Arsenal have conceded the most Premier League penalties since the beginning of the 2016/17 season after Troy Deeney’s spot-kick for Watford found the back of the net, but why?
Arsenal have now conceded 11 penalties in the Premier League since the beginning of last term.
It’s easy to point fingers but Petr Cech certainly has to do more. The majority of the blame does lie with him. The 35-year-old is past his best and failed to save nine last term. And one already this season.
In total, the ex-Chelsea shot-stopper has failed to save 12 penalties since signing for Arsenal in 2015.
This is particularly concerning when you look at Arsenal’s back-up goalkeeper, who’s currently on loan at Getafe, Emiliano Martinez. The 25-year-old has saved four out of 11 penalties during his career. An impressive amount for a player who’s only made six Premier League appearances.
Cech often doesn’t even go the right way.
Annoyingly, pre-Arsenal, he saved six from 22, which isn’t nearly as bad as his record since moving to north London.
So, of course Cech has a large part to blame when it comes to shipping penalties. Many have suggested that perhaps he should just stay still rather than leaping to either side as he could actually end up saving more, but the former Czech Republic international doesn’t appear to be willing to change any time soon.
However, we also need to look at the players who are conceding the penalties in the first place.
While Richarlison dived for Watford, and you can’t really account for that, Arsenal do have reckless players willing to dive in. For example, the Gunners were lucky not to give away a spot-kick when Shkodran Mustafi slid in on West Brom’s Jay Rodriguez in September.
Cech (two), Granit Xhaka (two), Francis Coquelin (one), Rob Holding (one), Laurent Koscielny (one) and Nacho Monreal (one) all gave away penalties in the Premier League last season. When you have so many players making regular mistakes that cost the team, you have to wonder what on earth they think they’re doing.
Is this something they’re being taught to do in training or, as I suspect, just a lack of confidence.
By lack of confidence, I mean that they don’t believe in their own ability enough to remain calm and trust either their training or teammates to help prevent the opposition scoring. Instead, they panic and stick a leg out or bundle someone over. They don’t anticipate the consequences because it’s just a reaction. It’s almost involuntary, which is worrying as, even if Arsenal had a particularly nasty player who deliberately hacked people down, at least he could be told not to do it and the situation could be rectified. As it stands, our players don’t even look as if they’re aware of what they’re doing half the time.
Another reason Arsenal are conceding so many penalties is because opposition players know that can probably get away with diving against us. For example, Richarlison. With the Gunners backing off and backing off before lunging in, rivals know that all it takes is a trip in the area and they could be given a penalty. If they’re not already on a yellow card and receive one for simulation, what harm has it really done them?
Unless harsher punishments are brought in, players will keep doing it since the potential pros outweigh the cons.