How the Premier League 2 play-offs will work

pl2 playoffs

For those who may not know, at the start of the 2023/24 season, the Premier League 2 competition was reformatted, introducing a new play-off style format to determine the end of the season.

We will face Manchester United in our first play-off game on Friday, May 3, which is a 7pm (UK) kick-off at Meadow Park, and it is free for supporters to attend.

What was the old format?

In the 2022/23 season, Premier League 2 comprised the 25 clubs with Category One rated academies split into two divisions - 14 teams in Division 1 and 11 in Division 2 - with relegation and promotion of two clubs in each division.  

Teams played each other home and away, with the two bottom clubs from Division 1 relegated and the champions of Division 2 going up along with another team determined by a play-off of the teams finishing second to fifth.  

What is the new format?

For the 2023/24 season all Category One academies, were put into one division.

At present there are 26 such clubs: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Brighton, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Derby County, Everton, Fulham, Leeds United, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Norwich, Nottingham Forest, Reading, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United and Wolves.

The above teams were divided into five pots based on performances over the past three seasons, and fixtures were determined by a draw made according to clubs’ positions in the five seeded pots. 

There were 20 games, with each team playing 20 regular-season matches throughout the season.  

How did we do?

With 10 wins, six draws and four defeats, we finished fifth in the league on 36 points, level on points with Chelsea, who had a better goal difference. As for United, they finished 12th with 29 points.

Premier League 2 table - top half


How will the play-offs work?

Now the regular season of 20 matchweeks has been completed, the top 16 teams qualify for a single elimination play-off.  

Teams will be drawn against each other based on their league positions - for example, the team finishing first will face the team that finished 16th. These will be one-off elimination matches with the higher-seeded team at home.

Each of the ties will take place this weekend, between Friday, May 3 and Monday, May 6. If a tie is level after 90 minutes, there will be extra-time, and then a penalty shootout if required.

As we finished fifth, we will face 12th-placed Manchester United at Meadow Park in the opening round on Friday, May 3, aiming to reach the quarter-finals.

In addition, the teams finishing the regular season in the top 12 will be invited to participate in next season’s Premier League International Cup competition.

Key dates

Last 16 (May 3-6)

Match 1: Spurs v Aston Villa
Match 2: Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Match 3: Arsenal v Man Utd
Match 4: Chelsea v Brighton
Match 5: Reading v Middlesbrough
Match 6: Fulham v Nott'm Forest
Match 7: Sunderland v Wolves
Match 8: West Ham v Blackburn Rovers

Quarter-finals (May 10-13)

Match 9: Winner 1 v Winner 2
Match 10: Winner 3 v Winner 4
Match 11: Winner 5 v Winner 6
Match 12: Winner 7 v Winner 8

Semi-finals (May 17-20)

Match 13: Winner 9 v Winner 10
Match 14: Winner 11 v Winner 12

Final (May 24-27)

Winner 13 v Winner 14

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

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