Ranking the Top 12 Penalty Takers in the Premier League

Vijay MuraliAnalyst IJanuary 11, 2012

Ranking the Top 12 Penalty Takers in the Premier League

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    There are plenty of high quality players in the Premiership, and they are capable of being hugely influential for their teams as they look to achieve their ambitions.

    The big players need to step up when there is an important situation in the game, and taking penalties is one of the most important tasks assigned to a player. Though not much credit is given to the penalty takers, it is one of the most difficult roles considering that it is most likely to be one of the most pivotal moments in a game.

    Also, the penalty taker needs to be extremely composed in front of goal, as missing a penalty is one of the worst feelings for a player. There will always be missed penalties, but it does take courage and belief from the player to step up and take the next penalty as well.

    There are many excellent penalty takers in the Premiership, and here is a ranking of 12 of the top penalty takers in the league.

12. Darren Bent (Aston Villa)

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    Darren Bent was signed for a high transfer fee in the last January transfer window from Sunderland, and he is known for being prolific.

    Bent may not be the best player outside the box, but he does have the lethal instinct in front of goal, which is why he has been able to be so prolific. He is also a regular penalty taker and has scored several penalties for Sunderland and other clubs as well.

    With Ashley Young also departing Aston Villa in the summer to sign for Manchester United, Bent could be the main penalty taker for Villa. Though he has not had a very smooth start to his Aston Villa career, he retains the ability to finish excellently from the penalty spot.

11. Leighton Baines (Everton)

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    Leighton Baines is one of the best left backs in the world and has impressive quality, particularly on his preferred left foot. Baines is defensively sound and contributes effectively in attack as well by making good overlapping runs and delivering good crosses into the box.

    Also, he is one of the best set-piece takers in the Premiership and has shown his quality in such positions regularly in the last couple of seasons.

    He is also one of the regular penalty takers for Everton, and the left back has looked very composed in front of goal. He can smash it powerfully or place it accurately in the corner and is one of the best penalty takers in the league.

    With Mikel Arteta departing Goodison park to join Arsenal, Baines could be the main man when it comes to penalties as well.

10. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

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    Thierry Henry might have only returned for a six-week loan spell in the Premiership, but this list would be incomplete without including the legendary Arsenal striker.

    The Frenchman might have lost a yard of pace but he retains his brilliance in front of goal, as he showed against Leeds in his fairytale comeback. Henry has been one of the best players in the last decade, and his return to Arsenal has certainly provided a huge lift to the Gunners’ camp.

    Though he is clearly past his best, he will provide good support to Robin van Persie, and most importantly, he will also provide an impressive option from the bench. Not many defenders will like playing against a player of Henry’s quality and intelligence, which is why it is a good move by Arsene Wenger.

    He is also a very calm penalty taker, and as he has shown over the years, he is very composed in front of goal, preferring placement over power on several occasions.

    The reason that he is at No. 10 is not because he is worse than the others above, but the fact that he is not likely to take many penalties in his loan stay, especially if Robin van Persie is on the pitch for the Gunners.

9. Danny Murphy (Fulham)

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    Danny Murphy is also one of the most accomplished penalty takers in the Premiership, and he regularly takes and converts penalties for Fulham.

    Though he is one of the older players in the squad, he continues to be one of their most important players and is hugely influential in their play. Murphy boasts of vast experience, which is why he brings calmness to the side.

    He is also an excellent penalty taker with plenty of belief in his abilities. Also, his experience means that he is very composed when it comes to decisive moments in the game, and it can make a big difference in an important game for Fulham.

8. Yakubu (Blackburn)

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    Yakubu is one of the best signings of the summer in the Premiership and has been brilliant in his time at Blackburn. The "Yak" has been exceptionally clinical in front of goal this season, and despite the club going through a torrid time, he has been inspirational to the team.

    He has scored many important goals this season including braces against Arsenal and Manchester United in important victories for the team.

    He has also shown excellent calmness from the penalty spot, like against Manchester United, where he was so confident in depositing the ball in the corner. Though he struggled for form at Everton, it does seem like he has recaptured his best form, and he will be the key as to whether Blackburn are able to survive or not.

7. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)

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    Didier Drogba is still Chelsea’s best striker, which is why it is a huge blow for the Blues that he will have to leave for the African Cup of Nations.

    It means that he will be absent for a number of weeks, and the Blues will hope that Fernando Torres can recapture his best form. Drogba is also an accomplished penalty taker for the Blues and has shown that he can regularly convert from the spot. 

    With Frank Lampard also on the same team, Drogba could be considered as the second choice penalty taker for the Blues, but often they both share the responsibilities and both take penalties quite regularly.

    Drogba is lethal in front of goal, and though he is 33 years old, he is still a ruthless finisher, which is why he is one of the hardest to play against.

6. Robin Van Persie (Arsenal)

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    Robin van Persie is arguably Arsenal’s most important player and has not shirked responsibility in his time at Arsenal. He was happy to take the captain’s armband when Cesc Fabregas left the club and has been integral in turning around the results after a terrible start to their campaign.

    Van Persie is also one of Arsenal’s most trusted penalty takers alongside new signing Mikel Arteta, who was also regularly trusted with the task of taking penalties when he was at Everton.

    Van Persie has missed occasionally, like at Old Trafford, but he has the mental strength to take the next penalty and has impressive technique while striking the ball. He is in his best form of his career and has shown great confidence and composure in front of goal.

    His penalty against Aston Villa this season was one of the best penalties because it was right at the top, and it shows the current level of confidence in his abilities.

5. Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham)

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    Emmanuel Adebayor is one of the coolest strikers in the Premiership, and though he has endured a tough couple of seasons at Manchester City, he has recaptured his best form at Tottenham under Harry Redknapp.

    He was prolific during his time at Arsenal but was not always the automatic choice for taking penalties because of the squad having both Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie during his Arsenal days.

    However, Adebayor is also excellent from the penalty spot, as he has shown for Spurs. Also, he does have the calmness to score from rebounds as well.

    The Togo striker is one of the most powerful strikers in the league, which is why it is even more impressive that he has a superb first touch, and he has superb composure in front of the goal.

4. Rafael Van Der Vaart (Tottenham)

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    Rafael Van Der Vaart is another Dutch international to make this list, and he is one of the best penalty takers in the Premiership.

    Van der Vaart has been excellent since signing for Spurs and is one of the reasons why Tottenham have been one of the best sides in the Premiership in the last couple of seasons. The creative midfielder has also scored many vital goals, especially against arch-rivals Arsenal, against whom he has an excellent record in his short Spurs career.

    He shows excellent composure in front of goal and uses placement and power to deliver penalties into the back of the net. Even in the heated North London derbies, he has been very composed and has beaten the keeper twice.

    It is evident that he is a player who enjoys the big stage and is confident when it comes to taking penalties.

3. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

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    Steven Gerrard is one of the best ever players to have played for Liverpool, and though he has never won a Premiership title, he has won several other trophies with Liverpool including the Champions League.

    Gerrard has been frustrated by injuries throughout the previous year but will hope for a better and injury-free 2012. The Liverpool midfielder is one of the best in his position and has the capability to inspire his team and excite the crowds as well.

    The Liverpool captain is also trusted to deal with penalty kicks, and though he has also missed occasionally, he has a good conversion rate and never shirks away from responsibility.

    Whenever he does play, it is clear that Liverpool fans have the faith in him to deliver, and he has shouldered the responsibility immensely. In his absence due to injuries, Dirk Kuyt has done a fine job and has also been composed in taking penalties.

2. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

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    Wayne Rooney has been one of the best players for Manchester United in the last couple of seasons, and his presence in the team is very vital.

    Though Rooney can be temperamental, there is no question regarding the quality of the player, and he has the brilliance to make a difference in the key moments of a game. Rooney has been involved in controversies in the past, but he still has the ability to perform consistently when he is on the pitch.

    Rooney is also one of the best penalty takers in the league, and he has also scored from rebounds as well. The England international is always alert to any opportunity and has the necessary quality and composure to make a difference for the team.

    He is currently Manchester United’s regular penalty taker and is one of the safest bets to score from the penalty spot in the league.

1. Frank Lampard (Chelsea)

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    Frank Lampard is one of the most experienced players in the Chelsea squad, and the midfielder has been one of the most crucial members of the team in the last decade.

    However, the midfielder has not been an automatic starter under new manager Andre Villas-Boas. It is clear that he does not enjoy his role from the bench but has been a model professional so far this season.

    Lampard has been one of their most regular penalty takers, and despite missing the occasional penalty, he has been confident enough to step up to the spot. A clear example of his confidence was displayed against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, where he scored from the penalty spot despite only coming on as a substitute.

    Though not an automatic starter, he continues to be one of the most important players for this Blues side, which are in a period of transition.