City in a spot of bother
Manchester City failed to win at home for the first time this season after a superb performance by Everton’s goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg. The Dutch keeper made a string of impressive saves and saved two penalties. In the first half, City did most of the attacking and Stekelenburg made a great fingertip save from Kevin De Bruyne as well as a penalty save from the same player. In the second half, Everton took the lead against the run of play, through Romelu Lukaku. The Belgium international scored his 6th goal of the season in the 64th minute with a great finish, but City continued to press and won a penalty a few minutes later. Again it was saved by Stekelenburg - this time it was Sergio Aguero who failed to hit the target. Eventually, City found an equaliser through Nolito. City continued to press for a winner but Everton’s defence and Stekelenburg stood firm.
The goalkeeper, Stekelenburg, maybe had the game of his life. Everton manager, Ronald Koeman.
What do we know about Maarten Stekelenburg?
Maarten Stekelenburg was born on 22 September 1982 in Haarlem, in the Netherlands. Haarlem is a small city which is about 15 minutes away from Amsterdam by train. Stekelenburg joined Ajax, the most famous club in Dutch football, when he was 15 years old and grew up watching his hero, Edwin van der Sar from the touchline. He would eventually replace van der Sar in the Dutch international team. Stekelenburg won two Dutch League titles before moving to Italy to play for Roma. He spent two seasons in Italy and then moved to the Premier League to play for Fulham. It wasn’t a successful time for the goalkeeper in London, Fulham were relegated and he was dropped from the team. Moves on loan to Monaco, in France, and then to Southampton followed. At Southampton, he was signed by fellow Dutchman, Ronald Koeman, to cover an injury to Southampton’s regular goalkeeper, Fraser Forster. When Koeman moved to Everton last summer there was no hesitation when he made Stekelenburg one of his first signings for the club.
It's not only guesswork for the penalties. It's the analysis as well. Maarten Stekelenburg, talking after his penalty saves against Mancheter City.
Which keeper has made the most penalty saves?
Last weekend, Maarten Stekelenburg became only the seventh goalkeeper to save two penalties in the same Premier League match. Stekelenburg dived to his left both times and it was a successful guess as he made the stops to get Everton a point. But, who is the best at saving penalties? Watford’s goalkeeper, Heurelho Gomes, is the only player to save two penalties in a match twice. He saved twice for Watford against West Brom last season and in 2010 he saved two penalties against Sunderland, when he was playing for Tottenham. David James is the keeper who has made the most penalty saves in Premier League history. He saved thirteen spot kicks while playing for Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth. But, if we talk about percentages (%) then Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet is the most successful. Mignolet has saved five of the eleven penalties he has faced (45%), ahead of famous goalkeepers such as Arsenal’s David Seaman (32%) and Manchester Utd’s Edwin van der Sar (26%).
How to save a penalty?
Do you think it is just luck when a goalkeeper dives the right way? About three-quarters (75%) of spot kicks are scored so it’s not easy for a keeper to make a save. What do you think is the best thing for a keeper to do when facing a penalty? Here are our top tips:
Do your homework
Before the match, analyse your opponent's penalty taker(s). Which way did he shoot before? Does he have a specific run when he shoots one way rather than the other?
Come off your line
If you step off the goalline, it will narrow the angle and make it more difficult for the penalty taker. Now, this is against the rules, but a referee rarely penalises a goalkeeper for it. Is it cheating?
Put off the penalty taker
Jump up and down on the goalline, do a dance, make silly faces. Do everything you can to distract the penalty taker. Again, this is not very sporting but is it cheating?
Always be on your toes
If you are standing on your toes you will be ready to dive. If you are on your heels, you might be too slow and the ball will be in the net before you react.
Make eye contact
Looking at the penalty taker is important. Show him that you are confident of saving the penalty. Also, the penalty taker often looks subconsciously at the part of the goal he will put the ball, or he may look at the opposite corner to try to trick you!
Pretend to dive one way
If you move to one side a little, the penalty taker may think you are going to dive that way and put it to the opposite side. Be ready for this!
Stay in the middle of the goal
Most penalties are saved when the keeper stays in the middle of the goal or dives when he sees the ball. Don’t show the penalty taker where you will dive.
Watch the standing foot
The standing foot is the foot that doesn’t kick the ball. This foot often points the way that the penalty taker will shoot. Look at this foot and dive the way it points!
Can you remember this?
Do you recognise the photo below? Well done if you do. It is a photo of Andres Iniesta scoring the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup Final. Sports photos often show great contrast. On one hand, we have the joy of Andres Iniesta, who has just scored the goal that has won the World Cup. On the other hand, we have the despair of the goalkeeper who has just conceded that goal. We often don’t know or care who the losers are in the photo. In this case, you probably won’t be surprised to know that the goalkeeper is Maarten Stekelenburg. He made a number of fantastic saves in the match and was just four minutes away from a penalty shootout where he could have been the hero and could have won the World Cup for the Netherlands.
How much Football English did you learn?
There was a lot of football vocabulary in this article. Try the quiz below and test your understanding of football vocabulary. You can find all the answers in bold in the text above.
What do you think?
Maarten Stekelenburg made two penalty saves against Manchester City. Who do you think is the best goalkeeper at saving penalties?
Should a striker always score a penalty? Is a goalkeeper just lucky when he saves a penalty?
What do you think about our tips for saving penalties? Which is the worst/best tip?