Aston Villa lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace when the two sides met earlier in the season.
Villa lost 2-1 to Palace last month, and the speed of the Eagles' forward line was something which Richards noticed.
He spent most of the game marking the jet-heeled Wilfried Zaha, but when he was replaced, there was to be no let up for the England international as Jordon Mutch's pace also gave him serious problems to contend with.
"Playing Palace the other week I had Zaha to deal with then he goes off and (Jordon) Mutch comes on, and he’s rapid, too," Richards said. "I think it’s just an athlete’s game now – the quicker and stronger you are the more chance you’ve got in the Premier League."
Palace have built their recent success on the trickery and pace they boast in their attacking ranks, with the likes of Bakary Sako and Yannick Bolasie also available to Alan Pardew.
It makes the London side a difficult side to play against, and there are few defenders who will leave Selhurst Park without realising that they have been in a game this season.
Richards is a player who is reasonably well equipped to deal with pace, though. The former Manchester City man is quick across the ground, and also has plenty of physical strength.
Those characteristics have helped him to make a bright start at Villa, where he has played in every Premier League game since making a move to the Midlands this summer.