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Irish Hammer 11:12 Mon Sep 20
A Piece about West Ham Penalties
We are probably all sick of the topic but anyway …

West Ham have missed four of their last five penalties. Who should take them?

The crowd gave Mark Noble a standing ovation before he entered the field. Perhaps it was a ploy to give him the psychological advantage over David de Gea. But in a matter of seconds, the mood at the London Stadium changed and the circumstances surrounding Noble’s introduction were intensely scrutinised.

It had been five years since Noble last missed a penalty, in December 2016 against Burnley. So when the midfielder was brought on for Jarrod Bowen at the death of West Ham’s match against Manchester United — and tasked with the responsibility of earning his side a point — it was fairly understandable why manager David Moyes was confident in Noble’s ability.

Declan Rice gave the ball to his team-mate, and like those in attendance, looked on in shock when De Gea saved Noble’s spot kick to give Manchester United a 2-1 win. It was the first time since April 2016 for club and country that the Spain international had saved a penalty, having conceded 40 on the trot. Noble has scored the joint fourth-most penalties in the history of the Premier League (27) and if tasked with the same scenario again, Moyes said he wouldn’t think twice about bringing on his captain. Only Alan Shearer (56), Frank Lampard (43) and Steven Gerrard (32) have scored more penalties in the Premier League than Noble and he is level with Sergio Aguero.

“I don’t regret bringing Mark Noble on,” said Moyes. “Noble is one of the best penalty takers we have. We had time to think about it. My choice, my decision. In management, you have to make big decisions. Sometimes they go for you, sometimes they go against you.

West Ham
(Photo: Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)
“I asked him and he said, ‘I’m ready’. He has a great record, why would we not? We’ve missed a few recently so I thought I’d take the opportunity to bring Mark on.

“I just felt we had a really good penalty taker sitting on the bench. I would’ve been more disappointed with myself if I hadn’t made the decision, or if I had given it to one of the other players and they missed. I’d be saying to myself, ‘Why didn’t I give it to Noble?’”

When referee Martin Atkinson blew his whistle for full-time, Rice, Kurt Zouma, Lukasz Fabianski and Vladimir Coufal all fell to the ground. It was a valiant effort from Moyes’ side, but it is worrying that West Ham have missed four of their last five penalties. Barring Noble, there isn’t an obvious penalty taker and, while performances have been encouraging, it is an area in which they have struggled to show any progress.

Michail Antonio, who was suspended on Sunday, missed a penalty in the 4-2 win against Newcastle United. One could argue Rice was the best option given his recent form and having scored in similar circumstances against Sheffield United in February. But while he has the self-confidence to take a penalty, he also missed from the spot in the 3-1 win at West Bromwich Albion in May. Jesse Lingard also missed for West Ham in the 2-0 win against Leeds United in March.

“Yes, I am concerned,” said Moyes. “We just don’t necessarily have someone who is a natural penalty-kick taker but it is an easy thing to work on because you can stand and take penalty kicks in training. The players quite often do but it’s a different thing when you’ve got to go on the stage and do it.”

In many ways, bringing on Noble was similar to Gareth Southgate’s decision to introduce Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho before England’s penalty shootout defeat by Italy in the final of the European Championship. The duo hadn’t performed a lengthy warm-up and were given huge responsibilities without having the luxury of building up confidence.

Moyes admitted he weighed up the pros and cons of this conundrum. He has tried bringing on a specialist penalty-taker before: in March 2008, while manager of Everton, he sent on Thomas Gravesen in the 119th minute in extra-time against Fiorentina in a penalty shootout. Gravesen took the first spot-kick and scored, although Everton were beaten 4-2 on penalties in the UEFA Cup tie.

Barring Noble’s miss, it was an encouraging performance from West Ham. Bowen registered his first assist of the season, having threaded the pass for Said Benrahma’s goal. Nikola Vlasic made his home debut and will be hoping for an opportunity to impress in the upcoming Carabao Cup game against Manchester United.

Another positive was Zouma slotting in well alongside Angelo Ogbonna. The former Chelsea defender impressed in the 2-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb and produced a performance deserving of the man of the match award. He won three aerial duels, made two interceptions and made three ball recoveries. For all the talk of West Ham needing to sign a striker, it is the arrival of Zouma which could arguably prove most important.

There are few things surer than Noble scoring from the spot, and while his introduction will be debated in the coming days — such an outcome is one that not many could have envisioned.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

4ever-blowin-bubbles 6:15 Wed Sep 29
Re: A Piece about West Ham Penalties
it is all about bottle as who takes a penalty and i will not slag down anyone whoever misses 1

connolly8 1:18 Wed Sep 29
Re: A Piece about West Ham Penalties
Rice should be taking them.

El Scorchio 11:41 Fri Sep 24
Re: A Piece about West Ham Penalties
I get why Moyes did it. We've had the debate ourselves about who in the first team can actually take penalties. he clearly knows it's an issue, Noble has a very good record, and as mentioned this tactic worked for him before at Everton.

However, the huge issue is what do we do when Noble isn't on the pitch?

Cresswell seems the obvious candidate to me. Maybe then Soucek or Benrahma.

normansmymate 10:21 Fri Sep 24
Re: A Piece about West Ham Penalties
can someone ban this aussie cunt

gph 11:37 Mon Sep 20
Re: A Piece about West Ham Penalties
Thanks, Irish.

So David Moyes has done this kind of thing before.

Shame he got away with it when with Everton - if he hadn't, he might not have tried it yesterday.

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