During the course of the first eight match days of this season’s Premier League there has been an increase in the number of penalties awarded, there have been almost twice as many spot kicks awarded than in the first eight matches last season and fifty percent more than the season before that. However, the most startling thing about the penalties awarded this season is that of the twenty-eight awarded, eight have been missed! With the efforts of Aguero and De Bruyne at the weekend being two examples of how not to take a penalty.
Any kid who wants to practice taking spot kicks look at the picture below and when you practice on the playground, or after school, try to place your penalties where the two footballs on the ground are. Once you can do this to both sides with confidence, attempt to place the ball where the two footballs at the top of the goal are. Once you are confident you can also hit these targets you will have four different spot kicks in your arsenal for the next time you are called upon by your team.
Most goalkeepers love penalties because they are not expected to save them and as a result the pressure is on them but if you put in the practice you should be confident of winning this battle. You don’t need to chip the ball down the middle or try and whack the laces of the ball, just hit one of these four penalties. There is a chance that the goalkeeper will pull off a wonder save but as long as you hold your nerve and put the ball in one of the positions shown above you will beat the keeper a lot more times they will make the save.
And if you do miss? Don’t get disheartened, put your hand up to take the next one. Christian Benteke almost put the ball in the top right corner against West Ham and if it had hit the back of the net it would have been hailed as a superb penalty but he missed. Yet I am sure that when Palace get another penalty he will be amongst the first to hold his hand up and because of that confidence I would put money on him hitting the back of the net next time.
With the international break now almost over and the prospect of the Premier League resuming it is now time to update my Fantasy Football team. Although I still have my early season wildcard available I am going to hold onto it in the hope that Jack Butland’s return is not too far away. Restricted therefore to just the one change I have opted to remove Kevin De Bruyne, simply because with Sterling also being a doubt I can’t afford to have two midfielders missing, especially when one of my remaining midfielders is Imbula!
In replacing De Bruyne I thought about bringing in Alexis Sanchez, as I fancy Arsenal to score a bag load against Leicester but in the end I have opted for Heung-Min Son because with Harry Kane out for at least the next few weeks Son should get more game time up front.
It’s official. I have changed my opinion about how easy Fantasy Football is, it’s not very easy at all. After last week’s 75 points this week my team was only able to muster a paltry, 11 points below the average (why did I get rid of Pogba?):
My Bag Full of Lemons Fantasy Football Giraffe of the week has to go to arguably the best player in the Premiership this week, Kevin De Bruyne.
The Bag Full of Lemons Lemon of the week could have gone to a number of players but goes to a player whose current displays are beginning to look all too familiar. Eden Hazard started the season in the sort of form which won him the Player of the Year award a little over twelve months ago but against Liverpool and Arsenal he has returned to the sort of form which got Jose Mourinho the sack.
I thought about bringing back Pogba for Eden Hazard but this would mean admitting to myself I am scared about the prospect of Stoke facing a rampant Manchester United so instead I have brought in Raheem Sterling who is beginning to finally justify the hype (and his price tag). With Grant likely to get the nod over Given, Jordan Pickford comes in to goal and with Bony being replaced by Azpilicueta this leaves no Stoke players in the starting XI. (I may not admit it but I am not totally blinded to the possibilities of Sunday’s match!) But do not worry they will return for when Stoke begin to rise up the table after the International break.