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Commentators Making Something Out Of Nothing When It Comes To Penalties

Tuesday 8th November 2011
Just one of the many stock phrases commentators have on hand to describe a penalty taken successfully with the keeper opting to dive the wrong way. Rarely is attention paid to the technique of the taker or statistics and documented history of takers or goalkeepers. No, we are to believe that the penalty taker sent the goalkeeper the wrong way. I don't know about you but this puts a "look over there"-esque image in my mind of a player pointing to one corner during his run up only to pass the ball calmly into the back of the net on the other side of the goal then laughing all the way back to his team mates.

The premise of this phrase is so ludicrous, it verges on insulting. Goalkeepers guess. They have to. There is no definite way of telling which where a player is going to attempt to place the ball (if there was bookies would be out of business and goalkeepers would be starting their own travelling road shows across the world). Goalkeepers are not 'sent' anywhere. And even if they were, the phrase is uttered from the point of view of the player. From the point of view of the player, if the keeper dives to the incorrect side, he's surely sent him the right way.

 



 

There are 4 types of penalties as the rather rudimentary home-made diagram above displays. Good penalties can be saved or missed, as can bad penalties. Bad penalties that are missed are often noted as bad penalties; good penalties that are scored are labelled as good penalties; good penalties that are saved (by definition it would HAVE to be saved as a good penalty cant miss the target) have credit given to the goalkeeper. The anomaly however seems to be the goalkeeper choosing the wrong way. In this instance the penalty may have been a good, un-savable penalty anyway (high and into the side netting). Often bad penalties are not saved and are not deemed as such. Good and bad penalties are defined by me below.

 



 

Penalties that are taken forcefully often enter the red zone (see
">Beckham v Argentina 2002) with the onus on power and luck rather than aiming for the accuracy of the green zone (see Artur Boruc v Dundee).

People often talk about 'guts' when taking a penalty. As if being brave enough to step forward is enough of a qualification. All to often managers (especially in the English game) are seen asking players "who wants to take one" instead of demanding goals from experienced, technical players. Any professional footballer should be able to place a ball in the top corner of the goal from 12 yards out with nothing but the pressure he allows himself to feel as an obstacle. That he chooses to blast the ball at goal and hope the keeper doesn't save it is daft to say the least. That the commentators don't call them on it is moronic.

 
Liam Ager

Total articles: 5

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