At the start of this season, Fulham were the favourites to be relegated back to the Championship before a ball had even been kicked. Today, with just four points from their opening eight matches their struggle to stay in the Premier League is clear. On current form, they would finish the season with just 19 points. It is clear that every point matters!
So, when you have a penalty in injury time to tie a game, earning a point for yourself and taking two from another side tipped to be in the relegation fight at the end of the season, it is a penalty you cannot miss. Up steps Ademola Lookman.
I’m disappointed and angry. You can miss penalties, but you cannot miss a penalty like that. If you are going to take a penalty like that you have got to score.Scott Parker, Fulham Manager
His manager Scott Parker pulled no punches after the match in sharing his feelings on the matter. It echoed the sentiments of both fans and journalists alike. Polls appeared online to ask whether this was the worst penalty miss ever and Lookman apologised to team mates and supporters for the miss.
The problem with Scott Parker’s statement though is it requires you to know the outcome of something before doing it. It was the wrong decision because he missed – what is known as ‘hindsight analysis’.
Therefore, taking the statement to its logical conclusion, if you don’t know beforehand that you will score then you should never attempt a panenka penalty.
Some suggested that there is a time and a place for this. That when you are in a battle for Premier League survival in the 97th minute of the match, that ain’t it.
Hindsight Analysis: Right Time and Place
Of course, the ‘Panenka penalty’ gets it’s name from Czechoslovakian footballer Antonin Panenka. In the final of the 1976 European Championships against West Germany, with his side 4-3 up in the shootout, he elected to chip his shot straight down the middle of the goal.
There is a time and a place for doing something like that and for Antonin Panenka, that was the final penalty of a shootout to win Czechoslovakia their only major honour in football.
We have seen Andrea Pirlo do the same with his side losing a penalty shoot-out 2-1 to England in the knockout phase of Euro 2012. The legendary Zinedine Zidane elected to do so in the World Cup final against Italy.
These are moments that would certainly qualify as being the wrong time and place to attempt this. Yet they are also moments that will love forever in the memory of those who witness them.
Doing Panenka’s Right
Data is not collected on whether a penalty was a Panenka. However, given that penalties are scored between 74 and 80% of the time depending on the competition, ‘Panenka penalties’ don’t seem to be missed very often and probably at no greater frequency than regular penalties.
As Gary Linekar said on Match of the Day, every missed ‘Panenka’ is highlighted because it looks bad. Lookman’s looked particularly bad simply because it was poorly executed.
If you look back at the other successful penalties mentioned, there is a disguise on where the penalty will be placed to sit the keeper down. Then, by putting the ball high into the goal, the keeper simply cannot react from his position on the ground to save it.
Watch back how Panenka opened up his body completely telegraphing that he was placing the ball to the keepers left. Now watch Lookman again and notice how there is no deception in his run-up. In addition, he also telegraphs the shot completely.
For an example of how this should be done, I give you Lookman four years prior.
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All data used in our articles is sourced from Understat, FBRef, Sofascore, Transfermarkt and 538.