Petr Cech: Will He Ever Save Another Penalty?

Petr is a goalkeeper. When someone takes a penalty at him, what is his chance of diving the right way in an attempt to save it?

Answer: 1 in 5.

On occasions when Petr does dive the right way, what is the chance he will save the spot kick?

Answer: 0

These are the actual stats from the last 15 penalties Cech has faced for Arsenal. Hardly worth bothering with the kick, may as well just assume a goal and go and kick off again and save everyone a bit of time.

What is Cech’s problem with penalties? I think basically he goes too early, giving clever penalty takers such as Hazard time to put the ball in the other side of the net. He seems to compound that by not even diving very fast, so on rare occasions when he goes the right way he still doesn’t reach the ball. Does he do his homework on where opponents place their kicks? You’d assume someone in the coaching staff at Arsenal would be all over that, but there’s no positive evidence from what we’re seeing.

After Hazard scored this week some people thought Cech had gone the wrong way every time in the last 15. It turned out he hadn’t quite, according to The Times stats anyway. That made me wonder what the chances of getting it wrong 15 times in a row were.

Assume he can either go left, right, or stay still, and the ball has the same options. He could randomly guess and have a one in three chance of getting it right each time – he’s only managed one in five, so it would actually be more productive to guess.

That gives him a 2/3rds chance of being wrong each time. Multiply 2/3rds by itself 15 times to get a percentage chance (0.228), then divide 100 by that figure and that’s your odds.

Turns out it’s 1 in 438. If he’d managed that it would have been some going to beat those odds.

Except of course even if he goes randomly, the kicker sees where he’s going and aims somewhere else. He’s never been particularly good at this – his career penalty stats at are 16 saves out of 74 penalties faced. The last save was October 2014.

Clearly something needs to be done. How can we get Cech to save a penalty? All suggestions welcome – please copy Mr A Wenger, London Colney.


Twitter: @AngryOfN5


5 thoughts on “Petr Cech: Will He Ever Save Another Penalty?

  1. Perhaps he should conduct his own experiment in matches, such as, stay in the center twice, dive left twice and dive right twice, in whichever order he prefers. And then see if that approach is an improvement. I also think his “dive” is not very effective, it’s more of a dive sideways/flat to the pitch, in contrast to, say, DeGea, who spreads out his arms and legs, forming an X, on a diving save.

  2. I think that his reflexes have slowed down and that he tries to overcome that deficiency by diving slightly earlier than he would have earlier in his career. Therefore, there are no solutions to the saving more penalties issue.

    His other play in goal is still well above average. Why is that? Well, he has a large and gangly body and he’s a master at knowing how to position himself whenever a threat comes his way.

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