Some of the Premier League’s most reliable penalty takers have struggled from the spot recently, costing their teams valuable points in the run-in.
Bukayo Saka’s miss during the draw at West Ham was his first in five attempts for Arsenal, while Mohamed Salah is nought from two on penalties for Liverpool this season.
Even the usually dead-eyed Ivan Toney saw a spot-kick saved by Newcastle’s Nick Pope, ending a perfect record of 10 from 10 in the Premier League up to that point.
We have crunched the numbers to identify the best regular penalty takers among modern-day players and their predecessors.
Who are the greatest Premier League penalty takers of all-time?
The Premier League’s leading scorer Alan Shearer has also netted the most penalties, with 56 of his 260 goals in the competition having come from the spot.
Interim Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is next on the list, with 43 goals from spot-kicks, ahead of Tottenham’s Harry Kane (32), Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard (32) and West Ham’s Mark Noble (28).
However, sheer volume alone does not tell the whole story – Shearer is also joint-top for most misses with 11 (tied with Wayne Rooney).
There is only one player in Premier League history with 10-plus attempts and a 100 per cent record from the spot. Step forward Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, who scored 11 from 11 across his eight years with the club.
Toure edges Southampton great Matt Le Tissier, who netted 25 of his 26 spot-kicks. His solitary miss came against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League’s inaugural season (1992-93), when his effort was saved by Mark Crossley.
Danny Murphy, James Beattie and Julian Dicks round out the top five for best conversion rates, with each recording at least 15 successful penalties compared with one miss.
Of players to have taken at least 10 penalties in the competition, former Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel has the worst record with a 50 per cent success rate.
The Colombian’s five misses included two in the same game against Fulham in 2004-05, both of which were saved by Edwin van der Sar.
Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic have both missed four of their 11 spot-kicks, an identical record to ex-Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.
Among current players, Newcastle’s Callum Wilson has the highest conversion rate, having scored 12 of his 13 penalties for the Magpies and previous club Bournemouth.
He is one of three active players with at least 10 successful penalties and just one miss, along with Brentford’s Toney and West Ham striker Danny Ings.
Liverpool’s James Milner has a better record from the spot than teammate Mohamed Salah, who has missed the target with his last two efforts, although the Egyptian still makes the top 10 with 18 goals from 22 attempts.
Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta – who himself had an excellent penalty record (17 out of 19) – may consider handing the responsibility to Jorginho over Saka in future, when the Italian is on the pitch. The January signing scored 19 of 22 spot-kicks for previous club Chelsea.
Which clubs fare best from the penalty spot?
We have examined the 790 Premier League penalties taken by current top flight clubs over the past decade.
Wolves come out on top with a perfect record from 15 spot-kicks. Current squad members Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez have netted seven apiece, while the remaining penalty was scored by Fabio Silva in 2020-21 – before his loan move to PSV.
Brentford and Leeds are both one short of an unblemished record, while Liverpool lead the way among clubs to have been awarded at least 20 penalties since 2013-14 with an 86 per cent success rate.
Apart from Nottingham Forest, who have missed two of their three penalties this season, Fulham have the worst record of any club with eight misses from 19 attempts.
Manchester City have failed to convert more than a quarter of their spot-kicks in the past decade, despite scoring eight from eight this term.
Pep Guardiola’s side have benefitted from signing a regular taker in Erling Haaland, having previously rotated between midfielders including Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, who all missed on multiple occasions.
Who is the best penalty saver in the Premier League?
As well as offering a golden chance to score a goal, a penalty represents an opportunity for a goalkeeper to make themselves a hero.
Among present-day players, Liverpool’s third-choice keeper Adrian has the best record of saving spot-kicks, having prevented five of the 18 he has faced from hitting the back of the net.
The 36-year-old made all five saves while at West Ham in 2015 and 2016, including one from Kane, who has only missed four Premier League penalties in his career.
Adrian’s successor at West Ham – Lukasz Fabianski – is also an expert at saving penalties. The Pole has stopped 11 spot-kicks in 45 attempts, at a success rate of just under one in four.
Tottenham’s Fraser Forster has a similar record of four stops from 17, ahead of Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez (three from 19) – who became renowned for his pre-penalty mind games during Argentina’s World Cup shootouts.
Going back through the history books, David James holds the Premier League record for most penalty saves, with 13 from 63 spot-kicks, ahead of Thomas Sorensen (12 from 50) and then Fabianski.
Ben Foster – who recently saved a crucial injury-time penalty for Wrexham in their National League promotion clash with Notts County – rounds out the top 10 with nine saves from 56 attempts.
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