Penalties sound easy, a top level professional football player getting a free shot from 12 yards out seems like it should be a forgone conclusion. However, anyone who’s seen or taken penalties in their life knows that is far from the truth.
We have seen so many penalties in the Premier League get hit wide, get fired into the stands or go straight into the goalkeeper’s gloves. That’s what makes the players on this list all the more impressive as they have scored more times from the spot than anyone else over the course of the EPL’s illustrious history.
Thierry Henry – 23 goals – Arsenal
One of the greatest players to ever play in the Premier League starts this list. The Former France international joined Arsenal in 1999 from Juventus. He would go on to become the key man in the Gunners most successful ever side and scored 175 Premier League goals.
The brilliant attackers usual penalty technique was to put it low and into the corner, but he added a few cheeky chips/Panenkas in there at times too.
His most famous penalty was not one that he scored, but one that he would rather forget. In a game against Manchester City in 2005 Henry and Pires tried to recreate Dutch legend Johan Cruyff’s penalty where he passed it to a team-mate from the spot kick. When the Arsenal duo tried it, Pires failed to kick the ball properly and only made minimal contact with the top of the ball, thus the ball barely moved, and Henry had ran past it.
Although it’s more Pires’s fault than Henry’s it will still be remembered more than any of the 23 the Arsenal legend ever scored.
Wayne Rooney – 23 goals – Everton and Man United
Rooney is the only player on the list that is still playing so he still has a chance to move up this list – although it is unlikely that he has enough time to catch the man at the top.
England’s record goal scorer has spent his entire career in the Premier League starting with Everton where he made his Premier League debut at 16. He then joined Manchester United in 2004 before finally returning to the Toffees in 2017.
While he is currently playing for his boyhood club Everton, his legacy was really made in Manchester. It was at the Red Devils where he won five Premier League titles, one Champions League, one Europa League, one FA Cup and three League cups.
Rooney generally hits his penalties low with pace into the keeper’s right hand corner. Sometimes he goes more central and tries to put it under the keeper, but he always does a little stutter before his run up.
While he has scored plenty of goals from the spot, he does have a knack of missing a fair few too.
Matt Le Tissier – 25 goals – Southampton
‘Le God’ as his admirers nicknamed him was a one of a kind talent. He had incredible flair and technique that allowed him to do things people don’t usually associate with English players.
Le Tissier spent his entire Premier League career at Southampton even though he had the ability to play for bigger clubs he chose to stay with the Saints. This meant he didn’t win as many trophies as his talent probably deserved, but it made him a legend to Southampton fans.
The South Coast legend is perhaps best known for some of the outrageous goals he scored, from tremendous volleys to incredible free kicks. He seemed to be having a goal of the season competition against himself at times with some of the wonder goals he managed to pull off.
However, he was also known for his penalties as he was very consistent from the spot. He used to side foot the ball into the net when taking pens as it seemed he preferred accuracy over power and as he’s scored the fourth most amount penalties ever in the Premier League it clearly worked for him. In fact in all competitions Le Tissier took 48 spot kicks and scored 47 times.
Steven Gerrard – 32 goals – Liverpool
Talking of players who were legends at their clubs. Steven Gerrard played almost his entire career at Liverpool. He had a short spell with LA Galaxy after his Anfield days were over, but other than that he spent his entire career on Merseyside.
The former Liverpool captain never managed to win a Premier League title, but he did manage to win the Champions League. He had fantastic leadership, passing range and an ability to score important goals. This made him a Liverpool, England and Premier League legend.
Gerrard was another one who liked to aim low and into the corner for his penalties for the most part. He also struck most of his pens with his side foot, which is interesting when you think of all the thunderbolts he’s hit throughout his career. You might have thought he’d take the same tactic with his penalties, but no, even though they had some good pace on them at times, he mostly seemed to prioritise accuracy.
Frank Lampard – 43 goals – West Ham, Chelsea and Man City
The greatest goal scoring midfielder in Premier League history, Frank Lampard. It is no surprise that he made it this high on this list as he was always praised for his penalty taking. When a player can be the main penalty taker in a team that also includes Didier Drogba, you know they must be good from 12 yards.
Lampard is mainly known for his time at Chelsea, but he started his Premier League career at West Ham before moving to Stamford Bridge were he spent a hugely successful 13 seasons before he finished his Premier League career at Manchester City.
He managed 177 goals during this time, which is simply outstanding for a midfielder. He also managed to win three Premier League titles and a Champions League.
Lampard’s penalties were usually struck hard and low, sometimes in the corner, but a lot of the time they snuck under the goalkeeper more towards the centre of the goal. They always had a lot of power in them more than anyone on this list besides this next man.
Alan Shearer – 56 goals – Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle
The Premier Leagues greatest ever goal scorer has also scored the most penalties.
Alan Shearer actually played in the first season of the Premier League with Blackburn and stayed there for four seasons where he won his only Premier League title in the 1993/1994 season. He then moved to his boyhood club Newcastle in 1996 and stayed there for the rest of his career.
You wouldn’t catch Shearer doing a Panenka penalty or a stuttered run up. His penalty technique was just like his technique from open play as he would hammer the ball, making it impossible for the keeper to save it.
He may not have won as many trophies as some people on this list, however his domination in different goal scoring statistics like this, is why he is considered a Premier League legend.