I often hear the English premier league referred to as a more physical league compared to the other European leagues. The talk is always about how foreign players struggle to adapt to the physicality.

What exactly is meant by this? I would have thought that the sport was the same regardless of where it was played. Is it more physical in terms of scheduling (mid-week league games are a ridiculous concept to me), or is it something in the gameplay?

In case it's not obvious, the EPL and World Cups are pretty much the only chances I get to watch the sport!


One contributing factor to this theory is that referees in the English Premier League, and generally in British football, are more lenient than their counterparts in the rest of Europe. Article on red cards in EPL and Article on leniency in EPL. This, along with the idea that English Premier League teams are less tactical and rely on more power and pace, can support the theory of the games themselves being more physical.

Another important factor is the lack of a winter break during the Premier League season - many other professional leagues have a mid season break, whereas the Christmas/New Year period is one of the busiest in the season with teams often playing 3 games in a week. Allied with having two very competitive domestic cup competitions, and limited scheduling flexibility to help support teams playing in European cup competitions, contribute to the English Premier League being a physically demanding competition.


I think this statement is out of date.

There definitively was a time where the British clubs played "kick 'n rush" (or at least more than other clubs). But it's like the other claims: - Spanish league is more technical - Italian league is slow but defensive orientated (just 1:0 wins etc ...) - German league is more tactical - ...

But as you can see in the European Cups, the top teams are playing on one level. They might have their own tactical concept, but it's not necessarily linked with their domestic league.

Just have a look on Bayern Munich (Germany): Lot of people saying they're playing the Barcelona style of "tiki-taka". Obviously this is because their coach is former coach of Barcelona CF (and inventor of "tiki-taka").

Nevertheless there are a lot of players struggling to adopt the tactics and concepts of their new team ... or their new league. But this isn't only true for players switching to the English leagues.

  • Guardialo did not invent tiki taka, perfectioned it yes. – Don_Biglia Sep 21 '15 at 9:56
  • He meant Guardiola. – WedaPashi Feb 17 '16 at 8:51

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