Are Premier League pitches different sizes?
Not only are Premier League pitches different sizes but teams have been known to deliberately alter the dimensions of their pitch to play to their strengths or neutralise that of their opponents, thus gaining an advantage. In this article we will look at how different pitch dimensions might affect different playing philosophies as well as ranking the current Premier League pitches by size.
How can the size of Premier League pitches give an advantage?
There are many different styles of play in the Premier League and they seem to evolve further every season. Whilst traditionally it was once a fair generalisation to say that the bigger clubs play attacking football whilst their smaller counterparts would tend to be more defensive, however the lines have begun to grow blurred. Indeed, traditionally unfashionable clubs such as Bournemouth and Brighton now pride themselves on playing an attractive passing game, whereas this season’s version of Manchester United utilise a counter-attacking approach. So how does this alter Premier League pitches?
Firstly, increasing the width of a pitch is hugely beneficial to teams who rely on wingers to attack. It stands to reason that, by increasing the width of a Premier League pitch, the play is stretched and the wingers are given additional room to work their magic. Teams have even been known to reduce their pitch size to counter particularly strong wing-based teams. In May 2000, for example, a Wales side managed by Mark Hughes took on Brazil on a Millenium Stadium pitch that had not only been narrowed to reduce the Brazilian wing threat but had also deliberately longer grass to slow them down. Unfortunately for Hughes, Wales still lost 3-0.
Other teams, such as Pep Guardiola’s famous tiki-taka Barcelona side, rely less on the pace and trickery of wingers and more on the quick passing of cultured midfielders. For them, once again, space is a virtue. The ball moves faster than the player, so with added space they are able to pass their way up the pitch quickly in order to attack. The extra space makes it very difficult for any opposition to keep up and they are often left chasing the ball.
Conversely, for less visually appealling teams (perhaps a more pleasant term for long ball sides), space is the enemy. These teams will traditionally want to defend as a tight unit before bypassing the midfield and hoofing the ball straight up to their attackers. As such, a shorter and narrower pitch means that their defensive players are able to get closer to the opposition in order to dispossess them and then kick the ball to their strikers quicker.
Premier League pitches by size
Below is a list of every current Premier League pitch ordered by biggest to smallest. Although it isn’t an exact science, note that some traditional grounds (such an Anfield and Stamford Bridge) are limited in how much they can be moved. Although with Liverpool’s Gegenpress built around immediately destroying opposition attacks, a smaller pitch size suits them. Whereas newer stadiums (The Etihad and The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium) are at the larger end of the scale.
1st – Falmer Stadium (Brighton & Hove Albion) – 7,245m2
=2nd – Villa Park (Aston Villa) – 7,140m2
=2nd – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Totten Hotspur) – 7,140m2
=2nd – The Etihad (Manchester City) – 7.140m2
=2nd – Vicarage Road (Watford) – 7,140m2
=2nd – St James’ Park (Newcastle) – 7,140m2
=2nd – Turf Moor (Burnley) – 7,140m2
=2nd – Vitality Stadium (Bournemouth) – 7,140m2
=2nd – London Stadium (West Ham) – 7,140m2
=2nd – The Emirates (Arsenal) – 7,140m2
=2nd – Old Trafford (Manchester United) – 7,140m2
12th – Carrow road (Norwich) – 7,072m2
13th – St Mary’s (Southampton) – 6,936m2
14th – Stamford Bridge (Chelsea) – 6,901m2
15th – Anfield (Liverpool) – 6,868m2
16th – King Power Stadium (Leicester) – 6,834m2
17th – Goodison Park (Everton) – 6,800m2
18th – Selhurst Park (Crystal Palace) – 6,700m2
19th – Bramall Lane (Sheffield United) – 6.600m2
20th – Molineux (Wolverhampton Wanderers) – 6,400m2
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