Few penalty takers in the history of the Premier League can boast a conversion rate greater than that of Everton left-back Leighton Baines.
This being the case, the fact that this season has seen the England international’s spot-kick license revoked has come as an earth-shattering shock to Toffees and fantasy football players across the world.
Encompassed in this sizeable group are the bwin odds maestros, who, befuddled by the great Baines penalty mystery of 2014/15 have priced him up as 73/100 to take their next 12-yard effort this term.
Fortunately for all of you out their in punterdom, the news.bwin.com team have cracked the case and it promises monster profits for those enlightened by this article.
Baines’ miss from the spot in a 2-1 reverse at Manchester United earlier in the season saw his 100% record obliterated, but when he redeemed himself just over a month later with a pen in the 1-1 draw at Sunderland.
That drew him level with West Ham legend Julian Dicks on a 93.8% accuracy rate from 12 yards out, the fourth best record in the top-flight.
When Everton were awarded a penalty at home to West Brom a few weeks later, there was little doubt as to who would be the taker for everyone inside Goodison Park.
That is, everyone aside from Kevin Mirallas, who wrestled the ball from Baines in a bizarre on-pitch squabble that saw the 30-year-old relinquish his responsibility to the over-confident Belgian.
He subsequently blazed wide and the game finished goalless.
Surely Baines would be reinstated to office after this debacle, but when the Toffees were next awarded a spot kick it was in the Europa League when he was off the pitch.
Romelu Lukaku filled in and duly despatched in a 3-1 win over Young Boys, then did so again when Dinamo Kiev visited in the next round.
Such was the former Chelsea sharpshooter’s confidence that he remained on duty when Baines returned to the fold.
Lukaku converted when a Newcastle player committed a misdemeanour inside the area despite the team’s seasoned taker being on the field.
Had he started Everton’s 1-0 win over Burnley last time out he would’ve surely stepped up when a pen was given for a trip on Aaron Lennon.
With the recently anointed incumbent on the bench, Ross Barkley – not deposed Baines – assumed responsibility.
His effort was repelled by Clarets keeper Tom Heaton and surely he won’t be offered the invite to take another if Lukaku is present.
Baines’ reluctance to call rank on Barkley suggests he has fallen way down the pecking order, so back the enormous 6/1 about Lukaku taking their next spot kick this season.