Premier League Tactical Analysis

English Premier League seems to possess a more direct style of play, faster game tempo, higher number of heading and ground duels and more aggressiveness than other top European leagues. In fact, this competition has evolved tactically and physically by increasing the number of passes, passing tempo, passing accuracy and high intensity running. This transformation tends to perform a more direct playing style. Most studies analyze the game from a “physical demand” approach. Nevertheless, there is a lack of studies describing playing styles and their effectiveness to achieve offensive performance in this league.

“This transformation tends to perform a more direct playing style”

In this sense, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of tactical and contextual indicators on achieving offensive penetration and scoring opportunities in English Premier League matches.

A total of 1971 team possessions from 20 random matches were evaluated by means of multidimensional observation and multivariate logistic regression was used.

Fig 4. Predicted probabilities to create a scoring opportunity according to the type of attack after adjusting for the variables included in the multivariate analysis.


  • English Premier League matches had a great proportion of fast attacks (36.0%) followed by combinative (29.6%) and direct attacks (24.1%) while only 9.5% progressed as a counterattack.
  • Multilevel logistic regression models (fig. 4) revealed that counterattacks (OR = 3.428; 95% CI: 2.004–5.864; P<0.001) were more effective to create goal scoring opportunities than combinative attacks, while direct attacks showed to be less effective (OR = 0.472; 95% CI: 0.264–0.845; P<0.05).

“Multilevel logistic regression models revealed that counterattacks were more effective to create goal scoring opportunities”

  • Playing at home increased the probability (OR = 1.530; 95% CI: 1.097–2.135; P<0.05) of creating goal-scoring opportunities compared with playing away.


  1. First, practitioners should interpret the data with caution, basically because these data are not fully extrapolated to other leagues with different contextual variables.
  2. According to “playing at home” obtained higher odds of achieving offensive penetration and scoring opportunities in comparison with “playing away”, home advantage phenomena may be partly justified by hormonal environments (testosterone:cortisol ratio) which drives to create better expectative.
  3. During the counterattacks, the degree of imbalance from the beginning to the end was with a high tempo (i.e. high-intensity running or sprints). This finding suggests that high-intensity running over time have greater prominence. Practitioners should know how to manage the workload of these actions from a qualitative and quantitative approach.