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England retain four Champions League teams

England will retain four Champions League places until at least the end of the 2017-18 season, European governing body UEFA has confirmed.

The Premier League had faced a challenge from Italy - which currently has only three spots - as a result of a fall in its rating in UEFA's coefficient system.

Leicester are almost certain to be playing Champions League football next season. Credit: PA

But the progress of Manchester City and Liverpool to the quarter-finals of this season's Champions League and Europa League respectively, while Roma, Juventus and Lazio have all been eliminated from European competition, has reversed the situation.

UEFA awards four Champions League places to the top three nations in its rankings. These allocations are determined a year in advance, meaning those for 2016-17 were set by the ratings at the end of the 2014-15 season. The countries in possession at this point were Spain, England and Germany.

However, the system is run on a rolling five-year basis and so for the 2017-18 allocations, points accrued during 2010-11 - which was strong for England and poor for Italy - were discounted from the reckoning. This saw England drop to third behind Germany, just three points ahead of Italy.

England's clubs therefore needed a better 2015-16 campaign than Italy to ensure four places would be retained. With all Serie A sides now out, this has been achieved.

Zlatan not seeking revenge against Chelsea

PSG forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Credit: PA

Paris St Germain talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic has warned Chelsea he is better than ever ahead of a return to Stamford Bridge, but denied being eager for "revenge".

The 34-year-old Sweden striker was sent off in the first half of last season's second leg between the clubs, which saw PSG progress to the quarter-finals on away goals.

Ibrahimovic afterwards called Chelsea players "babies" for their role in his dismissal, believing Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers had been hounded into the decision for a clumsy challenge on Oscar.

"From the last game here I never saw something like that before from mature players like that," Ibrahimovic said.

"It's a new game, let's play different. I never think about revenge and these things.

"Hopefully I will stay on the pitch longer than the last time to have a possibility to do things I'm good at. (But) revenge, absolutely not. What happened in the past happened in the past."

Arsenal midfielder Wilshere hopeful of comeback against Barcelona in Nou Camp

Jack Wilshere. Credit: PA

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is hoping he has a chance of facing Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League clash on March 16.

The Gunners take on Barca at the Emirates Stadium in the first leg on Tuesday night, and with Arsene Wenger claiming Wilshere is "three or four weeks" away from a return from a broken leg, he may yet play a part at the Nou Camp.

Wilshere told BT Sport: "It is possible, I mean it's difficult to get back.

"The Premier League gets quicker and quicker and I know I'm not old but I'm different from when I was 19, it takes a little bit more time.

"But I'm training and running and hopefully I will be back.

"I'm not sure how long it's going to take because I've only been doing ball work for about a week. I probably need a game in the under-21s and I'll be ready."


Starting line-ups: PSG v Chelsea

Arsenal reaction to drawing Barcelona: We've got our own world-class players

Arsenal secretary David Miles admits drawing Barcelona in the Champions League is the last thing fans would have wanted.

The Gunners have beaten the defending champions just once in seven meetings and even that was not enough to prevent an aggregate defeat in the knockout stages in 2011, their most recent encounter.

Ozil and co. will have to be on form to beat Barcelona. Credit: PA

"On the back of the great win in Athens we were hoping for a good draw today and I think it's the tie of the round," Miles told BT Sport.

"It's not going to be easy and it's the team that most Arsenal fans would have wanted to avoid at this stage but it's up to us to make a good fist of it.

"We've got our own world-class players and certainly we'll go in for this.

"It should be two fantastic games and we're very much looking forward to it."

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