DO PLAYERS ON London teams not practice penalty kicks?
Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe, Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas and Chelsea’s Frank Lampard all missed PKs during the weekend’s English Premier League action and, in the case of Defoe and Lampard, it cost their teams points.
It took a great save from the best goalkeeper in the Prem to stop Fabregas’ shot. Stoke City’s Thomas Sorensen guessed correctly and made a diving stop to keep up his current outstanding form. True, the Gunners went on to a 2-0 win, but Sorensen shouldn’t be saddled with much of the blame. If he weren’t in goal for the Potters, it could’ve ended 4-0 or worse.
Defoe had an opportunity to give Spurs a win and keep the North London outfit firmly entrenched in the top four after Tottenham’s Wilson Palacios was felled by Everton’s Tony Hibbert in the game’s dying minutes.
Robbie Keane usually takes spot kicks for my beloved Spurs, but he would’ve had a tough time doing that Sunday since he was on the bench the entire match. Defoe, who’d already scored a goal against the Toffees to bring his season total to a league-leading 12, stepped up, but his peno had neither the pace nor the placement required to scoot past Everton keeper Tim Howard.
That left Spurs with a 2-2 draw and kept them just one point ahead of fifth-place Aston Villa.
But the most shocking miss was Lampard’s. The Chelsea midfielder has reached Steven Gerrard status when it comes to converting PKs into goals. Lamps just doesn’t miss from the spot.
Well, he isn’t perfect. Lampard last missed a penalty in September…of 2006.
With that kind of track record, it seems to be a given when Lampard takes a peno, but Shay Given, Manchester City’s stalwart man in goal, had other ideas.
But, much like Defoe, Lampard didn’t strike his penalty with adequate force and, also like Spurs’ No. 18, the placement of the shot left a lot to be desired.
Ipswich manager Roy Keane has hinted that keepers are sneaking off their line just a bit prior to PKs, and the replay of Lampard’s shot did show Given taking a step toward the Chelsea star during Lamps’ run-up.
It’s doubtful Given needed any help saving Lampard’s strike, though, since Lampard left the shot well within Given’s reach anyway. Defoe did the same with his effort against Howard.
Give the keepers credit for making saves under almost unsavable circumstances. But give the shot-takers some blame as well for not finishing these opportunities.
If Defoe and Lampard need a refresher course on taking penalty kicks, all they need to do is watch tape of Gerrard and Man Utd.’s Wayne Rooney. Their shots seem to always find the right or left corners of the goal.
And they almost never find the mitts or feet of a goalkeeper.