The Continental Cup final games will be played this week and we should know the six group winners and the best two runner-ups by Thursday evening.
That was the original plan at least. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has put paid to it and we will have to wait, probably until December, to know the best two runner-ups.
Here is the current situation Group by Group. The rule for the ranking of the runner-ups is that only the games against the first and third teams in the group count, as one group does not have a fourth team.
Who can win their Continental Cup group?
Continental Cup Group A
- Aston Villa need a draw against Durham.
- Durham need a win against Aston Villa.
Continental Cup Group B
- Chelsea need a draw against London City Lionesses
- Arsenal need a win against Spurs and Chelsea to lose against London City Lionesses and to catch up on goal difference.
- Tottenham need a win against Arsenal and Chelsea to lose against London City Lionesses and catch up on goal difference.
Continental Cup Group C
- City need a draw against United.
- United need to beat City and Everton in December.
- Liverpool need to beat Everton and City to lose against United.
- Everton need to beat Liverpool and United in December.
Continental Cup Group D
- West Ham need to beat Charlton or draw and win the penalty shoot-out for the bonus point.
- Reading need to beat Brighton, while West Ham lose to Charlton. Or West Ham draw with Charlton and lose the penalty shootout while they catch up on the goal difference.
- Brighton need to beat Reading and Charlton later in December.
- Charlton need to beat West Ham and Brighton later in December. Should Reading beat Brighton, Charlton would also need to catch up on the goal difference with them.
- Continental Cup Group E
- Leicester need to get a win against Birmingham or a draw and to win the shootout.
- Birmingham need to beat Leicester or draw and win the shootout.
Continental Cup Group F
- Bristol need a draw at Lewes. Should they lose and if there is a winner between Crystal Palace and London Bees. They need to keep their favourable goal difference.
- Crystal Palace need to beat London Bees, hope Lewes beat Bristol and catch up on the goal difference.
- London Bees need to beat Crystal Palace, hope Lewes beat Bristol and catch up on the goal difference.
And now for the more complex mathematics, who can finish runner-up in the different groups?
Continental Cup Group A is the most straightforward as the runner-up will be either Aston Villa or Durham.
The runner-up team will have three points if they lose or four points if they draw.
Having four points nearly guarantees qualification. Also, the game will be played on Thursday and therefore those two teams know what target they need to achieve to make sure they finish in the top two.
The runner-up goal difference for the two teams is impossible to know right now, because it will depend on the result of the other game.
- Durham v Aston Villa Thursday
- Coventry v Sheffield Thursday
Continental Cup Group B should be quite straightforward
Chelsea losing to London City Lionesses could see them getting the runner-up place should Spurs or Arsenal overtake them on the overall goal difference with both side on six points. Even if this happens, Chelsea would have six points and finish as one of best runner-up of all six groups. The only case where Chelsea would not make it through is if they lose to London City Lionesses, that is unlikely, and LCL also overtake the loser of the Arsenal v Tottenham game on the overall goal difference.
The runner-up of the group will be the winner of the Arsenal v Tottenham game. That team would finish with three points in the best runner-up ranking and a goal difference that will probably be not good enough. Why? Because the rules mean the game against London City Lionesses will not be counted for the best runner-up rankings as they should finish in fourth place
Should that game end up with a draw, the penalty shoot-out winner would finish with two points in the ranking and would finish out of the top two runner-up.
- Arsenal v Tottenham Wednesday
- London City Lioness v Chelsea Wednesday
Continental Cup Group C is extremely complex right now because of the Everton v Manchester United postponed game.
All four teams can win the group at the moment, with City the main favorite but it also means all four teams can end up being the group runner-up. Basically, things will be clearer on Wednesday evening and much more settled by Thursday evening,
- Everton v Liverpool Wednesday
- Manchester City v Manchester United Thursday
- Everton v Manchester United in December
Continental Cup Group D is the same as Group C as there will be a game to be played between Charlton and Brighton.
All four teams can win the group and also finish runner-up. West Ham is favorite to win it. However, anything can happen. This was Charlton’s pitch on Sunday; let’s hope it will not be waterlogged again on Wednesday
GAME OFF ❌
— Charlton Athletic Women (@CAFCWomen) November 15, 2020
- Charlton v West Ham Wednesday
- Brighton v Reading Wednesday
- Charlton v Brighton in December
Continental Cup Group E is the same as group A
The runner-up team will have three points if they lose or four points if they draw. A draw sends the two teams through is nearly all the cases. The losing team would have to fight other teams on the overall goal difference, which means Birmingham would be out having a least a 0 goal difference, while Leicester could go through with three points and a defeat by a small margin.
- Birmingham v Leicester City Wednesday
Continental Cup Group F is in the same configuration as Group B
A Bristol heavy defeat a Lewes could see them being overtaken by the winner of the Crystal Palace v London Bees game. They would need to make sure their goal difference is good enough in the runner-up table. That calculation is not predictable right now, because we are not sure who will finish bottom of the table unlike in Group B.
The Crystal Palace v London Bees winner would be runner-up should Bristol draw, win or lose by a small margin. Then the goal difference calculation for the best runner-up is not possible right now, because we do not know who will finish in fourth place.
- Lewes v Bristol Wednesday
- Crystal Palace v London Bees Thursday
Obviously, all the teams playing on Thursday will have a huge advantage as they will know what scoreline they need to target to go through. My predictions for the teams going through are
Aston Villa or Durham, Chelsea, Man City, x, Leicester or Birmingham, Bristol and the best runner-ups are likely to be from Group A and E if they draw their game.