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Premier League and Sky Bet Championship styles compared ahead of kick-off
Last Updated: 02/08/18 6:20pm
The Sky Bet Championship season kicks off this Friday before the Premier League reboots next week - but how do the two leagues differ in terms of playing styles?
A raft of players from newly-promoted Wolves, Cardiff and Fulham will be inducted into top-flight football, while several established Premier League clubs have splashed big bucks on Championship stars.
Leicester spent the most cash on lower-tier talent with £24m on midfielder James Maddison, who was one of the league's standout players last term - smashing 14 goals from 44 league appearances.
Manuel Pellegrini's first business at West Ham was to secure the signature of Fulham right-back Ryan Fredericks on a free transfer, while Bournemouth prised Wales midfielder David Brooks from Sheffield United.
In addition, Cardiff signed Bobby Reid over the summer to bolster their chances of top-flight survival come May next year, while Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon will make his top-flight bow.
But what key differences can Premier League debutants expect, and in what areas might they have to adapt?
The Championship is rougher with nearly 50 per cent more red cards, 14 per cent more yellow cards and 12 per cent more duels last season, on average.
England's second tier is also less intricate in playing style with far more launches - defined as long balls aimed at an area rather than to a specific team-mate - more passes exceeding 35 yards and more clearances.
In addition, Premier League stats suggest a greater degree of close control with fewer unsuccessful touches and shots off target - but, interestingly, more errors leading to goals.
The Premier League produced nearly 30 per cent more through balls and nearly 20 per cent more passes - reinforcing the top-tier's intricate style of play to breach tighter defences.
So Maddison and other players stepping up from the Championship must adapt to a more intricate and less physical style of play when the new Premier League campaign gets under way next Friday.
However, Maddison, a 21-year-old set-piece specialist, exudes attacking flair with a league-topping 124 chances created in the Championship last season, in addition to firing four goals from outside the box.
The England U21 international could well take Jose Mourinho's side by surprise when Leicester face Manchester United in their opener.
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