Premier League 2 changes in store for our U21s


Premier League 2 changes in store for our U21s

Mehmet Ali on the touchline

Ahead of the new season, our under-21s will be competing in a new-look Premier League 2 which features a new format.

Here is everything you need to know about what is in store for Mehmet Ali's team next term:

How have things changed?

Previously, the 25 clubs with Category One academies were split into two divisions. Teams played each other on a traditional home-and-away basis, with two clubs relegated and two promoted.

From next season however, the current 26 clubs that currently have Category One academy status will be placed in one division - in what is known as a Swiss-model, due to be utilised in the Champions League from 2024/25 onwards.

How will it work?

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

Each team will play 20 regular-season matches throughout the season - six fewer than we had during the 2022/23 campaign.

Teams will facing each club in their own seeding pot once, as well as three to five teams in all other pots either home or away, and the results of all the games will generate a table ranking the 26 teams.

After the regular season is completed, the top 16 teams will qualify for the play-offs. Teams will be drawn against each other based on their league positions (e.g. the team finishing first facing the team that finished 16th). These will be one-off elimination matches, with the higher-seeded team playing at home.  

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

Why is this happening?

The changes came about after an extensive review of PDP competitions, and was voted through by shareholders at the Premier League's annual AGM. It is hoped the removal of relegation will help clubs make development-first decisions, and minimise the impact of relegation on future groups of under-21 players.

The play-offs will also involve up to 16 teams up from four, and give teams a greater breadth of fixtures, playing 20 different opponents compared with only 13 in Division 1 and only 10 in Division 2.  

Mehmet Ali's team will discover their fixtures for the 2023/24 campaign in the week commencing 31 July.  

Who could we face next season?

Here are the team we could be facing next season as their academies have Category One status:

  • Aston Villa
  • Blackburn Rovers
  • Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Chelsea
  • Crystal Palace
  • Derby County
  • Everton
  • Fulham
  • Leeds United
  • Leicester City
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester City
  • Manchester United
  • Middlesbrough
  • Newcastle United
  • Norwich City
  • Nottingham Forest
  • Southampton
  • Stoke City
  • Sunderland
  • Tottenham Hotspur
  • West Bromwich Albion
  • West Ham United
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers
See Full List

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