Arsenal have seen some disastrous penalty misses these last couple of seasons, many of which coming from our star players. The Gunners have seen the likes of Cazorla, Giroud, Walcott, Alexis and Ozil all take penalties on various occasions in recent seasons, but who should be the player to step up to the spot if available?
It’s worth pointing out that Arsenal have already been awarded four penalties this season so far, two more than the Gunners won over the course of the entire last Premier League campaign. But whilst we have seen goals from Santi Cazorla, we have also seen misses from Alexis and Walcott.
First of Santi Cazorla is the obvious first choice. The Spaniard has a sure record from the spot and after being placed as a firm penalty kick taker in 2014, the midfielder has scored 8 out of his last 9 pens. Cazorla’s confidence and experience of the game seems to make him almost a certain scorer and Cazorla should definitely be first choice if on the pitch. This is why it is so baffling that Alexis stepped up against Hull, especially given his record.
Alexis may have only taken two Premier League penalties, but he has actually missed on both occasions. Despite being arguably the best finisher at the club, Alexis doesn’t seem to have what it takes when it comes to striking from the spot. Alexis’ efforts have been weak rather than an outstanding save from the keeper, although of course the keeper should be praised for reading which way Alexis would shoot. Alexis doesn’t seem to be nervous about many things when it comes to taking on the opposition, with the player’s confidence always high, so why can’t he take a decent penalty?
Next up is our other star man, Mesut Ozil, who given his talent, you’d think he’d be able to put away a penalty. However much like his star teammate Alexis Sanchez, Ozil has also missed his only two spot kicks for Arsenal, as well as missing in important stages of International competitions with Germany. Despite his qualities, Ozil clearly isn’t made to take penalties and he should currently only be resorted to in the case of having limited available options on the pitch.
Theo Walcott has never really been one for penalties at Arsenal, despite his position on the pitch suggesting he should be a decent bet from the spot. However his effort against Liverpool on the opening day of the season, showed exactly why Walcott hasn’t been known for his penalty taking. Weak efforts mean that the keeper has time to adjust. Needs major work Theo!
Finally onto Olivier Giroud, who like Cazorla, has only missed once from the spot for Arsenal. Given that he is a striker, you’d expect Giroud to be one of the first to offer his services when it comes to penalties, but if Cazorla is on the pitch, you still have to listen to Wenger’s instructions of letting the Spaniard have it.
Other players that could be spot kick takers are the likes of Lucas Perez, Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey, but it all depends on whether they are on the pitch at the moment in time.
Quite frankly the obvious choice is Santi Cazorla, the man is almost a certain scorer every time he steps up to the penalty spot. However when he is not available, Olivier Giroud should be on spot kick duty, given that as a striker (and record shows) he has an eye for goal. With his absence on the pitch, this is when you then take a chance with whoever seemingly fancies it the most and you could go on and on about who should step up for the kick. But ultimately it all depends on who is on the pitch and if luck is on Arsenal’s side, we’d have Santi Cazorla ready to put the ball in the back of the net.