Is it time to relieve Gylfi of his penalty duties?
A very noticeable murmur goes around Goodison Park once Gylfi Sigurdsson
picks up the ball and places it on the penalty spot. The Icelandic midfielder
has been anything but Mr. Reliable from 12 yards this season and, should he
miss another one during the closing stages of the 2018/2019 campaign, he will
set a very unwanted record in the Premier League.
After the miss from the spot against Chelsea, Sigurdsson took his tally to
three missed penalties for the season, which is tied for the most of any player
in a Premier League season. Sharing this unwanted stat is also Manchester
United’s Paul Pogba, who has also found a way to miss three penalties this
term. This is only the second time in a Premier League season that two players
have each missed three penalties.
The last time this occurred was during the 2003/04 season when Ruud van Nistelrooy and Alan Shearer both missed three spot-kicks each. That is one of the more astounding stats that you will read, especially in Shearer’s case, as Premier League viewers will only really remember the Newcastle captain smashing them into the top left corner and then wheeling away to do his trademark salute.
In fact, Alan Shearer doesn’t even make the top 20 in the all-time list of
penalties scored in the Premier League. Frank Lampard tops it with 32 and, in
fifth place, is Everton’s own Leighton Baines with 20. What the Blues would do
now for Baines’ faultless precision from the penalty spot.
When it comes to Sigurdsson, he just never looks that confident whilst
waiting for the referee to blow his whistle and, when he does hit them, he’s
often lacking the power needed to get them past Premier League goalkeepers. Of
course, power isn’t everything, but his placement leaves a lot to be desired as
well, with keepers going the right way more often than not.
In Sigurdsson’ case, he was able to tap the rebound in against Chelsea, and
Everton eventually ran out 2-0
winners, but everyone knows if Kepa doesn’t spill the ball,
Chelsea may run up the other end in the next ten minutes and equalize. Missed
penalties seem to galvanize a team and serve as a way of reminding them that
they are still in the contest.
They can also help to settle the nerves and let a team kick on. A recent
case study is Man City’s fixture against Schalke in the Champions League. The
home side were expected to run riot; in fact, the pros at betconnect were
certain there would be over 3.5 goals at 19/20 when they provided their best football
betting tips of the day but, after 35 minutes, it was still
City were awarded a penalty and up stepped Kun Aguero to score. By
doing so, he opened the floodgates for City to win 7-0. Guardiola even went as
far as to say that City
looked scared and only settled down once the penalty went in.
Whether a player scores or misses from the spot, there is always an effect on
That’s why it’s probably time for Gylfi to be relieved of his
duties, having taken five and missed three this season. It’s not a problem
just plaguing him at the domestic level either; Sigurdsson speaks of the
hardest moment of his career being the penalty he missed against Nigeria in the
2018 World Cup.
Unfortunately, the Icelandic playmaker has a history of losing the plot from
12 yards out, and Marco Silva needs to pull him aside in training and relay
some long overdue truths to him.