Arsenal, Aston Villa, Real Madrid… we may have found the secret to not missing your shot on goal

Arsenal, Aston Villa, Real Madrid… we may have found the secret to not missing your shot on goal

Real Madrid and Aston Villa each won on penalties this week in the Champions League and Europa League, with players taking time out to strike. As Arsenal have been executing for the past year, this will be one of the keys to successful penalties.

Jude Bellingham can give private lessons to Bernardo Silva. During the penalty shootout between Real Madrid and Manchester City on Wednesday evening in the Champions League, the Englishman took his time more than any other player on the pitch. And he fasted. The Portuguese fled and were defeated. We already knew many tricks to be successful in a penalty or a shot on goal. Taking your time is probably the ultimate discovery.

A few seconds and a big breath

Six seconds. This is the time that passed between the referee’s whistle and the time when Jude Bellingham started running to take his shot on goal against Ederson. Even the greatest players in the world need to take the pressure off. The Englishman was successful in his attempt. Shortly after, before hitting the winning shot on goal, Antonio Rüdiger, filmed closely by the director, took a deep breath after the whistle.

On the other hand, Bernardo Silva ran: less than a second between the referee’s signal and the start of his run, with a missed shot that ended up in the hands of the goalkeeper. Obviously, all this is not an exact science: Foden, Ederson or Nacho also scored during this period with a very short reaction time. But taking a few seconds greatly increases your chances of scoring.

Man City 1-1 (3tab4) Real Madrid (Q): Replay of RMC goal and all penalties.

Scientific studies confirm this. Among players whose reaction time to the whistle is less than 0.2 seconds, the penalty success rate is 57%, compared to 80% for those who wait at least one second. And in fact, even a second will be very little. “When the referee blows the whistle, you must take your time,” insists Geir Jordet, a researcher on the issue, “Breathe two or three times, wait three or four seconds.”

Aston Villa were more successful than Lille

Less than 24 hours after this session in the Champions League, Lille and Aston Villa also deserved a penalty (due to the noise at the Vélodrome, it is impossible to analyze the Marseille-Benfica session). And there too, the team that ran less did better. Four of the five strikers of the British club waited at least four seconds after the referee’s whistle.

For Douglas Luiz, it was even eight seconds. The Brazilian, the Villans’ official penalty taker, is a regular player. Against Burnley this season, the midfielder scored a penalty for waiting 14 seconds to start his run. In his career, Douglas Luiz has missed only one attempt, in June 2019. Since then, he has been strong.

On the contrary, Lille seemed to be faster. Perhaps under the pressure of the presence of Emiliano Martinez, famous in the exercise, Nabil Bentaleb, Jonathan David and Benjamin André started their race one second later ¨s the referee’s whistle. Two of them came against the Argentine goalkeeper. Rémy Cabella and Angel Gomes, the other two shooters, waited barely more than two seconds.

Arsenal and Bukayo Saka, leading experts

But if in the examples of this week in the European Cup, waiting is more than the personal plan of certain players, one team has made it its trademark: Arsenal. After their defeat against Sporting last season in the Europa League, the Gunners collectively changed their routine. From the Community Shield win on penalties against Manchester City in August, they showed a lot of patience.

The four attackers of London (Odegaard, Trossard, Saka, Vieira), at that time, had waited an average of 7.05 seconds to start their run after the referee’s whistle. They were all fasting. In contrast, Manchester City’s three players waited an average of 1.19 seconds and picked up two fouls. Arsenal, since then, have managed to do it again against Porto, in the last 16 of the Champions League. Odegaard, Havertz, Saka and Rice all waited between 4 and 8 seconds.

Bukayo Saka even made it his specialty. This season, the Englishman has scored five penalties (excluding penalty kicks), a success rate of 100%. Each time, he waited between 10 and 12 seconds to start after the whistle. Forever for the opposing goalkeeper, time for Saka to catch his breath and dominate events.

Robin Watrain Reporter RMC Sport