How the Premier League is on course to pay the penalty more than ever before
Published 17/10/2016 | 15:11
Much was made over the weekend of the number of missed penalties in the Premier League this season, with Maarten Stekelenburg twice thwarting Manchester City from the spot to earn Everton a draw.
Christian Benteke also missed for Crystal Palace against West Ham, the ninth penalty failure already in the current Premier League season - but are players really missing at a significantly higher rate than past seasons?
Bournemouth's Junior Stanislas scored from 12 yards on Saturday, as did Charlie Austin and Sam Vokes in Sunday's game between Southampton and Burnley to lift the league total to 22 from 31 this term.
That 71 per cent conversion rate is still the lowest over the last 10 years of the English top flight, but is only one percentage point lower than the 2011-12 season when exactly 100 penalties were taken and 72 were successful.
The other seasons in that range have seen upwards of a 77 per cent conversion rate - peaking at 83.9 per cent in 2013-14 - although it was 75 per cent in 2005-06 and such relatively small fluctuations can easily be the product of pure chance.
The more striking statistical anomaly this term is the number of penalties awarded - 31 in only 79 matches so far, on pace for a massive 149 over the course of a full season. The highest tally in the previous 10 seasons was 112 in 2006-07, and only four times has the number reached three figures.
City's Sergio Aguero was the focal point of the weekend's debate after missing his fourth penalty in all competitions this season - two in the Champions League qualifier against Steaua Bucharest and one in Argentina's defeat to Paraguay last week.
His all-time Premier League record, though, reads 17 penalty goals - tied for fourth in the Premier League over the last 10 years - from 21 attempts.
Among the 20 players to have taken 10 or more Premier League penalties in that time period, the Argentinean is slightly below average at 13th with an 81 per cent conversion rate.
That list is topped by former Liverpool and Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy (12 of 13, 92.3 per cent), with Chelsea's Eden Hazard (10 of 11) and Liverpool's James Milner (nine of 10) the other players at 90 per cent or above and Jermain Defoe and Jonathan Walters propping up the list, both with 10 goals from 15 attempts.
City's Yaya Toure and former Tottenham and Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov have taken the most penalties - nine - among players with 100 per cent records.
Kevin De Bruyne also saw his penalty saved against Everton but City as a team rank in the middle of the penalty conversion standings over the last 10 years - 20th out of the 37 teams to have played in the Premier League in that time, or a perfectly average 15th of 29 when looking at teams with at least 10 penalties on their record.
They have also taken the most, 69, with their 55 penalty goals just one behind Chelsea's league-high mark.
Swansea (17 of 18, 94.4 per cent) lead the way, followed by Watford with 10 out of 11. Chelsea, at 83.6 per cent, are the best among the regular title challengers.
Saido Berahino's two missed penalties in last season's loss to Watford contribute to West Brom being the worst from the spot among the 20 current Premier League teams - 21 goals from 34 attempts, or 61.8 per cent.
Only Blackburn (22 of 36), Portsmouth (11 of 20) and QPR (seven of 13), along with Sheffield United and Derby from five and one attempts respectively, have worse records.