Which Premier League club are best at penalty shootouts?

Whether or not Arsenal and their fans are actually disappointed to have left the Europa League, it happened.

Of course not Mikel Arteta’s team lose against Sporting Lisbon in the round of 16 of the competition this week, they drew 3-3. As a result, the tie was decided by that classic 1970s invention, the penalty shootout.

Shootouts are one of those elements of football where fans have a good grasp of their team’s record and can usually recall some infamous moments from elsewhere – John Terry maybe slipping in the rain in Moscow 2008 – but other than that it’s a pretty nebulous concept. “Oh, (insert team name) are terrible at penalties,” someone might claim. But, is this really the truth?

We delved into the entire history of penalty shootouts to find out the truth.

Let’s start with volume, the main thing to remember is that there are advantages to being either a team that regularly plays in European competitions or one that has spent a lot of time in the EFL. Chelsea are leaders, having taken part in 33 shootouts, five more than any other club currently playing in the Premier League.

The method has been painful for them lately as they lost to Liverpool on penalties in both the Carabao Cup final and FA Cup last season, although they started their 2021-22 season by winning the European Super Cup on penalties against Villarreal have started.

And the culmination of the 2012 Champions League final in Munich was pretty good too.

The club with the second most experience in shootouts comes a little further from the western boroughs of London – Brentford. Their list of opponents in these penalty duels is understandably less glamorous than Chelsea’s, but frequent play-off and EFL Trophy experience has given them 28 shootouts, one more than Liverpool.

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Brentford also have the honor of being the current Premier League team to keep their first clean sheet in a shoot-out (is that a thing? It should be). It came in an EFL Trophy (then known as the Leyland DAF Cup) match against Wrexham in February 1991, when Brentford won 3–0 on penalties after 120 minutes without a goal in front of a crowd of 2,247 at Griffin Park. You won’t hear about it The in a Disney+ documentary.

Speaking of shootout shutouts, Premier League side Manchester City, with David James and Nedum Onuoha on the side and Micah Richards on the bench, suffered the disgrace of a 3-0 penalty shootout defeat by third tier side Doncaster Rovers 18 years ago. Times may have changed, but Donnie fans, you always have the second round of the 2004-05 EFL Cup.

The Premier League’s least experienced team at shootouts is Aston Villa, who have only participated in nine so far. They enjoyed two memorable games in 1994: first at home to Tranmere Rovers in the EFL Cup semi-finals in February after an all-time classic ended in a 5-5 aggregate score, and then in September at home to Inter Milan (holders) in the first Round of the old UEFA Cup (now the Europa League), participation in this competition was their prize for eventual EFL Cup victory.

After all, Dennis Bergkamp got his penalty for Inter in that shootout – something he failed to achieve with his non-shootout effort for Arsenal against Manchester United almost five years later at Villa Park in a replay of the FA Cup semi-final.

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But more important than being In a shootout wins it.

“Participation is what counts” is probably the most common in an event than in a penalty shoot-out. So congratulations to Nottingham Forest who, as well as winning two European Cups as you may have heard, have an 83 per cent win rate when it comes to penalties. As shown above, their total of 12 is the second lowest ahead of Villa, but winning 10 of those 12 is still exceptional.

It’s even more extraordinary when you learn that Forest lost the shootout they were part of – 5-4 to Airdrieonians in a Texaco Cup tie in September 1970. No one wants to fall out of the Texaco Cup like that, Clive. But since that dark day, Forest have won 10 out of 11, falling only to Bristol City in an EFL (then LDV Vans) Trophy game when they lost in the Premier League in 2006.

And in case you’re wondering, none of Forest’s 12 shootings took place in the Brian Clough era. Which somehow feels right.

At the other end of the joy spectrum is Newcastle United with a rather dismal win rate of 27 percent.

Newcastle began their shootout odyssey with a 5-3 defeat by Hungary’s Pecsi MSC in the 1970/71 Fairs Cup, which must have been frustrating after beating Inter Milan in the preliminary round. They bounced back a year later with a shootout win over Hearts in, you guessed it, the Texaco Cup, but then began a streak of seven straight shootout losses between 1979 and 2003. The only current Premier League club to ever suffered such a defeat Streak are Tottenham Hotspur, between 1996 and 2013.

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Newcastle have won two of their last three shootouts, however, so Wolves and Crystal Palace, who are next above them in the (lack of) results table, should perhaps be concerned.

And we should probably offer some sort of prize to Fulham and Southampton, both of whom have a 50 per cent penalty success rate. For people who like to use phrases like “it’s a lottery” or liken shootouts to a coin toss (incidentally, exactly what it replaced in football), any club with an equal number of losses and wins should be respected.

Finally, if you are wondering who took part in the very first penalty shoot-out involving an English club and if it was Manchester United v Hull City in the Watney Cup in August 1970, if George Best took the first penalty and if Ian McKechnie saved from Denis Law , but then missed the decisive kick himself, then congratulations. you were spot on

Unlike Ian McKechnie.

(Photo: James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

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