The Best Penalty Takers in the Premier League
Who are the best Premier League penalty takers in the history of the competition? We look at which players could best handle the pressure of taking a spot-kick, while also reflecting on who wasn’t able to convert from the penalty spot as well in the Premier League.
The Only Players to Score 100% of Penalties in the Premier League*
*Well, of players to have taken at least 10 penalties in the competition, at least. When offered as a quiz question, most people will opt for Matt Le Tissier as their guess. Wrong.
The accolade for the most penalties taken with a 100% success rate is held by former Manchester City midfielder and dominant powerhouse, Yaya Touré. The Ivorian star might have lost his cool about not being given a birthday cake for his 31st birthday, but he certainly held a cool temperament from the penalty spot.
He took 11 penalties in the Premier League and scored with every single one of them.
Seven of Touré’s 11 Premier League penalties turned out to be the winning goal in the game, while five put his Manchester City team into the lead.
But one player is knocking on Touré’s door. Brentford’s Ivan Toney has now scored all 10 of the penalties that he’s taken in the Premier League following his spot-kick against Fulham in March 2023, meaning he’s only one away from equalling the former Man City midfielder’s exact record of 11 from 11.
The player with the next most penalties and a 100% conversion rate is Dimitar Berbatov (nine from nine).
Matt Le Tissier Did Miss a Penalty
No this is not a conspiracy. He may have scored 25 penalties in the Premier League, but Matt Le Tissier did miss a spot-kick in the competition. The only man to save a Premier League penalty taken by Le Tissier? That would be Nottingham Forest’s Mark Crossley in March 1993.
That penalty save mattered, too – Forest went on to pick up a 2-1 away win that day at The Dell, despite Le Tissier making amends (of sorts) after his 22nd-minute penalty miss, when he scored Southampton’s only goal of the game in the 72nd minute.
That was Le Tissier’s third penalty as a Premier League player, after scoring the previous two he took in the competition. He would never miss in the English top-flight again, with his next 23 successfully dispatched past the opposition goalkeeper.
The Guernsey-born forward went on to make Nottingham Forest pay for his saved penalty against them, as he scored his next four penalties against them in the Premier League, including three against his nemesis Crossley – more than against any other club in the competition.
The Best of the Rest
Danny Murphy scored with 18 of his 19 penalties taken in the Premier League (95%), with his only miss coming for Fulham at Manchester City in April 2008 – Joe Hart the goalkeeper to ruin his 100% record with his ninth attempt from the spot in the competition. However, he scored from the rebound to equalise for Fulham, before they went on to win 3-2 and pick up a crucial three points in their battle for Premier League survival (a battle they ultimately won).
Julian Dicks (15/16) and James Beattie (16/17) both scored with 94% of their penalties in the Premier League.
Dicks’ penalty technique favoured power, but that wasn’t enough to give him a 100% record in the Premier League from the spot – David Seaman saving his penalty for West Ham against Arsenal in February 1996.
Julian Dicks could take a penalty! pic.twitter.com/RSIG0bY2TW— 90s Football (@90sfootball) March 4, 2020
Of players to have scored at least 20 Premier League goals, only Luka Milivojevic (79%) has scored a higher proportion from penalties (all for Crystal Palace) than Dicks did (63%).
Beattie’s only miss came for Everton against Charlton Athletic in January 2006, when Thomas Myhre kept him out at Goodison Park. This miss came from the only penalty that he took in the Premier League inside the opening 10 minutes of a match (08:09).
Of current players in the Premier League to have taken at least 10 penalties, Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson (92%) has the best record from the spot having missed only one of his 13 in the competition. That miss came against Cardiff City for Bournemouth in August 2018, with Neil Etheridge being the goalkeeper to destroy Wilson’s 100% record.
Thierry Henry never saw a Premier League penalty saved, but he still missed two of his 25 taken in the competition. Weirdly both of his penalty misses came via hitting the post against two of the only three Finnish goalkeepers to play in the Premier League (Jussi Jääskeläinen and Antti Niemi). Finish? He could. Finnish? He could not.
Four players to take at least 10 Premier League penalties have a 91% success rate: Current Aston Villa striker Danny Ings, Leighton Baines, former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf and the late Gary Speed. Of the three, Baines took the most penalties (22) – twice as many as Ings, Speed and Leboeuf (11). His first Premier League penalty miss came in October 2014 versus Manchester United and David de Gea, ending a record of scoring each of his first 14 penalties in the competition.
Other current Premier League stars are just outside the >90% gang for penalty success. Harry Kane has scored 30 of his 34 Premier League penalties, with a success rate of 88%, while Mohamed Salah‘s scored 18 of his 20 Premier League penalties (90%). Evergreen James Milner has scored 89% of penalties taken in the Premier League (17/19) with the exact same record as current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta (17/19 – 89%).
Quirky Penalty Record Facts
Unsurprisingly, Premier League record goalscorer Alan Shearer is the player with the most penalty goals in the competition (56), having also taken the most in the Premier League (67). Frank Lampard (43), Steven Gerrard (32), Harry Kane (30) and Mark Noble (28) follow Shearer in the Premier League penalty goal rankings.
Only three players have missed at least 10 penalties in the Premier League: Alan Shearer (11), England’s all-time record scorer Wayne Rooney (11) and Teddy Sheringham (10).
Harry Kane has scored seven of his 30 penalties against Arsenal in the Premier League (23.3%), which is the joint-most against a single opponent in the competition, alongside Alan Shearer‘s seven versus Everton (although he also missed one – 7/8).
Middlesbrough’s diminutive Brazilian Juninho may have been one of the most popular players in club history, but he wasn’t any good at penalties. A shout for one of the worst penalty takers of all time in the competition, no player in Premier League history has taken as many penalties as he has (four) without scoring one – Paul Merson (three) and Mike Newell came close, though (three).
The player with the most Premier League goals with every one of them coming via penalties is former Liverpool midfielder Jan Mølby (seven), while the player to score the most Premier League goals without a single one being a penalty is Les Ferdinand (149 goals).
Three different players have scored a Premier League penalty for as many as four different clubs, with the trio of Teddy Sheringham (Spurs, Manchester United, West Ham and Portsmouth), Darren Bent (Sunderland, Charlton, Aston Villa and Spurs) and Yakubu (Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Blackburn and Everton) holding that record.
A round of applause is due to both Bobby Zamora and Obafemi Martins. These two players are the only two that have scored a Premier League penalty with both their right foot and their left foot – that shows some extreme confidence. Zamora only took two penalties in the competition, too – just 10 months apart. Martins’ took four penalties, two with each foot, and scored one and missed one with both his right and left foot – turns out he never really found the correct formula.
Who is the Worst Premier League Penalty Taker?
Juan Pablo Ángel is the worst penalty taker in Premier League history, of player to have taken at least 10 in the competition. He only scored half (five) of his 10 penalties for Aston Villa between October 2001 and October 2006.
The Colombian striker scored four of his first five, but then missed four of his final five – two of those came in the same game against Fulham in February 2005, seeing both penalties saved by Edwin van der Sar across the space of just five minutes and 44 seconds. Ángel had already put his side into a 55th-minute lead at Craven Cottage, but was made to pay for his two misses, as Lee Clark scored an equaliser in injury time for the Whites.
Ángel is one of only three players to miss two penalties in a single Premier League match, with the others being Darren Bent for Sunderland versus Tottenham in April 2010 (taking three and missing two) and Saido Berahino for West Brom against Watford in April 2016 (missing both penalties taken).
Steed Malbranque and Dwight Yorke both missed four of the 10 penalties that they took in the Premier League, while Kevin Phillips only scored 61% of his penalties in the competition (11/18). Man Utd fans saw Paul Pogba miss four of the 11 penalties he took for the club in the Premier League – before handing the responsibility over to either Bruno Fernandes or Cristiano Ronaldo – including what might be the last one he ever takes in the competition – missing versus Wolves in August 2019.
Of 29 players to have taken at least 20 penalties in the Premier League, Michael Owen has the worst success rate from the penalty spot, scoring just 14 of his 21 spot-kicks in the top-flight.
Current Premier League trio Aleksandar Mitrović (7/11 – 64%), Wilfried Zaha (7/11 – 64%) and Riyad Mahrez (13/19 – 67%) all make the top 12 for worst Premier League penalty takers in the history of the competition.
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