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Premier League Cup: Format explained

1 Jun 2019
Morgan Feeney, PL Cup trophy lift

Aston Villa beat Swansea in the 2017/18 final of an U23 cup competition adopts the UEFA Champions League format

From 2016/17 the Premier League Cup replaced the Under-21 Premier League Cup, which was introduced in 2013/14 to enhance the competitiveness of the Professional Development Phase calendar with knockout football alongside the regular league campaign.

The new competition is in the UEFA Champions League style with 32 clubs in the main group stage, replacing the straight knockout in the U21 Premier League Cup. Like Premier League 2, it will be contested between Under-23 teams, with each side allowed three over-age outfield players and a goalkeeper born before 1 January 1995 in the 2018/19 season.

Competition format
  • Qualifying stage If more than 32 clubs enter the competition, a qualifying knock-out stage takes place between Category 3 and 4 clubs to determine who joins Category 1 and 2 sides in the Group stage
  • Group stage The tournament will be split into eight groups of four clubs, with each team playing their opposing clubs home and away. The top two teams advance to the knockout stage.
  • Knockout stage The last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will all be one-off knockout ties. If the ties are level after 90 minutes, they go to extra-time and then penalties if the teams still can't be separated. 

Everton won the 2018/19 Premier League Cup thanks to Morgan Feeney's goal in a 1-0 win over Newcastle United at Goodison Park, adding to their PL2 Division 1 title in the same season.

Aston Villa won the 2017/18 competition with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory over defending champions Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. The final was goalless after extra-time.

Swansea claimed the 2016/17 trophy with a 2-0 win over Reading at the Welsh club's home ground. 

West Ham United defeated Hull City in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 aggregate draw in the 2015/16 final.

The Hammers' Premier League Cup success followed the 2014/15 triumph by Southampton, in front of over 12,000 spectators at St Mary's Stadium for their second-leg victory against Blackburn Rovers. Reading won the inaugural competition in 2013/14.

Premier League Cup winners

2018/19 Everton
Aston Villa
Swansea City
West Ham United
2014/15 Southampton
2013/14 Reading

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