The Premier League is one of the toughest leagues in Europe. Coping up with its intensity and physicality hasn’t been easy even for players of the highest stature.
Eventually, it all boils down to the mental toughness and character of the players. It can all go south very quickly for any footballer should he fail to stay composed.
Taking penalties in the Premier League is not easy
One of the most underrated tasks on a football pitch is taking a penalty kick. Whatever context it may be, taking a spot-kick comes with a great amount of pressure.
Interestingly, some top-quality players have struggled with their penalties in the Premier League. Here, we take a look at some of the worst penalty-takers in the history of English top-flight football.
5. Paul Pogba (64%)
Coming through the ranks at Manchester United, Paul Pogba struggled with game time and hence opted to join Juventus in the 2012-13 season. The Frenchman returned to Old Trafford in 2016 to help the Red Devils with his box-to-box abilities.
The 29-year-old midfielder spent six seasons in his second spell at United, scoring 29 goals and registering 38 assists in 154 Premier League appearances. Despite Pogba’s tremendous potential, he struggled to find consistency on the pitch and was, more often than not, criticized for not stepping up for his team.
During his six seasons, the French midfielder had the opportunity to take 11 penalty kicks for United. Out of the 11, Pogba managed to score seven penalties with a conversion success of just 64%. A player of his caliber is definitely expected to be more efficient in such a scenario.
4. Kevin Phillips (61%)
Having played for a number of English clubs, Kevin Phillips is best known for his time at Sunderland. The right-footed striker was a key player for the Black Cats as they heavily relied on him to find the back of the net.
Phillips has made 263 appearances in the Premier League, scoring 92 goals in the process. He had a phenomenal 1999-2000 season where he went on to score 30 goals in the league, going on to win not just the Golden Boot but also the European Golden Shoe.
Given his prolific goal-scoring abilities, he was the designated penalty-taker. Out of the 18 spot-kicks he has attempted in the league, he has found success in only 11 of them, taking his success ratio to 61%.
3. Dwight Yorke (60%)
Manchester United have had some legendary strikers at their disposal in their rich history and Dwight Yorke is certainly one of them. His partnership with Andy Cole was certainly a delight to watch on the pitch.
Having come through the ranks at Aston Villa, Yorke earned a lot of plaudits during his time at Manchester United courtesy of his goal-scoring abilities. After joining the Red Devils in the 1998-99 season, the former Trinidad and Tobago striker won the Premier League three times in four seasons.
Yorke scored 123 Premier League goals in his career but did not have the best of times while taking penalties. He managed to score six out of the 10 penalties he attempted, with a success rate of 60%.
2. Steed Malbranque (60%)
Born in Belgium, Steed Malbranque spent his youth career playing in France. He played for the senior Lyon team before joining Fulham in the 2001-02 season.
Malbranque had a stellar start to his debut campaign in England, scoring 10 goals. His attacking play from midfield made him a fan favorite at Craven Cottage before he went on to play for Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland.
In his Premier League career, Malbranque made 336 appearances, scoring 39 goals and registering 55 assists. The former Fulham midfielder managed to score six out of the 10 penalties he attempted in the league, taking his success rate to 60%.
1. Juan Pablo Angel (50%)
The Colombian striker started his club career with Atletico Nacional in his home country. Juan Pablo Angel enjoyed a good spell there before joining River Plate in the 1997-98 season.
His impressive form in front of goal encouraged Aston Villa to go after his signature and rejoined them in the 2001 winter transfer window. With 16 goals to his name in the 2003-04 season, he finished as the club’s top goal-scorer.
Angel made 175 Premier League appearances, scoring 44 goals and registering 14 assists. In the process, the Colombian forward managed to score five out of 10 penalties with a success rate of just 50%.
In the 2004-05 season, the former Villa striker missed two penalties in a game against Fulham.