It’s a fair point, City have now failed with eight of their last 14 taken in the Premier League. Is that bad? It certainly sounds bad. It’s been a year since they missed four in a row in the league, something that led Pep Guardiola to declare that Ederson was the club’s best penalty taker. So far, to the disappointment of the entire planet, the City goalkeeper is yet to stroll towards the opposition penalty area but it will come, it has to.
Call me a slave to the base 10 system but looking at a club’s last 14 penalties doesn’t sit right, so let’s expand it by one to 15, which keeps City on eight failures but means that the all-time title of “worst run of penalties in a spell of 15 penalties” is taken by the Aston Villa team of the mid to late 1990s. And if you’re thinking, hang on, that switch from 14 to 15 sounds suspicious, is this some sort of scheme to get City off the hook and implicate a Villa team from more than 20 years ago, you’re wrong. That Villa team had missed nine of their last 12 at one point in this spell. They’re absolutely the worst penalty takers the Premier League has ever seen.
Their woeful spell began in January 1997, with Dwight Yorke failing from 12 yards against Newcastle United. Yorke missed again against Sheffield Wednesday later that month and then once more in December 97. Savo Milosevic scored one in March 1998 before Yorke was surprisingly allowed to take two more in 1998, although both did at least end up in the back of the net. Yorke moved on to Manchester United and Villa fans might have thought balance would return to their penalty game but it actually got worse. Only two of the next eight Villa penalties were scored, with two different players missing for them against both Wimbledon in September 1998 (a game notable for referee David Elleray having to officiate wearing Villa leisurewear turned inside out) and Sheffield Wednesday in December 1999, only three days after they’d crashed out of the League Cup at Upton Park on… penalties of course. Without question the worst spell of penalty taking by a Premier League club.
And what about 2020-21 Manchester City? Eight penalties missed out of 15 taken seems to be as bad as most teams get, with nine other sides also enduring a spell like that in the competition’s near-30 year history, West Brom in 2013 most recently. None of those teams, though, went that one stage further to match 1990s Villa but surely City have every chance of doing so. There’s only one man who can guide them away from this outcome and his name is Ederson Santana de Moraes. Please, Pep, make it happen.