Premier League penalty misses put takers on the spot
Blackburn Rovers missed two penalties at Ewood Park yesterday which could have helped earn their first points of the season. Their opponents Everton converted a penalty of their own, but Mikel Arteta's 12-yard strike was only the third scored from nine attempts.
It seems easy. Almost every football supporter expects their penalty taker to score from 12 yards. It is why, other than celebrating a goal, the biggest cheer from fans at a game is when the referee indicates to the spot.
Yet something strange is happening in the English Premier League this season with a curious amount of missed or saved penalties.
Only three of the nine penalties rewarded this season have been converted, with Blackburn Rovers, desperate to earn their first points of the season yesterday, seeing two missed in the same match. Incidentally, Rovers were the last side to miss two in one game against Bolton in October 2006 (thanks OptaJoe).
A recent study in England discovered that three in four penalties are scored. In penalty shoot-outs in knockout competitions the probability is even worse for the men tasked to keep the ball out of the net with goalkeepers only saving one in five.
We have already seen Brazil and Argentina fail miserably at the Copa America in the summer. Brazil in particular missing all four of their kicks in their quarter-final defeat to Paraguay, highlighted that this recent phenomenon of missing is not consigned to the Premier League.
Infostrada Sports provided a telling stat yesterday during the yesterday's programme of matches that over the past 10 Premier League seasons just under 78 per cent of penalties are scored.
With that level of certainty, it is understandable for fans to get giddy when their team is given a penalty. We expect the current 33 per cent conversion rate will gradually rise, but the glut of misses will certainly ask questions on whether it is getting easier for goalkeepers to anticipate where the kicker is going to place the ball or what other factors are causing such a low success rate.
Who knows, may be penalty takers will have to get creative like the UAE's Theyab Awana infamous back-heeled success just to stop the current rot.
Penalties in the Premier League this season
Mikel Arteta (Everton) Scored
Mauro Formica (Blackburn) Missed
Junior Hoilett (Blackburn) Missed
Frank Lampard (Chelsea) Scored
Jon Walters (Stoke) Missed
Ben Watson (Wigan) Missed
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) Missed
Ben Watson (Wigan) Scored
Kevin Doyle (Wolves) Missed
Published: August 28, 2011 04:00 AM