average.

At the time of writing, England are fifth in this season’s table, behind Turkey, Belgium, Germany and Italy. English teams often accrue points by performing well in the knockout rounds, but both Man Utd and Newcastle are at risk of falling at the first hurdle in the group stage.

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Manchester United, who sit bottom of Group A with two rounds remaining, will be out if they lose to Galatasaray in Istanbul next week, while Newcastle, who are bottom of Group F, are also on the verge of being knocked out ahead of their trip to PSG on Tuesday.

Both sides would also suffer an even bigger hit if they were to finish bottom of the group and fail to reach even the Europa League play-off round.

The Premier League’s coefficient would then lay in the hands of holders Manchester City and Arsenal who are both on course to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League.

In the Europa League, both Liverpool and West Ham sit top of their respective groups while Brighton are also in a strong position with two rounds of matches to go. 

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Aston Villa are the bookmakers favourites to become the second English side in a row to win the Europa Conference League and Unai Emery’s team are also close to securing their place in the knockout stages.

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